Rural Health
Top Stories

Top news stories from the past 60 days.

Opportunity for All: Building a Brighter Future for Rural Families
Feb 11, 2016 - Highlights two sessions of the upcoming 2016 National Association of Counties Legislative Conference that address some of the largest issues facing rural populations, including child poverty and substance abuse.
Source: National Association of Counties
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St. Luke’s Starts New Emergency Medicine Residency Program
Feb 10, 2016 - Discusses a new program which allows 4th year emergency medicine residents from the University of Washington to spend a month at St. Luke's Wood River Hospital to learn about providing emergency care in a rural setting. The rural Idaho hospital staffs its emergency department with certified emergency physicians, which makes the program possible.
Source: Idaho Mountain Express
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Oregon Approves Coos Bay Tribes to Integrate Mid-Level Native Dental Therapists
Feb 10, 2016 - Reports the approval by the Oregon Health Authority for the Coquille Tribe and the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians to implement a pilot project that trains and employs Native Americans to offer basic oral health services in their communities.
Source: Indian Country
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SoutheastHEALTH Closing Reynolds County Health Center, Clinics
Feb 10, 2016 - Reports that SoutheastHEALTH has announced the upcoming closure of Southeast Health Center of Reynolds County, Missouri, along with two related clinics. A $6 million liability incurred by the previous owners contributed to the decision to close the facilities.
Source: Southeast Missourian
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Collins Cites Possible Tie Between Hospital Pain Control Surveys, Overprescription of Opioids
Feb 9, 2016 - Reports that Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is leading a group of senators in sending a letter to HHS Secretary Burwell over concerns that hospital patient satisfaction surveys, which impact Medicare reimbursement, incentivize providers to overprescribe opioids.
Source: Portland Press Herald
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How Medicare Accountable Care Organizations Keep CAHs Afloat
Feb 9, 2016 - Discusses how joining Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) might help Critical Access Hospitals manage their revenue cycles.
Source: RevCycleIntelligence.com
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50 Rural Hospital CEOs to Know - 2016
Feb 9, 2016 - Becker's Hospital Review honors 50 rural hospital CEOs that it says have "demonstrated dedication toproviding high-quality, accessible care to their communities."
Source: Becker's Hospital Review
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All Quiet on the Rural Healthcare Front?
Feb 8, 2016 - Discusses how rural healthcare providers are adapting to ICD-10, including challenges encountered and perspectives about what issues may be yet to come.
Source: ExecutiveInsight
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Rural or Urban? Court Ruling Would Let Some Hospitals save Money by Being Both
Feb 5, 2016 - The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling to invalidate a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regulation stating that hospitals can’t be classified as both urban and rural for different purposes.
Source: Modern Healthcare
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Medical School Students Learn to Focus on Whole Patient
Feb 4, 2016 - Highlights the experiences of two Maine Medical Center-Tufts University School of Medicine Maine Track Program students who have spent the past eight months in rural Maine.
Source: Boothbay Register
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Helping Lakota Elders with Advance Care Planning
Feb 4, 2016 - Describes a culturally sensitive, outreach program promoting advance care planning within the Lakota nation throughout South Dakota.
Source: Association of Health Care Journalists
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Medicare Program; Medicare Shared Savings Program; Accountable Care Organizations-Revised Benchmark Rebasing Methodology, Facilitating Transition to Performance-Based Risk, and Administrative Finality of Financial Calculations Federal Register
Feb 3, 2016 - Proposed rule addresses changes to the Medicare Shared Savings Program that would modify the program's benchmark rebasing methodology to encourage ACOs' continued investment in care coordination and quality improvement. Notice includes a section addressing the impact on small rural hospitals, and CMS seeks comments from small rural hospitals on the proposed changes.
Source: Federal Register
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673 Rural Hospitals Vulnerable to Closure: 5 Things to Know
Feb 3, 2016 - Highlights key points on the financial struggles faced by rural hospitals, based on a recent report from iVantage Health Analytics.
Source: Becker's Hospital Review
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VA Choice Program Frustrates Vets Needing Care
Feb 3, 2016 - Reports on challenges faced by veterans in rural Colorado seeking to take advantage of the Veterans Choice program to get better access to healthcare.
Source: Glenwood Springs Post Independent
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Care at Native American Health Facilities Called 'Horrifying and Unacceptable' in Senate Hearing
Feb 3, 2016 - Reports on testimony given at a Wednesday, February 3rd Senate hearing regarding serious problems at Indian Health Service facilities, as well as lack of funding for IHS.
