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Rural Health & Human Services Top Stories

Top news stories from the past 60 days.

USDA Requests Applications for Rural Child Poverty Nutrition Center
Sep 22, 2014 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that up to $2.5 million is available to establish the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Child Poverty Nutrition Center. This competitive grant is part of USDA's efforts to reduce childhood food insecurity in rural communities in America.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
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When A Hospital Closes
Sep 18, 2014 - This article discusses the after math of closing the Vidant Pungo Hospital in Belhaven, North Carolina. This story gained national attention when Mayor Adam O’Neal walked 273-miles to Washington, D.C. in protest of the closure. The article digs into both the social and economic impact of the closure on the rural North Carolina town.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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Census Bureau: Rural America Sees Drop in Poverty
Sep 17, 2014 - The number rural Americans living in poverty fell sharply in 2013 to 7.6 million, the U.S. Census Bureau said its annual Income and Poverty report released this week.
Source: The Des Moines Register
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Indian Country Grapples With Health Funding Shortfalls, Non-Payment
Sep 17, 2014 - Slowly but surely, tribal governments, especially those in Alaska, are receiving millions of dollars in decades of unpaid contract costs from the Indian Health Service and Bureau of Indian Affairs. This article discusses this underpayment claim and the need for financial support for Indian Health Service administration.
Source: Mint Press News
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2015 National Health Service Corps Students to Service Loan Repayment Program Application Cycle is Now Open
Sep 16, 2014 - Students to Service award recipients receive up to $120,000 tax free for three years of full-time service or six years of part-time service. Upon completion of residency, S2S recipients serve as primary care providers in an NHSC-approved site in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) of greatest need. The 2015 Students to Service application cycle closes on November 13, 2014, at 7:30 pm, ET.
Source: National Health Service Corps
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Coalition of Providers Protest Final MU Rule
Sep 16, 2014 - Seventeen provider associations are asking the federal government to immediately reverse its decision for a full year of reporting for Stage 2 of the electronic health records meaningful use program in 2015. In a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell, the organizations are asking for a 90-day reporting period which, they argue, would give time for providers to continue their transition without having to drop out of the program. This article describes the stance of the coalition and the concerns it expresses if the Stage 2 Meaningful Use deadline stays in place for October 1.
Source: HealthData Management
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American Sentinel University Announces Education Partnership with National Rural Health Association
Sep 15, 2014 - American Sentinel University, an accredited career-focused online university, has been named an approved education affiliate for the National Rural Health Association (NRHA). The education partnership supports the mission of both organizations for the improved access, quality and equity in rural healthcare for rural Americans.
Source: PRWeb
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CMS Marketplace Outreach and Enrollment in Rural Communities- Join on Wed., Sept. 17 at 2pm ET
Sep 15, 2014 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services welcome you to join us for a webinar on Wednesday, September 17th on best practices for Marketplace outreach and enrollment within rural communities. Join to learn tangible outreach tactics you can use to reach individuals and families living in rural communities.
Source: CMS Office of Communications, Partner Relations Group
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Coverage Gap Leaves Rural Tennessee Hospitals on Life Support
Sep 13, 2014 - This article describes the nuances to rural hospital vitality and health reform's effect on it through the case of Tennessee and its consideration of expanding Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act. It describes the current condition of small and rural hospitals in Tennessee and offers both opinions for and against Medicaid expansion.
Source: The Daily News
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Providers Like CMS' Plans to Expand Telehealth Payments—And Want More
Sep 12, 2014 - Many of the more than 100 commenters on the CMS' proposed payment rules for telehealth services approved of the expanded geographical qualifications and coverage for wellness and behavioral health visits, but some also called for further expansions into new areas, such as home health monitoring and wearable devices. The proposed rule added wellness and behavioral health visits to the list of Medicare-reimbursable telehealth items. The proposed rule also revised its definition of telehealth-eligible rural healthcare providers to include those nearer to big cities. (Full article may require free registration)
Source: Modern Healthcare
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HHS Awards More than $295 Million in Affordable Care Act Funds to Increase Access to Primary Care at Health Centers
Sep 12, 2014 - Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced today $295 million in Affordable Care Act funding to 1,195 health centers in every U.S. State, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin to expand primary care services. Today’s awards enable health centers to increase access to comprehensive primary health care services by hiring an estimated 4,750 new staff including new health care providers, staying open for longer hours, and expanding the care they provide to include new services such as oral health, behavioral health, pharmacy, and vision services.
