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Rural Health
Top Stories

Top news stories from the past 60 days. For more, see news by topic or news by state.

Nov 15, 2019 - Highlights the work and story of Grace Anne Dorney Koppel, who was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in 2001. Since then, she has become a spokeswoman and advocate for patients with COPD, cofounding 12 pulmonary rehabilitation centers with her husband, and focusing on placing them in rural communities.
Source: CNN
Nov 15, 2019 - The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announces five communities chosen to receive the 2019 RWJF Culture of Health Prize, awarded to elevate communities striving towards the advancement of health and opportunity. Three of this year's winners are rural communities: Gonzalez, California; Lake County, Colorado; and Sitka, Alaska.
Source: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Nov 14, 2019 - Blog article addresses National Rural Health Day and challenges the conventional judgments of rural America, highlighting projects and statistics that more accurately represent rural communities. Discusses the importance of modernizing economic development policy and driving innovation to realize health equity in rural areas.
Source: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Nov 14, 2019 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 405(d) team announces the creation of a toolkit to help healthcare organizations protect their critical infrastructure from cyber attacks for National Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month. The toolkit includes communication and educational resources to help rural facilities adopt practices to mitigate threats to cybersecurity and protect patient information.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Nov 14, 2019 - A social worker from rural Missouri helped develop an anti-frailty program in her county, using international models and trainings as her inspiration. Describes how the exercise sessions help counteract cognitive and physical decline in older people and prevent them from being placed in nursing homes earlier than they should be.
Source: Next Avenue
Nov 14, 2019 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is requesting comments on proposed quality measures developed for ambulatory care for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). The measures aim to assess the quality of care provided by clinicians, with the current comment request focusing on a measure for acute cardiovascular-related admissions for patients with heart failure. Comments are due by November 27, 2019.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Nov 13, 2019 - Discusses the "Rural America at a Glance 2019" report, which found rural counties that relied on farming, manufacturing, mining, and government spending between 2010 and 2017, saw declines in personal income and population growth. Rural metropolitan areas saw growth, however, because they tend to rely on recreation-based economies.
Source: Courthouse News
Nov 13, 2019 - An interview with two professors at University of Virginia's Curry School of Education discussing their initiatives to support mental and behavioral health in rural schools. Describes the challenges rural schools have faced over the years and why it is important rural areas are represented in mental health research.
Source: UVA Today
Nov 13, 2019 - Features two rural programs who have implemented successful opioid treatment programs in their communities and identifies the similarities in their practices. Opioid related deaths rose faster in rural areas than urban areas, these programs utilized statewide interventions and funding, leveraged telehealth, and created a community health model to combat the opioid misuse.
Source: Health Payer Intelligence
Nov 12, 2019 - Highs school students in rural Colorado created the "teen wellness voucher," which provides students free and confidential counseling in order to address the high youth suicide rates in the state. The vouchers entitle teens to two, one-hour sessions with a mental health professional and are available in schools, libraries, the post office, and the local arcade.
Source: Chalkbeat
Nov 12, 2019 - Highlights three programs that are leveraging community health workers in order to increase healthcare access for rural Americans. These programs exhibit similar practices to maintaining their success such as promoting personal connections with patients and building relationships with their communities and other healthcare organizations.
Source: Health Payer Intelligence
Nov 12, 2019 - Describes a study that identifies Michigan as having the second-highest rate of childhood obesity, linking higher rates in rural areas to poverty. The Fit Kids 360 program, piloted in Grand Rapids, aims to educate children and their parents on prioritizing better diet choices, increased physical activity, and tackling emotional barriers to changing bad habits.
Source: Cadillac News
Nov 11, 2019 - Identifies approaches that community based programs have implemented to combat the disproportionate rates of chronic disease in rural areas. Common characteristics of a successful program includes gaining organizational support, thinking outside of the box, building in sustainability, and collaborating with communities.
Source: Health Payer Intelligence
Nov 7, 2019 - A press release from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announces an update to the Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Scorecard. Updates intend to increase transparency and accountability for program outcomes by giving the public access to more information. Includes the fact sheet pertaining to the Scorecard.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Nov 7, 2019 - Discusses two studies examining high health costs and low access to care in rural areas of Wyoming. Outlines a proposal made by a financial analyst at the Department of Health to lawmakers, which includes creating a model that balances government intervention and the free market.
