News by Topic: Access
RUS: Rural eConnectivity Program Federal Register
Oct 25, 2021 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will begin to accept applications for the Rural eConnectivity (ReConnect) Program on November 24, 2021. The ReConnect Program provides loans and grants to facilitate broadband deployment in rural areas. Applications that will assist rural communities to recover economically from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, ensure rural residents have equitable access to Rural Development programs and benefits from Rural Development funded projects, and reduce climate pollution and increase resilience to the impacts of climate change through economic support to rural communities are encouraged. This notice also informs potential applicants and other interested parties about its intention to seek information that will help inform future funding announcements. Applications are due by February 22, 2022.
Source: Federal Register
USDA to Make Up to $1.15 Billion Available to Help People Living in Rural Communities Access High-Speed Internet
Oct 22, 2021 - Announces funding of up to $1.15 billion through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's ReConnect Program to expand broadband availability in rural areas through loans and grants. Addresses ReConnect Program eligibility and additional investments in rural distance learning and telemedicine projects.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
FDA: Medical Devices; Ear, Nose, and Throat Devices; Establishing Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Federal Register
Oct 20, 2021 - Notice of proposed rule from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposing to establish a regulatory category for over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids to improve access to hearing aid technology for people 18 years old or older. This notice is also proposing related amendments to update the regulatory framework for hearing aids. Includes considerations for hearing aid access in rural and underserved communities. Comments on the proposed rule are due by January 18, 2022. Comments on the information collection are due by November 19, 2021.
Source: Federal Register
Oct 20, 2021 - Discusses research on telehealth utilization for chronic disease management, finding that telehealth flexibilities did not lead to overutilization but that only 34% of rural Medicare beneficiaries used telehealth in 2020, compared to 47% of urban Medicare beneficiaries. Describes implications of these findings on rural healthcare access.
Source: Patient Engagement HIT
Oct 19, 2021 - Describes research that examined the implementation of the Vermont model, a successful opioid use disorder treatment method, in remote areas of Montana. Highlights concerns related to transportation, healthcare access, and provider capacity to operate an opioid use disorder treatment program.
Source: Penn State News
Oct 19, 2021 - Describes a study of family physicians in rural maternity care that found that in 185 rural hospitals in 10 states, 67% had family physicians deliver babies and in 27% of the hospitals they were the only physicians who delivered babies. Discusses issues of access to maternal care if family physicians leave or are not employed at rural hospitals, highlighting the need for specialized training programs to support the rural workforce.
Source: Medical Xpress
Oct 18, 2021 - Describes challenges facing rural communities related to oral health, including dental care access and lack of fluoridation in public drinking water systems, and the oral health disparities that impact rural areas in Appalachia and the Delta region. Highlights the perspectives of rural dentists and researchers as well as efforts at the local level to address oral health issues.
Oct 13, 2021 - Opinion piece describing the challenges facing rural health and outlining limitations of accountable care organizations (ACOs) to support the delivery of healthcare and improve health of rural populations. Offers alternative policy approaches, including community-based health improvement funding and all-payer global healthcare delivery. (May require free registration to view the full article.)
Source: Health Affairs Blog
ARHQ: Supplemental Evidence and Data Request on Telehealth for Women Federal Register
Oct 12, 2021 - The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is seeking published and unpublished scientific information submissions to inform its review of Telehealth for Women. The full review protocol is available for review on the AHRQ website. Submissions are due by November 12, 2021.
Source: Federal Register
Oct 11, 2021 - Reports on the lack of access to food, particularly healthy, fresh produce, in rural Western Kansas. Focuses on the economic impacts of grocery stores in rural communities and the challenges facing those communities as residents drive long distances to shop at larger stores. Highlights the loss of food access as rural grocery stores lose business, which affects rural elders and people living with disabilities who may not be able to easily travel for groceries.
Source: JC Post