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Rural Health
News by Topic: Healthcare workforce

Aug 7, 2020 - Discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated mental illness, with depression, anxiety, and overdoses on the rise. Highlights creative solutions mental health providers across North Carolina are implementing, such as giving patients free smartphones with data plans, coordinating socially-distant in-person visits, and hosting outdoor support groups.
Source: North Carolina Health News
Aug 5, 2020 - Pre-publication notice of proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services making changes to the following: 1) Physician Fee Schedule and Medicare Part B payment policies; 2) Medicare Shared Savings Program requirements; 3) Medicaid Promoting Interoperability Program requirements for Eligible Professionals; 4) updates to the Quality Payment Program; 5) Medicare coverage of opioid use disorder services furnished by opioid treatment programs; 6) Medicare enrollment of Opioid Treatment Programs; 7) payment for office/outpatient evaluation and management services; 8) requirement for Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances for a Covered Part D drug under a prescription drug plan or an MA-PD plan; and 9) Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP) expanded model Emergency Policy. Includes rural references throughout. Comments on the proposed rule are due by October 5, 2020.
Source: Federal Register
Aug 3, 2020 - President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order to increase access and improve the quality of rural healthcare, including increasing access to high-quality care through telehealth. Includes a collection of news stories from several different sources covering the Executive Order.
Aug 3, 2020 - Describes how pharmacists can be used to help patients manage medications and address chronic illness as the healthcare workforce shortage continues to grow in rural areas. Identifies states that have expanded pharmacists' scope of practice to prescribe or modify medications, allowing patients to receive medications in a timelier manner.
Source: National Conference of State Legislators
Jul 31, 2020 - Features several ambulance services in rural North Dakota and discusses the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on operations. Describes how rural volunteer emergency services across the state are having difficulty with staffing out of fear for contracting the virus, while a decrease in calls has created additional financial burdens. (May require a subscription to view full article).
Source: Grand Forks Herald
Jul 30, 2020 - Notice from the Department of Health and Human Services extending the March 23, 2020 Executive Order to prevent hoarding of health and medical resources necessary to respond to COVID-19 pandemic. Also includes modifications and additions to the original list of scarce or threatened materials. This action took effect July 23, 2020 and terminates January 19, 2021.
Source: Federal Register
Jul 30, 2020 - Provides an overview of a study that found rural nurse practitioners (NPs) practice with more autonomy than their urban counterparts, which could motivate NPs to choose to practice in rural areas. Practice autonomy was measured by the percentage of patients NPs treat as their primary care provider, independence from physician supervision, and authority to prescribe medications.
Source: University of Minnesota
Jul 30, 2020 - Summarizes research focused on the implications of telehealth in addressing rural health disparities. Explains how telehealth helps bridge communication gaps, allows for the continuation of care, and reduces physician and patient exposure to coronavirus, but identifies the lack of broadband access in rural areas as a barrier to implementation.
Source: American Academy of Family Physicians
Jul 28, 2020 - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is extending the deadline for comments on the residential care community (RCC) and adult day services center (ADSC) survey components of the National Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Study (NPALS). Comments are due within 30 days of this notice.
Source: Federal Register
Jul 28, 2020 - Rural areas are typically older than urban areas and rely on home health agencies to replace the decreasing number of primary care providers. Explores Congressional measures using rural add-on payments that encourage home health agencies to work in rural areas and describes a new system of payment that reimburses home health agencies in rural counties by population density and home health use.
Source: Public Health Post