Source: Department of Health and Human Services
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Healthcare Shortage Could Have Far-Reaching Effects in Rural Nebraska
Sep 12, 2014 - This article discusses a report by the Institute of Medicine released in July predicting an eventual national physician shortage. It articulates the impact of such a shortage on rural communities in Nebraska.
Source: Daily Nebraskan
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OIG: CMS Has Yet To Enforce a Statutory Provision Related to Rural Health Clinics
Sep 11, 2014 - The Office of Inspector General has released a report concerning Rural Health Clinic (RHC) certification, concluding that although 12 percent of RHCs no longer met the location requirements in 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has yet to issue final regulations that would allow RHCs that do not meet the location requirements to qualify as essential-provider RHCs.
Source: Office of Inspector General
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New Careers in Nursing Program Helps Minnesota College Expand and Diversify While Improving Care in Rural Communities
Sep 10, 2014 - This article provides an update on unique program launched in 2008 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF); New Careers in Nursing program (NCIN). It uniquely focuses on attracting a diverse group of “second-career” students to nursing, which grows the nursing profession and brings diversity to the college campus. NCIN makes grants to schools of nursing so they can provide $10,000 scholarships to aspiring nurses who have already earned degrees in other disciplines, as they enter accelerated baccalaureate and masters nursing programs. The article specifically discusses its impact on the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota.
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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State CAH Hospital Compare Reports Posted
Sep 10, 2014 - All 45 state-level reports examining Critical Access Hospitals’ performance and reporting rates on Hospital Compare measures, originally distributed to Flex Coordinators and State Offices of Rural Health in June 2014, are now available for download on www.flexmonitoring.org. These reports utilize Hospital Compare data from April 2012 through March 2013.
Source: Flex Monitoring Team
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Bringing Hope to Native Communities: Resources for Suicide Prevention
Sep 9, 2014 - This article discusses suicide prevention and its prevalence among the American Indian and Alaska Native population. Furthermore, it offers information for suicide prevention resources helping address this challenge.
Source: Administration for Children and Families
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House Passes Bill to Undo Rural Hospital Supervision Requirement
Sep 9, 2014 - The House on Tuesday passed legislation to delay enforcement of supervision requirements for outpatient therapeutic services in certain hospitals. Passed by voice vote, the bill would prevent the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from requiring Critical Access Hospitals and small rural hospitals from needing a physician to supervise therapeutic services like drawing blood.
Source: The Hill
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1,916 Square Miles and No Psychiatrist
Sep 9, 2014 - This article describes the lack of mental health services in the rural community of Essex County, New York. It goes on to describe how this condition is not unique to Essex County, rather, many rural areas across the United States are lacking access to quality mental health resources.
Source: North Country Public Radio
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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Announces Grants to Aid Boys and Young Men of Color in Rural South and Southwest
Sep 9, 2014 - The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), in partnership with Public Interest Projects, announced a package of new grants to promote opportunity and health for young men of color in rural communities in the South and Southwest. The grants of $415,000 each are directed to improve the health and success of rural middle school and high school boys and young men of color.
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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Rural Enrollment Presents Continuing Health Law Challenges
Sep 8, 2014 - The article describes the unique challenges, and the emerging disparity, that rural communities face to enrolling in healthcare insurance, especially with the recent increase enrollment through the Affordable Care Act. Enrollment of these rural residents is a top concern and they are expected to be a key target as states and nonprofit groups strategize how to enroll more people in a health insurance plan this fall.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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Telemedicine Fills Pharmacy Services Gap Following Rural Store Closures
Sep 5, 2014 - Digital health care company TelePharm has received $2.5 million in funding from Iowa investors to bring remote pharmacy services to patients across the state’s rural communities. The article explains how TelePharm plans to improve patient care, lower costs, and increase healthcare accessibility for underserved rural areas as more pharmacies close.
