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

Jun 2, 2023 - Describes the impact of a mobile integrated health program in an Indiana community. The program recently hired a registered nurse with an obstetrics background to fill a gap in maternal and infant healthcare after the local labor and delivery unit closed. Discusses lack of consistent funding as a challenge to sustainability.
Source: Indiana Capital Chronicle
Jun 1, 2023 - Describes disparities in rates of removal from homes for Native American children in northeast Wisconsin. Highlights the historical practice of removing Native children from their homes and policy changes to prevent that practice. Notes the health impacts of this historical trauma - including substance use - as a leading reason for removing a child from the home and that resources to reunify the family are harder to access on rural reservations. Describes the impact of removal on the children including disconnection from family and cultural norms, sense of self, and more.
Source: Post Crescent
Jun 1, 2023 - Describes the challenges small, rural communities face in applying for federal grants. Small communities often lack the time and resources to apply for large grants with many requirements. Additionally, matching fund requirements disqualify communities with tight budgets. Highlights a program in Arizona to help small communities overcome these barriers.
Source: The Daily Yonder
May 31, 2023 - A call from the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for approximately 15 experts to serve on the Standing Committee on Primary Care. The deadline to apply is June 16, 2023.
Source: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
May 30, 2023 - Highlights Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) nominees for the annual Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal (the Sammies), an award given for outstanding service by federal employees. Includes information on voting for the People's Choice award, which is open through June 19th when the top 6 will be named. Final voting will close on June 30th.
Source: Federal Office of Rural Health Policy
May 30, 2023 - New guidelines are being developed to aid the rural emergency medical service workforce with deciding between ground transport to a local hospital versus a trauma center by helicopter. Research shows that the most severely injured have better outcomes when going directly to a trauma center.
Source: KSAT 12
May 25, 2023 - Describes the Arizona Area Health Education Center (AzHEC) Program and the 6 Regional Centers, a program working to recruit, retain, and train healthcare professionals in rural and medically underserved communities. The AzHEC Program focuses on interprofessional, community based experiential training and providing culturally appropriate care for the federal tribes in Arizona. Highlights AzHEC outcomes from fiscal year 2021-2022.
Source: University of Arizona Health Sciences
May 25, 2023 - Describes the impact of train blockages in rural communities with special focus on health impacts. Cost saving measures by railway corporations have led to longer trains, increasing the amount of time small communities with few roads are cut off. Discusses the implications for emergency medical services, disasters, and resident health outcomes. Subscription may be required to access article.
Source: The Washington Post
May 25, 2023 - Highlights a Project ECHO line focusing on athletic training access at schools in Oklahoma. The goal is to reduce injury and improve health outcomes, particularly in rural regions. More than half of Oklahoma counties have no athletic trainer or sports medicine professional. Meeting twice a month, anyone providing care to student-athletes is invited to participate.
Source: OSU Headlines: News and Media
May 23, 2023 - Executives from Dartmouth Heath, MaineHealth, and The University of Vermont Health Network participated in a panel discussion about rural hospitals and their difficulties. Challenges include workforce shortages, hospital closures, housing costs, and the need for creative scheduling.
Source: Chief Healthcare Executive
May 19, 2023 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing a policy change for the rural floor wage index in 2024 that could have profound financial effects on urban and rural hospitals. Under this proposal CMS would treat hospitals with rural classifications the same as geographically rural hospitals when calculating the wage index.
Source: HealthLeaders
May 19, 2023 - Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Catherine Cortez-Masto of Nevada introduced legislation to ensure all communities, regardless of population, have access to adequate emergency medical services. The Protecting Access to Ground Ambulance Medical Services Act allows ambulance providers to be properly reimbursed by Medicare for the costs of providing emergency services, while also ensuring that existing EMT services, particularly in rural locations, remain operational, with sufficient staff and supplies.
