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The Rural Monitor

Out of the Shadows: Reducing the Rural Impact of Epilepsy

October 20, 2021
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.

Doulas Provide Support for Maternal and Infant Health in Rural Communities

October 6, 2021
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.

Creating New Rural Residency Programs: Three Grantees Share Their Stories

September 22, 2021
HRSA's Rural Residency Planning and Development (RRPD) Program supports organizations developing new rural residency programs. Three grantees – St. Luke's University Health Network in Pennsylvania, Baptist Memorial Hospital in Mississippi, and Sutter Health in California – share what the RRPD grant has allowed them to accomplish so far.

Keeping the Doors Open: Vulnerable Rural Hospitals Benefit from Federally Funded Technical Assistance

September 1, 2021
It's a crisis: rural hospital closures. Helping at-risk hospitals thrive in order to continue to serve their communities, Texas A&M's Center for Optimizing Rural Health (CORH) offers technical assistance through a federally funded program for vulnerable hospitals. The CORH team and an Oklahoma program participant share specifics on just how the program's assistance can help keep doors open.

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

August 11, 2021
"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.

History of the Swing Bed: A Look Through the Rural Rearview Mirror

August 11, 2021
The healthcare delivery model known as the swing bed program has allowed rural and Critical Access Hospitals to serve patients by keeping them in their rural communities for post-acute care. Reviewing the history of this program, experts describe early implementation and key program elements that have sustained its success for over 40 years.

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

July 28, 2021
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.

Remote Patient Monitoring Helps Rural Patients Recover at Home

July 14, 2021
Essentia Health created the Remote Patient Monitoring program to allow some patients to recover at home while still having access to medical attention. Program launch was accelerated to treat COVID-19 patients, but Essentia plans to continue the program after the pandemic to treat other chronic diseases.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Benefiting Rural Individuals, Benefiting Rural Population Health

June 30, 2021
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.

Still Stealing Rural America's Breath: An Update on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

June 16, 2021
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a condition that continues to steal rural America's breath. Researchers, philanthropists, and healthcare professionals talk about new rural research efforts and the impact of COVID-19 on COPD. Also discussed is the importance of pulmonary rehabilitation, an impactful treatment long known to improve quality of life and now backed by new research proving it decreases death rates in select patients.