Source: Pharmacy Times
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Open Funding Opportunity: Rural Health Care Services Outreach Grant Program
Sep 5, 2014 - The Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) has announced the release of the FY 2012 Rural Health Care Services Outreach Grant Program that supports projects that demonstrate effective models of outreach and service delivery through collaboration, adoption of an evidence-based or promising practice model, demonstration of health outcomes, replicability and sustainability.
Source: Office of Rural Health Policy
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Rural Hospitals Pressured to Close as Healthcare System Changes
Sep 3, 2014 - By focusing on the experience of Linden, Texas, whose hospital closed this spring due to declining volume and reduced reimbursement payments, this article illustrates the severity of rural hospital closures in recent years. Furthermore, it provides analysis on how the Affordable Care Act may be exacerbating the pressure felt by small and rural healthcare facilities.
Source: Thomson Reuters
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Special September 2014 Tribal Consultation to Discuss Possible Nutrition Assistance Program Administration Changes
Sep 2, 2014 - The IMPAQ team has been asked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to work with tribal nations and their leadership to determine the feasibility and interest of tribal nation administration of federal nutrition assistance programs. The IMPAQ team is seeking your input and opinions. Specific dates concerning invitation to participate are included in this article.
Source: The IMPAQ team
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As Newly Insured Seek Care, Rural Doctor Shortage Worsens
Sep 1, 2014 - The Seattle Times article tells how the Affordable Care Act is increasing healthcare coverage for more people which is straining an already strained rural healthcare system in Washington. It describes how rural communities have long suffered a physician shortage and with more people utilizing healthcare services after gaining health insurance coverage, the physician shortage is even more apparent and significant. This article discusses why the shortage exists in rural areas, how people are reacting to it, and how this challenge may be contributing to a renewed focus on rural healthcare.
Source: The Seattle Times
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U of Oregon Grads Plot the Future of Rural Health Care
Aug 30, 2014 - This USA Today article discusses how two college graduates are working to address healthcare challenges faced by rural communities. Orchid Health, their innovative response to the challenges, offers memberships to patients for a monthly free. For non-members the company accepts patients with Medicare and Medicaid and offers cash walk-in prices.
Source: USA Today
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New CMS Rule Allows Flexibility in Certified EHR Technology for 2014
Aug 29, 2014 - The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a final rule that allows healthcare providers more flexibility in how they use certified electronic health record (EHR) technology (CEHRT) to meet meaningful use for an EHR Incentive Program reporting period for 2014.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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Farmacy Garden Offers Education, Nutrition to Needy Families
Aug 28, 2014 - This story covers a initiative led by the Virginia Department of Health’s New River Health District and Montgomery County’s Virginia Cooperative Extension office, Farmacy Garden. It promotes proper nutrition in addition to providing healthcare services for underserved, often impoverished, populations. Families who qualify for supplemental nutrition assistance through the Women Infants and Children, or WIC, program administered by the health department can receive a bag of produce in exchange for performing some light chores in the garden. Those with Farmacy Garden prescriptions from healthcare providers can also qualify.
Source: The Roanoke Times
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Why Are There So Few Doctors in Rural America?
Aug 28, 2014 - This article discusses both the healthcare needs of rural communities in Alaska as well as the lack of doctors serving them. It offers insight into geographic, weather related, and culture challenges to recruiting and retaining physicians in rural communities.
Source: The Atlantic
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RHITND Tool Release Educational Webinar
Aug 28, 2014 - This 90 minute RHITND webinar, recorded on 8/19/2014, includes information regarding two new tools for the grantees to use; Care Coordination Comparative Matrix and ICD-10 Toolkit. The webinar features Terry Hill presenting the new Care Coordination Comparative Matrix tool and Dale Emerson from Hielix presenting the new ICD-10 Toolkit.