Source: Casper Star Tribune
Nov 7, 2019 - Examines the widening disparity in preventable deaths from cancer, heart and respiratory disease between rural and urban Americans, despite an overall decrease in deaths from cancer. Identifies ways to close the gap, including prioritizing preventive screenings and increasing physical activity in rural areas.
Source: U.S. News and World Report
Nov 7, 2019 - Register to watch The Providers, a documentary film made available from November 7 – 21, 2019 in honor of National Rural Health Day. The film follows three healthcare providers addressing the opioid epidemic in rural America.
Source: National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health
Nov 7, 2019 - The American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) invites papers describing rural health research, analyzing rural governmental public health, assessing the impact of laws and policies, and reporting interventions in rural settings. The AJPH also invites editorials proposing public health methods that have been implemented in other areas of the country that could be applied to rural areas. Manuscripts are due by January 15, 2020.
Source: American Journal of Public Health
Nov 6, 2019 - Avera eCare, a branch of the South Dakota-based Avera Health System, was awarded $4.5 million in federal funding to support a telemedicine network that links sexual assault nurse educators (SANEs) with rural care providers across 5 states. This program will allow sexual assault survivors to receive specialized care in their own rural communities, ensuring proper evidence collection and sufficient emotional support.
Source: mHealth Intelligence
Nov 6, 2019 - Agricultural communities in Colorado are seeing increased suicide rates as they face financial instability and mental health challenges not found in other areas of the state. Features a rancher whose father died by suicide and the work she is doing to bring mental health resources to local rural communities.
Source: Colorado Sun
Nov 5, 2019 - Addresses the high maternal mortality rate in rural America and describes the strategies legislators are implementing to tackle the issue. Rural women have less access to necessary care due to hospital and delivery unit closures, the Rural Maternal and Obstetric Modernization of Services (Rural MOMS) Act would expand telehealth and collect maternal-mortality data including the mother's demographics.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Nov 4, 2019 - Features a mother in rural Mississippi who struggles to find sufficient mental health care for her son because of the lack of services available in her community. Outlines a study that found the number of child psychologists in the U.S. has risen, but many rural and lower income counties are still without one.
Source: HuffPost
Nov 3, 2019 - Features a ranch hand from Montana who is worried a new state law that requires Medicaid enrollees to work or volunteer for 80 hours a month will affect her eligibility to stay on the program. The state health department is still developing exemptions for seasonal workers as the work requirements do not go into effect until January 2020.
Source: NPR
Nov 1, 2019 - Fact sheet from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) detailing a final rule that includes updates to payment policies and rates, as well as quality provisions for services under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS). Discusses payment for services such as telehealth, care management, opioid treatment programs, therapy, and more.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Nov 1, 2019 - The Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announces the beginning of the 2020 Healthcare.gov Open Enrollment season. Describes new features to help consumers make decisions, more plan choices, and lower premiums as improvements that have been made this year. Open enrollment closes on December 15, 2019.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Nov 1, 2019 - Summarizes a study set out to understand threats to the sustainability of rural training tracks, developed by a family physician whose own rural training program closed due to lack of funding. Findings emphasize leadership as a major asset, as well as access to faculty resources, program support, and financial stability.
Source: American Academy of Family Physicians
Oct 31, 2019 - Opinion article addresses the importance of an accurate Census count, especially in rural communities, as population determines the allocation of federal funding, ensures political representation, and attracts business investments. Includes steps to ensure a more accurate count, such as targeted outreach efforts and secure internet access in public spaces.
Source: Urban Institute
Oct 31, 2019 - Describes how a CEO of a Critical Access Hospital in rural Oregon has been working to foster a sense of loyalty by hosting a monthly "key leaders breakfast" for community members. As financial and competitive pressures rise, the breakfast is used as a type of promotional event, so if the hospital is ever threatened with closure, the community will fight to keep its doors open.
Source: Health Leaders
Oct 31, 2019 - Announces the deadline for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Students to Service Loan Repayment Program (S2S LRP) has been extended until November 21, 2019. This program provides up to $120,000 in loans to medical and dental students in their final year of school who commit to working at an approved NHSC site in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).
