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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.

Aug 5, 2021 - Examines COVID-19 infection rates and mortality for the period of June 6 to July 31, comparing rural and urban areas. Notes that in the week of July 25-31, rural infection rates increased more than 50%, compared to a 60% increase the week before. Offers a county-level data map of all states except for Nebraska depicting case rates, infection trend, and mortality.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Aug 4, 2021 - Notice of proposed rule revising the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Medicare Ambulatory Surgical Center (ACS) payment system for calendar year 2022, updates and refines the requirements for the Hospital Outpatient Quality Reporting (OQR) Program and the ASC Quality Reporting (ASCQR) Program, update Hospital Price Transparency requirements, and update and refine the design of the Radiation Oncology Model. This proposed rule also includes a request for information on the health and safety standards, quality measures and reporting requirements, and payment policies for Rural Emergency Hospitals (REHs). Comments are due by September 17, 2021.
Source: Federal Register
Aug 4, 2021 - Reports on new rules from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) related to the operation of mobile methadone vans by opioid treatment providers (OTP) in order to decrease barriers to creating new mobile methadone vans, yet also limit how they operate, with restrictions related to medication storage, security, and the type of care that OTPs can provide. Describes barriers to OTP operation due to state and federal policy, misconceptions about methadone treatment, and the ways that OTP programs can increase access to treatment in underserved and rural areas.
Source: Health Affairs Blog
Aug 4, 2021 - Reports on the Farmers' Dinner Theater project hosted by local teenagers and the University of Kentucky colleges of Nursing and Agriculture and Food and Environment, which offered education for farm families on mental health, stress, and recognizing when they or someone else needs help. Describes the development of the project and the perspectives and experiences of local residents who attended the event with agriculture-related stress.
Source: WTVQ-DT
Aug 3, 2021 - Reports on vaccination rates in the week of July 23-29 compared to vaccination rates in the week of July 16-22. Offers a table of vaccinations in rural counties, noting increases in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana. Provides an interactive county-level map and data visualizations of new rural vaccinations, nationwide nonmetro and metro vaccination rates, and overall rural vaccination rates by state.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Aug 3, 2021 - The Southwest Rural Health Research Center at Texas A&M University with funding support from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy is conducting a survey as part of Rural Healthy People 2030 – a project designed to understand the most important health priorities for rural Americans. This once in a decade survey allows individuals who care about rural health to voice their opinions on important topics for the health of rural individuals in the United States.
Source: Southwest Rural Health Research Center
Aug 2, 2021 - Describes concerns in West Texas that rural obstetric unit closures could create a maternal health desert. Discusses the closure of a unit at the Big Bend Regional Medical Center and workforce recruitment and retention issues affecting rural obstetric care. Notes that 10 rural hospitals in Texas stopped delivering babies within the last 5 years, with 65 of 157 rural hospitals offering the service.
Source: Kaiser Health News
Aug 2, 2021 - Describes the behavioral health initiative Teachers and Parents as Partners (TAPP), which was developed by Nebraska researchers to foster collaboration between parents and teachers. Discusses increases in social-behavioral and mental health needs among rural students and efforts to apply the TAPP model to rural communities.
Source: Nebraska Today
Jul 30, 2021 - Describes workforce issues affecting rural EMS services in Oklahoma and rural America in general. Discusses factors that make staffing difficult, including pay, funding, training, and population decline.
Source: The Oklahoman
Jul 30, 2021 - Reports on a study of Alzheimer's mortality rate disparities in rural areas of the Southeastern United States. Discusses limited resources available to rural people with dementia and the potential for telemedicine and early diagnosis initiatives to combat Alzheimer's.
Source: U.S. News & World Report

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