Source: National Rural Health Resource Center.
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Critical Access Hospitals at a Crossroads
Aug 27, 2014 - This article gives an overview of the financial challenges currently being faced by Critical Access Hospitals, and other small, rural hospitals, across the country. It discusses recent policy and reimbursement changes and their effect on hospitals' bottom lines with some options to curb financial uncertainty going forward.
Source: MuniNet Guide
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Summit to Focus on Benefits of Physician Assistants in Rural Areas
Aug 27, 2014 - A national conference in Omaha next month will explore the role physician assistants play in the changing world of health care, especially in rural areas. This article discusses the context of the challenges faced by rural healthcare providers and how physician assistants can be the key to addressing these challenges.
Source: Nebraska Radio Network
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New ACA Outreach and Education Projects Listed on RAC
Aug 25, 2014 - RAC’s Rural Health Models and Innovations Hub now includes descriptions of ten projects that helped rural residents learn about their health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act. The projects were done by Office of Rural Health Policy Rural Health Care Outreach grantees, who received supplemental funding from ORHP for this work.
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WNC Hunger Problem Grows
Aug 25, 2014 - This articles outlines a growing problem in rural, Western North Carolina, food insecurity. A new study, Hunger in America 2014, mapping hunger across the country shows that more people in Western North Carolina are seeking help from food banks to feed their families today than at the height of the Great Recession four years ago, and some of the trade-offs they're making to afford food are troubling.
Source: Citizen-Times
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Hartley Retires
Aug 25, 2014 - David Hartley, PhD, the Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center (MRHRC) and a Research Professor of Public Health has announced that he will be retiring from the University of Southern Maine August 31st, 2014.
Source: University of Southern Maine
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Freestanding ERs Target Suburbs, Rural Panel Told
Aug 25, 2014 - Freestanding emergency departments have been proposed in Georgia as a potential solution for struggling rural hospitals, or newly closed ones, that want to remain operational in downsized form to help patients in need. But the trend toward such standalone emergency rooms nationally is totally different from that picture, members of the Georgia Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee were told Monday. The article discusses the freestanding ER policy and its effectiveness so far in Georgia.
Source: Georgia Health News
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VA Moves to Streamline Identification of Rural Land Areas
Aug 22, 2014 - The Veterans Health Administration has improved its method it uses to define urban, rural and highly rural areas by replacing the current method with the Rural-Urban Communing Areas (RUCA) system that was developed and is being used by the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration. This system has become more accepted because of its sound social science basis and its adaptability for special programs.
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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Elbert County's Difficult Question: How to Save Its Local Hospital?
Aug 22, 2014 - Elbert Memorial Hospital is in financial distress and is asking its county commissioners for more support. Without the support, officials warn that the 52-bed hospital will close, leaving a significant impact on the quality of healthcare and economic vitality of the rural community.
Source: Associated Press
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Primary Care Physicians Can Be Critical Resource for Abused Women in Rural Areas
Aug 21, 2014 - The article discusses how rural healthcare providers are uniquely positioned to help women who are exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV). It is a discussion started by research done at Penn State College of Medicine which argues not only are rural healthcare providers uniquely positioned to help women, but they are often one of few places for women experiencing IPV to turn.
Source: Penn State News
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Family Doctor Shortage Expected to Grow Worse
Aug 21, 2014 - Highlights the growing shortage of primary care physicians in Washington, especially in rural and low-income areas. A push to fund programs that train residents in rural locations may be part of the solution.
Source: KIRO TV (WA)
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The Impact of Practice Size on Readmission Rates
Aug 20, 2014 - A study led by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College surveyed small- and medium-sized primary care practices to compare the number of preventable hospital admissions of the groups' patients. Contrary to popular notions, the study authors found that the smaller practices had markedly fewer preventable hospital admissions. Groups with up to two physicians had 33% fewer ambulatory care-sensitive admissions than practices with 10 to 19 doctors. Those with three to nine physicians had 27% fewer than the larger groups.