Source: Health Resources and Services Administration
Oct 31, 2019 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is requesting comments from the public regarding barriers and opportunities to effective chronic disease prevention. Responses are due by December 13, 2019.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Oct 31, 2019 - The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has extended the deadline on their Request for Information regarding eligibility criteria for community-based grant programs administered by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) and its affect on rural health organization's ability to apply for and leverage FORHP funding. Responses are now due by November 23, 2019.
Source: Health Resources and Services Administration
Oct 31, 2019 - Notice from the Department of Health and Human Services renewing the charter for the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services (NACRHHS), effective October 29, 2019 through October 29, 2021.
Source: Federal Register
Oct 30, 2019 - The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announces the first round of 150 grants for its Drug-Free Communities (DCF) Program. The program awards over $18 million to community coalitions to address substance use among the nation's youth.
Source: The White House
Oct 30, 2019 - Presents overview of a study in North Carolina that found black women and rural women are more likely to lose their job or receive a pay cut after they've been diagnosed with cancer. Adjusting for socioeconomic factors, researchers still found disparities between black women and white women, calling on local governments to implement policies addressing these inequalities.
Source: Reuters
Oct 30, 2019 - Summarizes research identifying elevated death rates in Appalachian counties compared to the rest of the country. Researchers describe how mortality is connected to educational attainment, recommending states invest in educational programs and economic development to improve the health of their communities.
Source: 100 Days in Appalachia
Oct 29, 2019 - Interview with Tim Putnam, D.H.A., president of the National Rural Health Association and president and CEO of Margaret Mary Community Hospital in Indiana. Putnam describes the challenges and rewards of providing rural healthcare and emphasizes the importance of involvement and collaboration to creating a better community healthcare system.
Source: American Academy of Family Physicians
Oct 29, 2019 - Discusses a national study that found 1 in 8 pharmacies closed between 2009-2015, with independent pharmacies in rural and low-income areas hit the hardest. As pharmacy deserts increase, residents rely on policies to protect rural pharmacies and telepharmacy to help bridge the gap.
Source: KUNC
Oct 28, 2019 - Interview with Rachel Levine, MD, the Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, addresses rural hospital closures and the state's approach to sustainability. She describes their initiative as moving from a fee-for-service arrangement to a monthly global budget, which emphasizes population health and outpatient services.
Source: Association of State and Territorial Health Offices
Oct 28, 2019 - The National Association of Counties' Rural Action Caucus (RAC) brainstorms how to increase involvement in the 2020 census among rural residents. County representatives discuss increasing participation through education and friendly competition, as federal funding relies on the accuracy of the population count.
Source: National Association of Counties
Oct 28, 2019 - Describes a study that examined practice challenges among health professionals in rural California. The study reports that women and minority primary care providers commonly experience bias, harassment, and hostility from colleagues, which drives many out of rural practices and into more accepting communities.
Source: Reuters
Oct 27, 2019 - Describes ongoing research on the mental health of agricultural workers and analyzes the difficulty of calculating farmers' suicide rates. Farmers face unique struggles, such as added pressure and deadly work conditions, programs offer mental health training for family members and health facilities so they can support agricultural workers they come in contact with.
Source: Daily Eastern News
Oct 25, 2019 - Summarizes a research study that shows children living in counties with the highest poverty levels are more likely to die by suicide than children in wealthier counties. Includes a subgroup analyses reporting suicides by firearm increased with poverty concentration.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics
Oct 25, 2019 - As birth rates decline and more Americans move from rural to urban areas, the population left in rural America tends to be older, sicker, and poorer. Includes infographics from the National institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) comparing urban and rural populations, identifying the disparities in health and access to medical care.
Source: Forbes
Oct 25, 2019 - Summarizes a research study that shows children in rural areas are nearly five times more likely to be injured by a lawn mower than children in urban areas. Also concludes that injuries sustained in rural areas are more susceptible to surgical complications, infection, and amputations.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics
Oct 24, 2019 - The National Quality Forum (NQF) releases a national call to action urging the healthcare ecosystem to address social determinants of health (SDOH). Discusses how addressing socioeconomic and behavioral factors will improve health outcomes and includes recommendations such as improving SDOH data collection, implementing policies, and designing incentives to address SDOHs.