Source: NBC News
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Fact Sheet: President Obama Proposes $1.1 Billion in New Funding to Address the Prescription Opioid Abuse and Heroin Use Epidemic
Feb 2, 2016 - The President's Budget includes funding to expand access to treatment for prescription drug abuse and heroin use. It also includes funding for prevention and overdose treatment strategies, with a portion directed specifically to rural areas.
Source: White House Press Release
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Acting Administrator Slavitt Speech Before the National Rural Health Association
Feb 2, 2016 - The prepared remarks of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt for the National Rural Health Association's 27th Annual Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. Announces the establishment of the CMS Rural Health Council.
Source: The CMS Blog
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Study: Heroin Overdoses Up 315 Percent in 14 Years
Feb 2, 2016 - A recent study by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council reports on increases in pain medication overdoses and heroin overdose in rural Pennsylvania counties.
Source: The Daily Item
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MACPAC Issues First Report to Congress on Medicaid DSH Program
Feb 1, 2016 - Reports on recommendations included in the first annual report from the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission to Congress on the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program.
Source: AHA News
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Rural Hospitals Provide Palliative Care Near Home
Feb 1, 2016 - An article in the February issue of Critical Care Nurse discusses the role Critical Access Hospitals can play in providing high-quality palliative care in rural areas.
Source: American Association of Critical Care Nurses
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Young African-Americans Underestimate Stroke Risk, According to Nursing Study
Feb 1, 2016 - Reports on a recently published study that compared a group of young rural African-Americans' perceived risk to their actual risk of stroke.
Source: EurekAlert!
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Paying for Testing Turns Up 100 TB Infections in Small Alabama Town
Jan 31, 2016 - In a rural region of Alabama experiencing an outbreak of tuberculosis, a strategy to pay residents $20 to be tested for TB at the county health department has identified one active and 100 latent infections.
Source: Alabama Media Group
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AP NewsBreak: Reports Detail Issues at Reservation Hospitals
Jan 28, 2016 - Highlights a recent inspection report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services describing substandard care delivered at two Indian Health Service hospitals in South Dakota.
Source: Associated Press via ABC News
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Controversy Heats up over Native American Tribes’ Use of Dental Health Aide Therapists
Jan 28, 2016 - Provides an overview of an ongoing dispute over the employment of dental health aide therapists within the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community in Washington.
Source: The Association of Health Care Journalists
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Native Appalachian Strives to Improve Rural Health
Jan 27, 2016 - Describes the efforts of one man to research and address high rates of smoking and smoking-related diseases in rural Appalachia.
Source: University of Kentucky News
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HIT Resource Scarcity Hobbles Rural Providers
Jan 27, 2016 - Describes a recent study that found rural providers who have not yet met meaningful use standards put their organization and the patients they serve at a disadvantage. Interviews the author of the study who explains the findings.
Source: HealthLeaders Media
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FCC Petition: Better Rural Broadband Means More Telehealth Services
Jan 26, 2016 - Describes a coalition of telehealth and health IT organizations and its effort to petition the Federal Communications Commission to improve wireless and broadband access in rural areas to encourage further development of telehealth capabilities in these areas.
Source: mHealth Intelligence
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Rural Road Safety: A Focus for County Elected Officials
Jan 25, 2016 - Highlights the higher rates of car accidents on rural roads in comparison to urban roads and provides resources to county officials to help address the disparity.
Source: National Association of Counties
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What Works: Partnerships Serve Rural Populations
Jan 25, 2016 - Describes three awardees of the Centene Foundation's Improving Health in Rural Counties/Parishes program and how they sought to address behavioral health and nutritional needs of rural people in 3 different states across the country. Highlights the importance of collaboration and partnerships in serving rural communities.
Source: Behavioral Healthcare
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HHS: Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines Federal Register
Jan 25, 2016 - The Department of Health and Human Services has updated the poverty guidelines adjusting them on the basis of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). The poverty guidelines are used as an eligibility criterion by the Community Services Block Grant program and a number of other Federal programs.
Source: Federal Register
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Obama Administration to Partner with 27 Communities to Boost Neighborhood Revitalization Through Local Food Enterprises
Jan 25, 2016 - The White House Rural Council and six federal agencies announce selected communities to participate in Local Foods, Local Places, a federal initiative aimed to increase health and economic wellness in rural and urban communities by improving access to healthy, local food.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
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Rural Hospital Crisis Crosses Borders
Jan 24, 2016 - Describes the spread of financial pressure on rural healthcare facilities across multiple states, specifically drawing on examples of rural service closures in Georgia and South Carolina.