Source: Healthcare Dive
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In Rural States 'Pastoral Counselors' Help Fill Mental Health Gap
Aug 20, 2014 - In an effort to overcome the shortage of mental health service providers, especially in rural areas, Kentucky recently became the sixth state to allow pastoral counselors to become licensed mental health counselors. While reimbursement from insurance providers was a major factor in the state's decision to license pastoral counselors, it is unknown what that reimbursement might look like.
Source: Stateline
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Nurse Practitioners Fill the Gap
Aug 20, 2014 - This article discusses a lack of healthcare specialists in rural communities and a possible solution, nurse practitioners. It argues that by expanding the scope of service of nurse practitioners, by adjusting current regulations on the profession, we can better address the lack of specialists in rural communities. Currently 31 states impose restrictions on nurse practitioners, such as requiring these nurses to have a doctor's oversight.
Source: AARP
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Transatlantic Ultrasound Marks New Territory for Telehealth
Aug 20, 2014 - Discusses new telehealth technology that enables a physician, from across the Atlantic Ocean, to perform an ultrasound examination using a robotic arm to examine the patient. This has significant implications for rural and remote communities throughout the country.
Source: EHR Intelligence
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Rural Health Facilities Provide Quality Care
Aug 19, 2014 - This article argues that you don't always have to go to a big city hospital to get quality care. It describes the reasons why a doctor made the choice to work in a small and rural hospital setting over a large, urban setting. Outlines some benefits to working and receiving care in a smaller hospital.
Source: Kansas First News
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How Did a Rural NH Hospital Achieve Stage 2 Meaningful Use?
Aug 19, 2014 - This one-on-two interview with two leaders of a rural, Critical Access Hospital offers insight into how the hospital was able to achieve Stage 2 Meaningful Use, despite being one of very few eligible hospitals of any size to do so. The Director of IT Rick Frederick and Clinical Informatics Specialist Tamra Deming discuss how close collaboration between IT and clinical staff was key to the success of the process.
Source: EHR Intelligence
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Livingston County Takes Mental Health Services 'To The People'
Aug 18, 2014 - Residents of Livingston County, Illinois are receiving more access to mental health professionals through an initiative by Livingston County Mental Board in partnership with OSF St. James John W. Albright Medical Center. The board provides money for a therapist to travel to doctor's offices in Chatsworth, Fairbury, Flanagan, Dwight and Cullom for weekly visits with clients. It not only provides needed healthcare services but also allows discretion in seeing a mental health professional which helps avoid stigma in a small community.
Source: The Pantagraph
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USDA Tribal Collaboration Strengthens Food Security on Nevada’s Indian Reservations
Aug 18, 2014 - Discusses Beyond the Hub, which is a United States Department of Agriculture collaborative effort with local partners based in Nevada to address nutrition and health issues on nine American Indian reservations. The education pilot, based on the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension in 2012, aligns with USDA’s StrikeForce Initiative in the state, which focuses on capacity building for Native American tribes.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
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NC Task Force Offers Prescription for Improving Rural Health Care
Aug 18, 2014 - The Task Force on Rural Health, led by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine and the state government’s Office of Rural Health and Community Care and funded by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, released a report on Monday concerning improvement of rural health. The report makes a number of recommendations to improve rural healthcare with a focus on education and economic activity.
Source: News Observer
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Extending the Reach of Care Through Telehealth
Aug 17, 2014 - This article discusses the merits of telehealth for serving small and rural communities and how the technology has developed over the years in both Canada and the United States, as told by experts from Manitoba and Minnesota.
Source: Healthcare Informatics
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Is Stage 1 More Challenging than Stage 2 Meaningful Use?
Aug 15, 2014 - Discusses the experiences of Odessa Memorial Healthcare Center with meeting meaningful use requirements. The Critical Access Hospital, which just completed attestation for Stage 2, found that the initial transition from paper to electronic health records was the hardest step in the process.