Source: National Quality Forum
Oct 23, 2019 - Presents an overview of a study reporting that one in five LGBT people in the U.S. experience poverty. Findings show disparities in gender, sexual orientation, rurality, and race, with straight, cisgendered individuals experiencing the lowest poverty rates.
Source: New York Daily News
Oct 23, 2019 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces $319 million in scholarship and loan repayment awards for providers and students in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). This year's awards allow the NHSC to focus on providing care in rural and underserved communities as well as expand efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Oct 23, 2019 - Includes a list of events for the week of National Rural Health Day (November 18 – November 21) from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP). Events include a National Institutes of Health (NIH) seminar, various webinars, Twitter chats, and more.
Source: Health Resources and Services Administration
Oct 23, 2019 - In celebration of National Rural Health Day, the Health Resources and Services Administration is hosting a Virtual Job Fair specifically for health care facilities serving rural communities on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 from 7:00 – 10:15 p.m. Eastern.
Source: Bureau of Health Workforce
Oct 22, 2019 - South Dakota-based Avera Health Network is launching a national program through Avera eCare that would allow healthcare providers to earn a certificate in telehealth. The program aims to create a national standard for providing telehealth services across the country.
Source: mHealth Intelligence
Oct 22, 2019 - Summarizes The Older Population in Rural America: 2012-2016 report, which examines the older population by rurality. More than 1 in 5 older Americans lives in rural areas, includes nationwide data on age, gender, and geographic distribution.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Oct 22, 2019 - As the aging population increases in rural Western Washington, so does the number of non-medical 9-1-1 calls. Healthcare workers discuss solutions, such as community risk-reduction programs that would assess the needs of older Americans and connect them with resources to reduce their need to call emergency services.
Source: Peninsula Daily News
Oct 22, 2019 - Explores poverty in rural Michigan, which is attributed to a lack of education and job opportunities as well as a shrinking and aging population. Includes data identifying the disadvantages faced in rural counties compared to urban counties.
Source: Detroit Free Press
Oct 22, 2019 - Features small, rural towns in North Dakota at risk of losing their emergency medical services due to minimal funding and shrinking populations. Rural communities often lack the resources to fund equipment and personnel, so EMS agencies across the country rely on volunteers who are already spreading themselves thin.
Source: NBC News
Oct 21, 2019 - The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau is seeking comments on how to best facilitate and improve communication between tribes and Eligible Telecommunication Carriers (ETCs). Feedback is intended to aid in the operation and maintenance of broadband adoption on tribal lands.
Source: The Federal Communications Commission
Oct 19, 2019 - In rural McDowall County, West Virginia, officials and union leaders work to construct Renaissance Village, building suitable housing and tackling poverty to boost academic achievement in young students. County schools address the needs of children by connecting them with psychologists and dentists and providing clothes and other basic necessities. (Subscription may be required to view article).
Source: The Washington Post
Oct 18, 2019 - Features a married family physician couple who decided to practice in their small hometown in rural Minnesota. Describes a day of practice for the two of them and highlights the positive effect they have had on the community.
Source: American Academy of Family Physicians
Oct 18, 2019 - Hit hard by the opioid epidemic, rural Ohio Valley struggles with the widespread costs of recovery programs and diseases related to needle drug use. Two Ohio counties receive a settlement in the lawsuit against several opioid companies and governments discuss how they will use the money.
Source: Ohio Valley Resource
Oct 18, 2019 - Features an elementary school in rural Wisconsin that has adopted Social Emotional Learning (SEL) practices to assess and improve the mental health and well-being of students. Includes a TED Talk by Nadine Burke Harris, a pediatrician who discusses the link between Adverse Childhood Effects (ACEs) and health issues later in life.
Source: Wisconsin Public Radio
Oct 18, 2019 - The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is re-opening and extending the comment period for a July 24, 2019 proposed rule that would have made changes to categorical eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) based on receipt of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits. Provides additional information on the potential impacts of the proposed changes on National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program participants. Comments on the new information are now being accepted through November 1, 2019.