Source: Office of Senator Susan Collins
May 19, 2023 - The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded over $65 million in funds to implement innovative approaches to improve maternal health outcomes and reduce disparities for patients at highest risk. This will help ensure healthier pregnancy and postpartum outcomes and address health disparities among women of color and women in rural and medically underserved areas.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
May 18, 2023 - U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Joni Ernst of Iowa led a bipartisan group of colleagues in introducing the Farmers First Act of 2023, legislation to address the mental health epidemic in rural America and expand access to critical mental health support and resources for agricultural communities.
Source: Office of Senator Tammy Baldwin
May 17, 2023 - U.S. Senators Joe Manchin, Joni Ernst, Jeanne Shaheen, and Jerry Moran reintroduced the Protecting Rural Telehealth Access Act. This legislation would ensure rural and underserved community healthcare providers can permanently offer telehealth services, including audio-only telehealth appointments, that are set to expire in December 2024.
Source: Office of Senator Joe Manchin
May 17, 2023 - Primary Care Centers of Eastern Kentucky (PCCEK) is a Rural Health Clinic whose services include temporary housing for women confronting substance use disorder. PCCEK offers a wide variety of health services, including dentistry, a diabetes center, a women's health center, radiology and imaging, behavioral health services, a pharmacy, and a hospice care center.
Source: The Daily Yonder
May 17, 2023 - U.S. Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas and Sen. Welch of Vermont introduced the ReConnect Rural America Act, legislation that helps to promote rural communities' access to high-speed broadband. Lack of accessibility to internet service leaves community members with less access to good-paying jobs, isolation from markets, and lack of healthcare provider technologies.
Source: Office of Senator Roger Marshall
May 16, 2023 - Highlights changes and challenges in rural health care access, including hospital closures, transportation issues, lack of obstetric services and mental health services, poor outcomes among Black or Native American populations, and lack of services for veterans.
Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office
May 15, 2023 - Describes the lack of maternity care services in Vinton County, the least populated county in Ohio. The only available medical care in Vinton County is a Federally Qualified Health Center, and the drive to hospitals in neighboring counties is at least 30 minutes long.
Source: Akron Beacon Journal
May 15, 2023 - Highlights a Federal Office of Rural Health Policy-funded Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies (RMOMS) program located in Clayton, New Mexico. The RMOMS program was created to increase access to maternal healthcare in rural communities through the use of telehealth and the creation of networks of hospitals and clinics.
Source: KFF Health News
May 12, 2023 - Highlights the lack of facility schools in rural Colorado. Facility schools provide specialized services for children with disabilities and/or mental health issues. Small population sizes and a shortage of trained teachers and behavioral professionals has led to closures of the few schools that existed. Rural Colorado children in need of their services either do not get them or must travel to other parts of the state to residential facilities.
Source: KFF Health News
May 11, 2023 - Summarizes research showing the impact healthcare costs have on healthcare access for rural adults. When compared to urban adults, rural adults are more likely to be unable to pay medical bills. Additionally, rural adults are more likely to ration prescription medicine or go without medical care, citing financial burdens. Discusses financial burdens specific for rural women and the rural middle class.
Source: Daily Yonder
May 11, 2023 - Describes the guidelines for the new Rural Emergency Hospital facility designation including types of care allowed, reimbursement rules, and other federal and state rules.
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures
May 10, 2023 - An HHS fact sheet outlining what is and is not changing around telehealth as the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency ends, including information on coverage of services. Provides guidance around licensure portability, a measure intended to increase access to healthcare for rural and underserved communities. Also outlines broadband initiatives that increase access to healthcare and reduce disparities.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
May 9, 2023 - The Reforming Broadband Connectivity Act, a bipartisan bill to improve the availability of broadband internet, will be heard before the Senate Commerce Committee 2 years after being introduced. The bill will require the FCC to modernize the Universal Service Fund which is primarily used to expand telephone service. Lawmakers want the fund to include broadband service to benefit rural areas, low-income households, and health services.
