Features

In-depth stories examining key rural health issues.

Bringing Mental Health Services to Rural Residents

graphic with the words mental health and related icons


A new library initiative in Texas and an established crisis line in Georgia are bringing mental health services directly to rural residents through teams of lay mental health workers and mental health professionals.

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May 4, 2022

The Codes of Care: How Words and Numbers Have Transformative Power for Rural Healthcare

graphic depicting aspects of healthcare related to ICD-10 medical codes


The greatest opportunity to tell the rural healthcare delivery story is an opportunity often missed — and that opportunity involves translating clinical documentation into medical codes. In addition to describing how the story and quality of clinical care gets translated from words into alphanumeric numbers, medical coding experts also pointed to aligned efforts to familiarize those in graduate medical education settings with the impact of their clinical documentation.

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April 13, 2022

A New Era of Health Literacy? Expanded Definitions, Digital Influences, and Rural Inequities

person using a phone to access information


The priority for rural population health is access, including access to health information needed to make personal health decisions. Two of the nation’s health literacy experts join a federal agency official to review current rural challenges of accessing health information that is clear and usable. Along with an exploration of digital health literacy, recently expanded definitions of health literacy are discussed.

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February 2, 2022

It Takes a Village: Rural Recruitment and Retention

physician greeting a family


Healthcare facilities in Kansas and North Dakota and national organizations discuss the challenges of recruiting and retaining healthcare professionals in rural areas and share solutions, including partnering with local schools and businesses as well as other healthcare facilities.

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November 3, 2021

Out of the Shadows: Reducing the Rural Impact of Epilepsy

Brain and encephalography in epilepsy patient during seizure attack


A common health condition, epilepsy impacts rural populations in many ways, including the ability to drive. Medical and public health experts join an advocacy organization to review the condition’s impact and outline rural management approaches — including seizure first aid.

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October 20, 2021

Doulas Provide Support for Maternal and Infant Health in Rural Communities

pregnant woman and doula


Three programs across rural America demonstrate how doulas improve birth outcomes by providing prenatal, labor, and postpartum support. A New Mexico program reaches American Indian, Hispanic, and other populations who lack nearby labor/delivery units; a Minnesota program works with moms experiencing incarceration; and a North Dakota program is training postpartum doulas who will care for families impacted by opioid use disorder and other substance use.

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October 6, 2021

Understanding the Rural Swing Bed: More than Just a Reimbursement Policy

patient getting blood pressure checked


“Swing bed” is that oft-heard phrase describing not a physical hospital bed, but post-acute care for the rural patient who is well enough to leave the acute care hospital but not well enough to be safe at home. In this 2-part story, experts and hospital administrators review the swing bed program’s historical implementation and provide stories and examples of the value this over 40-year-old healthcare delivery and reimbursement model brings to patients, to the hospitals providing their care, and ultimately to rural communities.

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August 11, 2021

Federal Agencies’ Investment in Rural Cancer Control Fosters Partnerships between Researchers and Rural Communities

hand holding a ribbon against a sunset


Researchers and rural communities are working together to address rural cancer prevention and control, with federal funding supporting a wide range of projects. From targeting health behaviors, to making cancer screening and vaccination more accessible, to increasing rural participation in clinical trials, efforts to reduce rural cancer burden are underway across the country.

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July 28, 2021

Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Benefiting Rural Individuals, Benefiting Rural Population Health

McKenzie Health System pulmonary rehabilitation staff.


On the list of leading causes of death, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, impacts millions of rural Americans and their quality of life. Though limited treatments are available for COPD, research indicates that pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) provides major benefits, yet is currently under-prescribed and facing challenges from COVID-19 and from reimbursement policies. Researchers discuss the potential that tele-PR might bring to rural areas, and rural healthcare leaders highlight the benefits of their PR programs for service areas.

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June 30, 2021