Source: Federal Register
Oct 18, 2019 - Features rural Kansas communities that are experiencing a faster than average population decline, but have the qualities of "shrink smart" towns because they remain committed to improving quality of life. To maintain the population they have, small towns must seize opportunities, such as building day-care centers, creating programs that provide internships for students, and opening businesses downtown.
Source: KCUR
Oct 17, 2019 - Notice of proposed rule from the HHS Office of the Inspector General to add, on a prospective basis only after a final rule is issued, safe harbor protections under the Federal anti-kickback statute for certain coordinated care and associated value-based arrangements between or among clinicians, providers, suppliers, and others that meet all safe harbor conditions. Also adds other protections and new safe harbors related to the Department of Health and Human Services' Regulatory Sprint to Coordinated Care. Comments on the proposed rule are due by December 31, 2019.
Source: Federal Register
Oct 15, 2019 - A researcher at West Virginia University School of Medicine has developed an app to train law enforcement and health department staff in rural areas how to recognize signs of child sex trafficking. The SexExRural app includes training content created with the input of trafficking survivors and health professionals, as well as resources for reporting and supporting victims.
Source: WVU Today
Oct 15, 2019 - Describes the barriers faced by rural communities in hiring operators of water and wastewater facilities, including smaller talent pools, lack of knowledge of the careers, and pay disparities between small and larger systems. Includes information on the Rural Homecoming campaign held October 18-20, which celebrates the strengths and opportunities in rural communities.
Source: WaterOperator.org
Oct 15, 2019 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of Minority Health announces the Call for Nominations for the 2020 CMS Health Equity Award. Nominations are for organizations who have demonstrated a commitment to reducing disparities affecting vulnerable populations. Nominations are due November 15, 2019.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Oct 15, 2019 - The Alamogordo Police Department is one of the first small rural coverage areas to deploy a Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT) to assist law enforcement on crisis calls and address the gap in medication-assisted drug treatment services. The unit will respond to crisis calls to deescalate the situation and the mobile unit will follow up and put families and individuals in touch with mental health resources.
Source: Alamogordo Daily News
Oct 13, 2019 - Due to the wave of rural hospital closures, Georgia lawmakers now require hospital executives and board members to receive training on financial management and strategic planning. The training program aims to ensure executives understand financial reports, the healthcare industry, and the community they serve.
Source: AP News
Oct 11, 2019 - Notice of rulemaking from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to promote transparency and predictability, and the efficient allocation of Rural Health Care Program resources while preventing waste, fraud and abuse. Many parts of the rule will be effective on November 12, 2019, with others sections to be announced in the Federal Register at a later date.
Oct 11, 2019 - The Administration for Native Americans (ANA) awarded over $11.2 million to 40 grant projects focused on preserving Native culture and strengthening tribal communities. Some projects include building Mental Health Offices in rural villages on reservations and implementing strategies aimed at increasing professional retention.
Source: Administration for Children and Families
Oct 10, 2019 - The Administration for Community Living (ACL) announces the creation of a National Volunteer Care Corps, connecting young adults and healthy retirees with older Americans in need of assistance with household tasks. The project aims to provide elders with companionship and give unpaid family caregivers a break.
Source: Kaiser Health News
Oct 10, 2019 - Features CommWell Health's Positive Life program in North Carolina, aimed at addressing rural residents' social conditions to keep them healthy. By offering transportation, housing support, appointment reminders, and more, the program allows HIV-positive patients to focus on their health instead of social and financial barriers they face in daily life.
Source: North Carolina Health News
Oct 9, 2019 - Examines poor dental health in South Dakota and identifies sparse population, high rates of poverty, and a shortage of dentists as barriers to accessing dental health care, especially for Native Americans. Includes strategies implemented to improve access to care.
Source: South Dakota News Watch
Oct 9, 2019 - Summarizes a study that concludes that state mandates requiring the use of video-based telemedicine hinder access to care for those living in rural areas without reliable internet service. Describes how rural areas would benefit the most from telehealth, but they lack the bandwidth required to take advantage of video services.
Source: mHealth Intelligence
Oct 9, 2019 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a proposed rule to modernize and clarify regulations on the "Stark Law," or the physician self-referral law, in support of the transition from volume to value-based care. The law prevents physicians and other healthcare providers from referring patients for healthcare services under the Medicare program if the provider, or provider's immediate family member, has a financial relationship with the entity performing the service. Changes are intended to clarify regulations and remove barriers currently preventing innovation in care coordination activities.