Source: The Hill
May 8, 2023 - Highlights new research on aging in place for seniors and the impact that has on rural communities. Study shows that "senior smart towns" allow aging people the ability to live safely and comfortably, bringing economic and networking benefits to the community. Communities without an economic base to support services such as healthcare and grocery stores impact the quality of life for all residents.
Source: Daily Yonder
May 8, 2023 - Examines the 2022 Employment Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While employment has increased for rural America, employment levels are still lower than they were prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is different than metropolitan counties, where employment levels are above pre-pandemic numbers. Also describes regional variations for rural employment numbers.
Source: Daily Yonder
May 8, 2023 - Describes the impact of inflation and interest rate increases on small rural hospitals. Notes that large capital expenses, such as purchasing new equipment, facility maintenance, or expansion, become more expensive because money is more likely to be borrowed than larger facilities with more resources. Hospitals with bigger reserves are more likely able to outlast higher interest rates.
Source: Marketplace
May 7, 2023 - Discusses the rollout of a new Alzheimer's treatment currently before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Notes that shortages of neurologists nationwide means if treatment is approved, long wait times to see a doctor and distance to care will be a barrier for many. In addition, testing and treatment may not be covered by insurance and may be labor intensive, leading some rural health systems to wait to offer the treatment at their clinics. May require a subscription to read full article.
Source: Wall Street Journal
May 5, 2023 - Highlights the work of a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) in Montana. Notes that 80% of U.S. hospitals do not have SANEs, leading to long travel times to see a SANE for sexual assault survivors. Rural residents in particular may be hundreds of miles from the nearest SANE. Highlights recent and proposed legislation in states around the country to increase access to sexual assault healthcare.
Source: NPR, KFF Health News
May 4, 2023 - Highlights a lung cancer screening program at a Veterans Assistance medical center in Houston, Texas. Since beginning in May 2021, the program has diagnosed 30 lung cancer instances, 90% which were symptom free and in early stages. Success of the program has led the system to expand into other rural sites in the VA system, ensuring rural veterans have access to the same screenings and care as veterans in Houston.
Source: VA News
May 4, 2023 - Describes a change in the telehealth use trends for February 2023 across the United States. Telehealth use increased between November 2022 and January 2023, but decreased in February 2023. There were also changes in the health conditions being evaluated using telehealth with COVID-19 dropping off the list. In spite of this downturn, audio-only telehealth increased in the Midwest and rural parts of the West, noting that audio-only telehealth is generally higher in rural areas when compared to urban ones.
Source: Xtelligent Healthcare Media
May 3, 2023 - Describes a project at the University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health to address accessibility needs of the disabled Kentuckians. The program uses service-learning with physical therapy students and high school students to refurbish medical equipment and toys for the uninsured, underinsured, and other underserved populations. Success from the program led to additional funding streams and the ability to expand the program to include training, education, demonstrations, and more.
Source: AARP Livable Communities
May 2, 2023 - Highlights programs by rural hospitals to address rural maternal health. Initiatives include prenatal curriculum to improve pregnancy and birth outcomes and telehealth for both neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) patients and women seeking prenatal care.
Source: American Hospital Association
May 2, 2023 - Describes a study examining financial burdens on rural women cancer survivors, particularly as it relates to insurance type. Patients with public insurance like Medicaid are more likely to feel the burden of basic household needs costs due to reduced ability to work. This is especially problematic for rural residents who are already more likely to have lower incomes and be enrolled in Medicaid.
Source: UAMS News
May 1, 2023 - Describes the oral healthcare shortages in Florida where 66 of the 67 counties do not have enough dentists to treat all patients. Workforce distribution problems stem from the challenge to recruit dentists to rural areas as well as low Medicaid reimbursement rates. Discusses proposed legislation to improve access to oral healthcare.
Source: KFF Health News, Tampa Bay Times
Apr 30, 2023 - Highlights the expansion of community paramedicine programs while focusing on a particular program in Wyoming. Notes that 55% of community paramedicine programs are located in rural areas. Programs increase access to healthcare by doing home visits, transportation to appointments, and more. Early data show that these programs can increase positive health outcomes and reduce costs for patients. Discusses funding challenges for programs, including coverage by Medicaid and private insurance.