Source: Georgia Health News
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Strengthening the Small Hospital Supply Chain: Big Opportunities, Big Savings
Jan 22, 2016 - Discusses the importance of focusing on efficiently managing the supply chain for rural hospitals. Highlights potential savings that can be realized despite the challenges that rural hospitals face.
Source: Hospitals & Health Networks
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Progress Report: USDA Investments Make Big Impact for Rural America in 2015
Jan 21, 2016 - Announces a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture detailing the results of investments of the department's Rural Development team. Investments include place-based initiatives such as Promise Zones and StrikeForce, as well as community infrastructure, housing, and more.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
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Gilmer County Hospital Eliminates Inpatient Services
Jan 21, 2016 - Reports that North Georgia Medical Center in Ellijay, GA, plans to stop providing inpatient services and lease out its emergency room, medical offices, and outpatient surgery centers to an Atlanta-based nonprofit system.
Source: The Catoosa County News
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Bill to Support Hospitals in Smaller Communities Passes Senate
Jan 21, 2016 - The Senate has passed S. 607, a bill which would extend the Medicare Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Program.
Source: The Office of Senator Lisa Murkowski
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Innovations To Address Opioid Use Disorder
Jan 20, 2016 - Provides resources aimed at addressing opioid use disorder, including Innovations and QualityTools from the AHRQ Healthcare Innovations Exchange. Includes the efforts of an emergency department and urgent care center in rural Maine.
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
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Health Affairs Web First: Wide Differences In Rural Health Information Technology Adoption
Jan 20, 2016 - This blog post discusses a Health Affairs Web First article examining the variation in adoption of health information technology among different provider types in rural areas.
Source: Health Affairs Blog
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Rural Hospitals Taking on Recruitment Challenge
Jan 18, 2016 - Discusses efforts to recruit and retain physicians and other providers to rural Nebraska, including Columbus Community Hospital and several Critical Access Hospitals. Recruiters find they must connect with students and residents early in their career planning efforts.
Source: Columbus Telegram
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Healthcare in the Outlands: Administrators Look for Ways to Attract RNs to Rural Health Jobs
Jan 18, 2016 - Reports that some areas of the country are having increased difficulty recruiting nurses in rural areas. Discusses factors contributing to the shortages and ways that rural healthcare facilities can appeal to RNs and retain staff once hired.
Source: Nurse.com
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In Rural Alabama, a Longtime Mistrust of Medicine Fuels a Tuberculosis Outbreak
Jan 17, 2016 - Describes a tuberculosis outbreak in Marion, Alabama, which has been worsened by a legacy of poverty and limited access to healthcare, as well as mistrust of health officials.
Source: New York Times
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USDA's StrikeForce Initiative Invests $23.5 Billion in Rural Communities, Expands to Four New States
Jan 15, 2016 - Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the expansion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity Initiative into four additional states: Florida, Missouri, Montana, and Ohio. The initiative builds partnerships to grow the economy and help impoverished communities rise out of poverty.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
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Here’s How the White House Plans to Address Rural America’s Struggle with Heroin
Jan 15, 2016 - Announces President Obama's plans to launch a new interagency effort, led by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, to address heroin and opioid abuse in rural areas, among other pressing issues.
Source: The Washington Post
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VA: Funding Availability Under Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program Federal Register
Jan 15, 2016 - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is announcing the availability of funds for supportive services grants under the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program (SSVF Program). The programs requires that supportive services grants are equitably distributed across geographic regions, including rural communities and tribal lands.
Source: Federal Register
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RHS: Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grants Federal Register
Jan 14, 2016 - The Rural Housing Service announces its final rule with comments for the Essential Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Program to support rural areas. The program helps rural residents by providing technical assistance and training to assist entities applying for the Community Facilities Program.
Source: Federal Register
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Telehealth Enhances Care in Rural Communities
Jan 14, 2016 - Describes the potential for telehealth technology to extend access to healthcare services to rural communities and residents while lowering costs. Highlights its impact on a healthcare system in Utah, Intermountain Healthcare.
Source: Hospitals & Health Networks
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Cooperative Offers Opportunities for Men
Jan 14, 2016 - Describes an initiative in Wisconsin that supports men in rural nursing practice called the Men in Nursing Roundtable. The group will plan strategies to support men who are nurses in rural areas and work to address gender disparities within the nursing workforce.