Source: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Oct 9, 2019 - Examines the increasing role of women in agriculture, featuring a livestock veterinarian and her experience working in the field while pregnant. Identifies lack of access to healthcare in rural areas, exposure to bacteria and chemicals, and lack of research and training in livestock exposure as difficulties faced by pregnant women working on a farm.
Source: NET
Oct 9, 2019 - Overview of a study reported in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry describes the importance of strong connections made with peers and adults in decreasing suicide rates among rural high school students in New York and North Dakota. Rural suicide rates are on the climb, with children posing a higher risk. Results provide insight as to how suicide can be prevented through connections made in school.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Oct 8, 2019 - A family practitioner in rural Georgia is allowing Mercer University School of Medicine to take over his practice when he retires. Peach County is a medically underserved area, and Mercer Medicine hopes to fill physician gaps in the community through educational programs held in its new facilities.
Source: Georgia Health News
Oct 7, 2019 - Graduates of the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Salina have begun practicing, but only three of the eight chose to settle down in a rural community. Examines the challenges associated with recruiting physicians to rural areas and strategies rural medicine programs are taking to expose students to rural options.
Source: USA Today
Oct 7, 2019 - The Indian Health Service (IHS) has awarded $2.4 million to nine Tribal Epidemiology Centers to support the reduction of HIV, hepatitis C, and sexually transmitted infections in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. The Tribal Epidemiology Centers plan to implement a national strategy to diagnose, treat, prevent, and respond to HIV, with the goal of ending the epidemic by 2030.
Source: Indian Health Service
Oct 7, 2019 - Overview of a study that suggests the Medicare Graduate Medical Education (GME) is overpaying hospitals by nearly $1.28 billion per year. Proposes that GME payments be capped at $150,000 per resident for all hospitals and the savings be used to address doctor shortages in rural underserved areas.
Source: George Washington University School of Public Health
Oct 7, 2019 - The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announces a free medication-assisted treatment training opportunity for current and prospective National Health Service Corps (NHSC) providers. Includes information on the waiver for eligible clinicians to treat opioid dependency with buprenorphine and the NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program (SUD Workforce LRP).
Source: Bureau of Health Workforce
Oct 2, 2019 - Providers from North Carolina examine mental health among migrant farmworkers from Mexico. Explores how a community's culture can stigmatize addressing mental health concerns and how those barriers can be broken down. See more in part 2 of this series.
Source: Blue Ridge Public Radio
Oct 2, 2019 - Addresses the issues that rural farmworkers in Arizona face when seeking access to healthcare, such as language barriers and lack of health insurance. The Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center (SEAHEC) established a community center to serve residents, the majority of whom are Latino, educating them on sun safety, nutrition, and health issues they may face working on a farm.
Source: Cronkite News
Oct 2, 2019 - The Housing Development Alliance in Hazard, Kentucky created the Hope Building program to build affordable homes and provide employment and construction training to individuals recovering from addiction. Kentucky struggles with a high opioid overdose rate and organizations like the Housing Development Alliance aim to be a part of the solution.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Oct 2, 2019 - Grocery stores across rural America are going out of business, leaving surrounding communities without nearby access to quality foods. Includes information on efforts to address rural food gaps, including the establishment of a food gap task force and consideration of economic incentives in New Mexico and potential government intervention in North Dakota, though there is some concern from legislators about interfering with the free market.
Source: Pew Charitable Trusts
Oct 1, 2019 - Summarizes a research study across 5 states that examined the driving distance to access methadone, a treatment for opioid addiction, for residents in rural and urban counties. Results show the average drive time to Opioid Treatment Programs (OTP) is 37 minutes, with some rural counties facing up to two hours. Solutions proposed include dispensing methadone at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), which average only a 16-minute drive time.
Source: Yale News
Oct 1, 2019 - The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) is seeking input on how they can effectively provide U.S. health professionals with better access to biomedical information and improve the public's access to trusted health information. Comments requested include, but are not limited to, suggestions on NNLM priorities, engagement, and structure. Responses are due by December 2, 2019.