Source: Louisiana Illuminator, KFF Health News
Apr 27, 2023 - Announcement of a needs assessment survey from the Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention to update the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. Survey is targeted at suicide prevention professionals in the U.S. Deadline for the survey is May 12th, 2023.
Source: Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention
Apr 26, 2023 - Summarizes a study comparing gun death rates between urban and rural communities. Death rates are higher in rural areas which is attributed to an increase in gun suicides. Prevention measures such as safe storage laws, lethal means counseling, and more are discussed.
Source: NBC News
Apr 26, 2023 - Describes the shortage of doctors in rural communities, noting that 99% of medical residency programs are in non-rural places and doctors are more likely to work where they trained. At West Virginia University, the rural medicine track recruits rural students and trains them in rural hospitals in an attempt to address shortages.
Source: PBS NewsHour
Apr 25, 2023 - Discusses the role of psychiatric nurse practitioners in filling gaps due to mental healthcare shortages. 80% of rural counties do not have a psychiatrist. Psychiatric nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat some illnesses. Yale University has started an online program for psychiatric nurse practitioners with the goal of training nurses in rural areas to reduce the shortages nationwide.
Source: NewsChannel 5
Apr 25, 2023 - Outlines the goals of the Joseph Maxwell Cleland and Robert Joseph Dole Memorial Veterans Benefits and Health Care Improve Act of 2022. The Cleland-Dole Act will address rural health, telehealth, rural transportation, and more.
Source: VA News
Apr 24, 2023 - Announces listening sessions with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Five 60-minute sessions in April, May, and June will cover "national resilience" related to the challenges faced by the elderly and people with disabilities. Pre-registration is required. Also calls for applications for FEMA's National Advisory Council.
Source: Administration for Community Living
Apr 20, 2023 - Announces proposed bipartisan legislation to expand and strengthen the USDA Rural Decentralized Water Systems Program through 2028, increase the loan amount to $20,000, and target funding to low-income households. The bill would also reinstate eligibility for some individuals and allow funding to cover performance warranties.
Source: Office of Senator Cory Booker
Apr 20, 2023 - Describes the higher percentage of diabetes diagnoses in rural places including factors contributing to the disparity such as insurance status, transportation, and food deserts. Highlights additional issues found in rural Texas such as immigration status and cultural norms.
Source: PBS NewsHour
Apr 20, 2023 - Announces a new initiative from the Indian Health Service to address asthma issues in in tribal communities including asthma-related morbidity and mortality. Asthma is chronic condition with higher prevalence in the American Indian and Alaskan Native communities than other racial and ethnic groups.
Source: Indian Health Service
Apr 20, 2023 - Summarizes a study from the Rural and Minority Health Research Center that investigates disparities in healthcare access by ZIP code. Finds that rural ZIP codes are further from healthcare facilities and services than their urban counterparts and rural ZIP codes with high proportions of minorities are even more likely to be far away from those services, with American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) populations have the least access.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Apr 19, 2023 - Describes factors surrounding the death of a Wisconsin dairy farmer by suicide and efforts by health professionals and religious leaders to provide help for farmers suffering from depression and anxiety. Discusses higher rates of suicide among farmers compared to the general population. Subscription may be needed to read the entire article.
Source: New York Times
Apr 19, 2023 - Announcement from the National Rural Health Association of the 2023 Rural Health Awards and the Journal of Rural Health article of the year. Recipients will be honored at the Annual Rural Health Conference in San Diego, CA held May 15-19, 2023.
Source: The National Rural Health Association
Apr 19, 2023 - The omnibus appropriations bill signed in December 2022 gave the CDC $5 million for the 2023 fiscal year to create the Office of Rural Health inside the agency. Congress directed the CDC to sharpen its focus on public health in rural areas with the new office, after COVID-19 had an outsize impact on rural America.