Source: Agri-View
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MSU Study Finds Nurse Practitioners More Likely than Medical Doctors to Work in Rural Areas
Jan 14, 2016 - Describes recent research that found nurse practitioners are more likely than physicians to provide care in rural settings. Presents the findings to better help address disparities in healthcare access between urban and rural areas.
Source: Montana State University
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Today's Rural Trustees: Ready for Anything (and Everything)
Jan 14, 2016 - Describes the pressures felt by rural hospital trustees and the importance of including people from a variety of backgrounds to serve as trustees.
Source: Hospitals & Health Networks
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Webinar: Are Some Rural Areas of the US Seeing a Drop in Life Expectancy and Increased Mortality?
Jan 14, 2016 - On January 28, 2016 the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health & Human Services (NACRHHS) will hold a discussion via webcast, open to the public, on their most recent policy brief, Mortality and Life Expectancy in Rural America: Connecting the Health and Human Service Safety Nets to Improve Health Outcomes over the Life Course.
Source: National Advisory Committee on Rural Health & Human Services
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FNS: Summer Food Service Program 2016 Reimbursement Rates Federal Register
Jan 13, 2016 - The Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, announces reimbursement rates for the Summer Food Service for Children for 2016, including rates specific to rural areas.
Source: Federal Register
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CMS to Fund 'Accountable Health Communities' Models
Jan 13, 2016 - Reports that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is offering $157 million to help build organizations that will assess social needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries across the country. This is the first time CMS has focused on health-related social needs; needs of importance to rural areas.
Source: HealthLeaders Media
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Safe Farming, Safe Living
Jan 13, 2016 - Reports on a unique outreach program to Hutterite colonies in South Dakota in an effort to raise awareness of farm hazards and to promote safe work practices.
Source: Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health
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Designated Promise Zones Keep Rural America Strong
Jan 12, 2016 - This blog entry provides an overview of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Promise Zone initiative and the role it has played in providing healthy and nutritious foods to rural communities across the United States. Includes information on the upcoming third and final round of applications for Promise Zone designation through the initiative.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Blog
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RUS: Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines and Funding Levels Federal Register
Jan 12, 2016 - The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) has announced its Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program and is now accepting applications for FY 2016. The grants are used to support telecommunication technologies that extend educational opportunities or healthcare services into rural areas.
Source: Federal Register
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American Indian Commercial Tobacco Quit Line Now Available
Jan 11, 2016 - Describes the American Indian Commercial Tobacco Quit Line as the first multi-state model being implemented after success in demonstrating its effectiveness in Montana. The program offers clients access to culturally appropriate tobacco cessation coaching seven days a week.
Source: KTVH
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Wholesome Wave and Navajo Nation Partner to Overcome Food Insecurity in Navajo Nation
Jan 11, 2016 - Features a partnership between Wholesome Wave and Navajo Nation to improve access to healthy and nutritious food in an effort to address health disparities in remote parts of the Navajo nation.
Source: Food Tank
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Boosting Mothers' Moods
Jan 11, 2016 - Reports a pilot program that is helping rural, veteran mothers experiencing postpartum depression cope with the depression. Describes an online intervention tool, MomMoodBooster, that provides a variety of mood management resources and connects the mothers with phone coaches to help encourage the participants and track results.
Source: University of Iowa
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New Hospitals and Health Care Providers Join Successful, Cutting-edge Federal Initiative That Cuts Costs and Puts Patients at the Center of Their Care
Jan 11, 2016 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announces the participants in its new Medicare Accountable Care Organization initiatives to improve healthcare quality and lower costs. Includes participants in a rural specific ACO model that is part of the Medicare Shared Savings Program, the ACO Investment Model (AIM).
Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
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HUD and VA Award $5.9 Million to 26 Tribes to Provide Permanent Homes for Native American Veterans Experiencing Homelessness
Jan 8, 2016 - Announces $5.9 million in grant funding to 26 Tribes across the country to provide housing and support services to Native American veterans who are or may become homeless.
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
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How One School is Training Students for Rural Medicine
Jan 7, 2016 - Describes the University of Washington, School of Medicine's Target Rural Underserved Track curriculum (TRUST) which familiarizes students with rural specific healthcare over four years of training, including direct work within a rural community.
Source: American Medical Association
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Kansas Legislators Discuss Physician Assistant Limits
Jan 7, 2016 - Highlights perspectives of officials in Kansas on a new state regulation change that lifts a cap on the number of physician assistants that a physician may supervise within their primary practice. Concern for patient safety and optimism for increasing access to healthcare services in rural areas are discussed.