Source: National Institutes of Health
Oct 1, 2019 - Describes the lack of dental care in rural Florida and efforts underway to get dental therapists licensed to practice in order to fill the gaps. 12 other states have approved the dental therapist licensing, increasing access to affordable dental care for low-income families in shortage areas.
Source: WUFT
Oct 1, 2019 - Radio interview with Dr. Maria Ryan, Chief Executive Officer at Cottage Hospital, a Critical Access Hospital (CAH) in rural New Hampshire. She describes her journey to her current career in leadership, identifies how her hospital is addressing the mental health crisis, and explains the importance of education in healthcare.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
Sep 30, 2019 - Rural hospitals across Iowa have decided to close their labor and delivery units due to an aging population and shifting healthcare needs. Examines the difficult decision that several hospitals have had to make in order to keep their facilities from closing altogether.
Source: Side Effects Public Media
Sep 30, 2019 - Addresses the widespread closings of hospitals in rural America and the impact they have on surrounding communities. Includes information on common challenges seen across the country and alternative models of care being tested.
Source: The Conversation
Sep 30, 2019 - Examines the aging population in America, with the rural Midwest seeing the quickest population increase in older Americans. Contains the Best States for Aging ranking, which identifies ways different areas of the country are adjusting to the demographic shift.
Source: U.S. News and World Report
Sep 30, 2019 - Opinion piece by Dr. Carrie Henning-Smith, deputy director of the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center, provides an overview of a study that investigated nearly half a million suicides in the U.S. between 1999 and 2016. Results show some people are at a higher risk, specifically those in rural areas, listing social isolation and lack of health insurance as some of the factors leading to the increase in suicide rates.
Source: NBC
Sep 30, 2019 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is seeking public comment on a proposed information collection titled "Hospital Survey for Specified Covered Outpatient Drugs (SCODs)." Data submitted by hospitals during this information collection will be used to determine payment amounts for drugs acquired under the 340B program. Comments are due by November 29, 2019.
Source: Federal Register
Sep 30, 2019 - Notice of final rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to revise discharge planning requirements that hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals, and home health agencies participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs must meet. Also implements discharge planning requirements to provide patients and their families with access to information that will help them make informed decisions about post-acute care, and updates a provision regarding patient rights which is intended to promote innovation and flexibility to improve patient care. The final rule will be effective on November 29, 2019.
Source: Federal Register
Sep 30, 2019 - Notice of final rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid that removes unnecessary and burdensome regulations, reduces requirements that impede or divert resources away from providing high quality care, and updates fire safety standards for End-State Renal Disease (ESRD) facilities participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Also updates the requirements that hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) must meet to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Includes implementation dates for CAHs related to Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement Programs (QAPI) and for hospitals and CAHs related to antibiotic stewardship programs. The final rule will be effective on November 29, 2019.
Source: Federal Register
Sep 29, 2019 - Addresses one rural Michigan medical center's decision to sell to a larger healthcare system and shut down its obstetrics unit. Includes the opinions of local community members and hospital administrators, as well as an overview of the healthcare gaps in the state.
Source: Bridge
Sep 28, 2019 - Explores the vast medical desert in west Texas as one man is the only doctor to care for three remote counties. Contains examples of the many patients he sees in a given day and identifies what it takes to recruit and retain physicians in rural areas. (May require a subscription).
Source: The Washington Post
Sep 28, 2019 - Features a rural Texan in need of complex life-saving surgery, but many local hospitals with the capability to help him, refuse his transfer as he does not have insurance. Discusses the limits of patient protections when it comes to emergency care and the expense of employer-offered insurance. (May require subscription to view).
Source: Victoria Advocate
Sep 26, 2019 - The Injury Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released an update regarding the lung disease linked to E-cigarettes and vaping. Includes a media advisory and resources for healthcare providers and local health departments.
Source: The Centers for Disease Control
Sep 26, 2019 - Overview of the Senate vote to approve a continuing resolution that would delay cuts to Medicaid until November 21, 2019. Included in the delay is nearly $4 billion in impending cuts to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) allotments. The resolution now awaits signature by the president.