Source: KFF Health News
Apr 18, 2023 - The Administration for Children and Families, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and other federal agencies are working together to recruit partners to help people stay connected to healthcare coverage, by updating contact information and learning what actions are needed to retain healthcare coverage.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Apr 18, 2023 - According to a 2018 report by the Center for American Progress, about half of the American population lives somewhere with inadequate access to child care. The number goes up to 59% for residents in rural communities. A 2022 study from the Saint Louis Federal Reserve shows that 54% of Missourians live in a place where there are more than three times as many children as there are licensed child care spots.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Apr 17, 2023 - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the availability of $20 million to deliver broadband technical assistance resources for rural communities, and to support the development and expansion of broadband cooperatives.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Apr 12, 2023 - The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices is supporting rural communities through the Toward Better Rural Futures project, which seeks to address systemic and structural barriers and chronic disinvestment impeding rural and tribal communities' health, well-being and opportunity, thereby perpetuating deep-rooted inequities. A recent roundtable featured initiatives in Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Kentucky, and Wyoming.
Source: National Governors Association
Apr 11, 2023 - Highlights the closure of a residency training program in rural northeastern Nevada, and describes common barriers to establishing and sustaining training programs for doctors throughout rural America.
Source: Kaiser Health News
Apr 11, 2023 - A series of recommendations from an advisory committee to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the expansion of Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) could enable elderly residents in rural communities to age in place. Recommendations include expanding telehealth, supporting a program focused on Medicare beneficiaries, allowing PACE sites to be eligible for student loan repayment, and encouraging students trained through the Indian Health Service to rotate to PACE sites.
Source: HealthLeaders Media
Apr 10, 2023 - The Helmsley Charitable Trust is equipping first responders in communities across rural states in the Midwest and West with automated external defibrillators (AEDs), to enhance rural healthcare. The trust has provided over $60 million in funding for more than 25,000 AEDs to local law enforcement agencies in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Nevada.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Apr 10, 2023 - The Georgia state Department of Community Health is using an under-the-radar Medicaid funding mechanism called "directed payments," which is available only for states that hire health insurers to deliver services for Medicaid. The Government Accountability Office and the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) say federal health officials should do more to monitor directed payments and evaluate whether states meet the program's goals.
Source: Kaiser Health News
Apr 10, 2023 - The role of telehealth in trauma was highlighted in a session at the recent American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma annual meeting in Chicago. The session focused on teletrauma as an important tool to support providers and patients.
Source: American College of Surgeons
Apr 7, 2023 - A recent survey conducted by the National Association of Rural Health Clinics showed that the Rural Health Clinic program serves approximately 37.7 million patients per year, which is more than 11% of the entire population and approximately 62% of the 60.8 million Americans who live in rural areas.
Source: National Association of Rural Health Clinics
Apr 7, 2023 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released guidance on proper billing practices, designations, and conversion processes for Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and Rural Emergency Hospitals (REHs). CMS updated the location requirement for CAHs, detailed the optional payment method for CAHs, and included information on the REH provider type,
Source: HealthLeaders Media
Apr 6, 2023 - A study published in Health Affairs found that 77 percent of rural hospitals experiencing financial instability between 2010-2018 remained open without merging, 7 percent faced closures, and 17 percent merged. Demand for care in rural hospitals has decreased because of declining populations, patients seeking care outside their local area, and a shift toward ambulatory care.
Source: RevCycleIntelligence
Apr 6, 2023 - The Office of Budget and Management will release a new list of metropolitan and nonmetropolitan counties based on data from the 2020 Census, which is likely to place some formerly growing rural areas into the metropolitan county category. Researchers from Cornell and the University of New Hampshire call this phenomenon "the paradox of rural population decline."
Source: The Daily Yonder
Apr 5, 2023 - The Food and Drug Administration recently made it easier for people to obtain Narcan, a powerful overdose-reversing medicine. This medication previously required a prescription, but soon will be sold over the counter. Highlights efforts of harm reduction programs in rural New York State.
Source: PBS News Hour

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