Source: Kansas Health Institute
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FORHP Funding Announcement: Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Program
Jan 5, 2016 - Announces the release of the FY 2016 Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Grant Program which provides support to rural primary care providers for implementation of quality improvement activities.
Source: The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy
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Medicare Patients Pay Far More for Outpatient Care at Critical Access Hospitals: 7 Things to Know
Jan 4, 2016 - Summarizes the findings of a Wall Street Journal article investigating disparities in out-of-pocket costs for outpatient care received at Critical Access Hospitals, as compared with other acute care hospitals.
Source: Beckers Hospital Review
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Rural Housing Fares Better in 2016 Budget
Jan 4, 2016 - Describes how final congressional negotiations produced a bipartisan 2016 federal budget that expands several U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs, including rural housing programs.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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Senate Passes Rural ACO Legislation
Dec 31, 2015 - Describes the passage of a bill in the U.S. Senate that aims to improve the manner in which beneficiaries are assigned under the Medicare shared savings program by basing the assignments on the services provided through Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics.
Source: JD Supra
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New Test Targets Alaska Natives' High Rate of Colorectal Cancer
Dec 29, 2015 - Describes a new, more accessible way of testing for colorectal cancer, which is especially important for populations with greater barriers to care and higher incidence rates, like Alaska Natives.
Source: Alaska Dispatch News
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Rural Northwest Indiana Hospital Beats the Odds
Dec 29, 2015 - Describes administrative changes that Indiana University Health Starke Hospital in Knox, Indiana made to transform the facility to a financially healthy one, defying a trend of rural hospital closures across the country.
Source: The Times Media Company
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Alzheimer's Disease Underdiagnosed In Indian Country
Dec 28, 2015 - Highlights underdiagnosis of Alzheimer's disease within Indian Country, in part because of cultural norms that do not recognize dementia as a disorder.
Source: National Public Radio via Prairie Public Broadcasting
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Pediatric Medication Poisonings More Likely in Rural Areas, According to New University of Pittsburgh Research
Dec 22, 2015 - Describes a recent report that finds children younger than five years of age who live in rural areas of Pennsylvania are more likely than their urban counterparts to suffer medication poisoning, highlighting socioeconomic factors such as lower employment rates, income, and education.
Source: PRWeb
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Hookworm Infections and Sanitation Failures Plague Rural Alabama
Dec 17, 2015 - Describes how a lack of proper environmental health infrastructure due to poverty has led to a increase in hookworm infections in rural, Lowndes County, Alabama.
Source: Circle of Blue
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Gut Check Time for Rural Providers
Dec 16, 2015 - Part two of an interview with a veteran healthcare consultant discusses the changing role of rural hospitals among a growing number of challenges to the traditional service delivery model. See part one of the series.
Source: HealthLeaders Media
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Health Care Innovations for Rural Populations
Dec 16, 2015 - Features a selection of healthcare innovations and quality tools for rural populations that help to address health disparities including topics that cover service delivery models such as telehealth, mobile clinics, and integrated healthcare.
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
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Report: Environment Impacts Health of Rural Children More than it Does Urban Ones
Dec 16, 2015 - Describes a recent report from the Department of Health and Human Services that finds rural children are suffering from the impact of environmental factors on health status at a higher rate than their urban counterparts, including socioeconomic status, family health behaviors, and access to quality healthcare.
Source: The Rural Blog
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New Effort Targets Drug Overdoses in Indian Country
Dec 16, 2015 - Announces a new partnership between the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Indian Health Service (IHS) to provide BIA law enforcement officers with naloxone to better respond to opioid and heroin overdoses in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
Source: Indian Health Service
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Rural Health Crisis: 4 Ways Hospitals Can Beat the Odds [Special Report]
Dec 15, 2015 - Describes four strategies rural hospitals can implement to improve their operational outlook, including forming strategic alliance, increasing recruitment efforts, embracing innovative care solutions, and expanding services.
Source: FierceHealthcare
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Navajo Nation's Nutrition Crisis
Dec 14, 2015 - Reports on the inaccessibility of fresh and nutritious food and the related health consequences in the Navajo Nation. Interviews members of the tribe who have been negatively impacted by the lack of nutritious food and provides statistics measuring the aggregate impact of it.
Source: Al Jazeera
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Call for Abstracts: Special Rural Veteran Health Journal Supplement
Dec 14, 2015 - Requests manuscript submissions to be published in a special issue of The Journal of Rural Health focused on rural veterans' health and healthcare. The submission deadline is March 15, 2016.
Source: Veterans Health Administration, Office of Rural Health
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