Source: American Hospital Association
Sep 26, 2019 - Addresses the financial stress that rural hospitals are under, leaving many to close and others struggling to break even. CEO of Lexington Regional Center in Nebraska, examines the effect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on rural hospitals and provides ways they are combating closure.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Sep 25, 2019 - Provides an overview of an immersion program at the University of Missouri that takes medical students on farm tours to engage them with rural communities. With a shortage of rural healthcare professionals, the program aims to recruit individuals to less populated areas.
Source: KBIA
Sep 25, 2019 - Summarizes an interview with a teacher and a psychologist at a school district in Minford, Ohio. The school started a program to help children of parents or grandparents dealing with addiction manage their emotions and navigate trauma.
Source: WBUR
Sep 25, 2019 - Features Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and his visit to Abilene Memorial Hospital in South Dakota. Includes his announcement of 5G, a faster wireless connectivity to come, that will specifically assist rural areas in accessing telemedicine and other health services.
Source: Governing
Sep 25, 2019 - Discusses study that analyzed the high infant mortality rate in Appalachia and the Mississippi River Delta Region. Results show opioid abuse, poverty, and maternal age as factors contributing to infant deaths.
Source: The Washington Post
Sep 25, 2019 - Features a top 100 Critical Access Hospital (CAH) in Celina, Tennessee that closed down while a Kentucky hospital 24 miles away stayed open. Presents a correlation between Tennessee not expanding Medicaid and the state having the second highest rate of rural hospital closures.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Sep 25, 2019 - Notice of final rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services outlining the methodology for implementing reductions to annual allotments for Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH) beginning in FY 2020 through FY 2025. Provides reference to previous versions of the proposed rule as well as updates that have occurred based on commenter feedback, including those that impact small and rural hospitals. This final rule will be effective on November 25, 2019.
Source: Federal Register
Sep 24, 2019 - Highlights The University of New Mexico's First Responder TeleECHO program, which provides training and mental health services to first responders in the state. The videoconference meetings are held weekly and include short lectures from ECHO specialists and first responders.
Source: The University of New Mexico Newsroom
Sep 24, 2019 - Radio interview with Dr. Quintin Brubaker, a resident physician at the West Virginia University Department of Family Medicine. Topics covered include healthcare policy, physician retention, and how Brubaker went from majoring in history to becoming a doctor.
Source: Rural Health Leadership Radio
Sep 23, 2019 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announce a final rule to cut $4 billion in state Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments for 2020 and $8 billion cuts each year through 2025. The final rule will go into effect by November 21st, 2019.
Source: Modern Healthcare
Sep 21, 2019 - Discusses the shortage of nurses, specifically at hospitals in rural areas. With an aging population and more nurses retiring, Tennessee and Virginia health systems are exploring ways to increase recruitment and retention of their nursing staff.
Source: The Roanoke Times
Sep 20, 2019 - Describes an operation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration that uncovered nearly 45,000 pills of Tramadol mailed to Alaska in 45 days. Contains information on the mild opioid and ways enforcement agencies are addressing substance abuse in rural communities.
Source: Alaska Public Media
Sep 19, 2019 - Features the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal community (CSKT) and how they are addressing the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People (MMIP) epidemic. CSKT passed an MMIP resolution to establish a work group, and by holding training conferences, they aim to educate, bring awareness, and provide tools for communities to respond to trafficking and violence toward indigenous people.
Source: Char-Koosta News
Sep 19, 2019 - ITVS has posted a new collection on PBS Learning Media featuring resources from The Providers, a film highlighting the physician shortage and opioid epidemic in rural America. Includes discussion guides for both high school and higher education audiences.
Source: ITVS
Sep 19, 2019 - Features public libraries that are implementing programs to promote health and wellness. A library in Somerset, Kentucky offers free healthcare learning lunches on topics like diabetes, migraines, and more; other libraries in rural America are carrying naloxone.
Source: Stateline, PEW Charitable Trusts
Sep 19, 2019 - The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is seeking public input on the eligibility criteria for grants awarded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) and a rural organization's ability to leverage funding. Comments will help FORHP determine if programs meet the needs of communities given the ever-changing rural health landscape. Responses to their Request for Information (RFI) are due by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on November 2, 2019.
Source: Health Resources and Services Administration

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