Source: EHR Intelligence
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VA Expands New Care Program, but Providers May Balk at the Low Rates It Pays
Aug 14, 2014 - The Department of Veterans Affairs is expanding a program to allow Veterans to receive care from non-VA providers. Article reports that provider participation is a concern. The program's payment rates may not exceed Medicare rates, although there is an exception for highly rural areas. (Full access may require free registration)
Source: Modern Healthcare
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NAACP to File Restraining Order to Save Rural NC Hospital
Aug 14, 2014 - The North Carolina NAACP and the town of Belhaven plan to deliver a motion for a temporary restraining order against Vidant Health, the NAACP announced Thursday morning. The restraining order is being requested in response to what the NAACP calls "continued neglect of the Pungo District Hospital facility." This is the latest chapter in the story of protest against rural hospital closure in Belhaven, NC; prior to this the Mayor marched 273 miles to Washington D.C. to draw attention to the closure.
Source: WNCN
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Rural Areas See Higher HIX Premiums, Fewer Options
Aug 13, 2014 - According to a study from the University of Pennsylvania and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, people in rural areas mostly have fewer coverage options. The article discusses some of the findings of this study.
Source: HealthLeaders Media
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Medical Students Focus on Direct Primary Care, Rural Health, Among Other Topics
Aug 13, 2014 - Medical students met at the 2014 National Congress for Student Members, The American Academy of Family Physicians, to discuss and pass resolutions aimed at addressing healthcare disparities in underserved, rural areas. One highlighted theme is education of primary care physicians and the importance of student loan forgiveness programs, which contribute to recruitment and retention of these physicians in rural areas.
Source: The American Academy of Family Physicians
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First Ever “Project ECHO” for Multiple Sclerosis Launched
Aug 13, 2014 - The University of Washington MS Center and the National MS Society are proud to launch the first ever “Project ECHO” for multiple sclerosis, a rural outreach program funded by a grant from the Medtronic Foundation Patient Link Program.
Source: Deborah Hertz, National Multiple Sclerosis Society
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Rural Clinicians Hear Need for Better Care for War Veterans
Aug 12, 2014 - The article discusses how psychiatrists practicing in rural areas will need a complex understanding of military-related issues to treat a growing number of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans returning to those areas.
Source: Psychiatric News
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CMS Adds Pelvic Exam to List of Approved Stand-Alone Preventive Services
Aug 11, 2014 - Rural Health Clinics may bill Medicare for screening pelvic exams as a stand-alone visit when the patient received no other preventive services from the clinic on the same day, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced last week.
Source: American Hospital Association
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Executive Roundtable: Community Hospital Affiliation Strategies
Aug 11, 2014 - Executives from community hospitals, larger tertiary facilities and Community Hospital Corp. discuss what regional strategies look like in their markets and how facilities of all sizes can benefit from working together in a strategic regional relationship. It discusses affiliation benefits to small and rural hospitals when partnering with large tertiary hospitals.
Source: Becker's Hospital Review
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VA Announces New Grants to Help End Veterans Homelessness
Aug 11, 2014 - Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald today announced the award of approximately $300 million in grants that will help approximately 115,000 homeless and at-risk Veterans and their families. The grants will be distributed to 301 community agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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Minnesota Responds to Rural Doctor Shortage with Teams, Training, Telemedicine
Aug 11, 2014 - This article discusses the changing of the rural healthcare landscape, highlighting the aging and lessening of primary care doctors. It covers new telemedicine technology, legislative to support it, innovative team-based approaches to healthcare, and efforts to train more doctors to curb expected lack of professionals and to increase healthcare access and quality in rural communities in Minnesota.
Source: MinnPost
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The HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Announces Creation of Office of Tribal Affairs and Policy (OTAP)
Aug 10, 2014 - The Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is creating an Office of Tribal Affairs and Policy (OTAP) to bring together in one office several of the tribal functions within SAMHSA. OTAP will serve as SAMHSA’s primary point of contact for tribal governments, tribal organizations, federal departments and agencies, and other governments and agencies on behavioral health issues facing American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) in the U.S.
Source: National Indian Health Board
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Intermountain Enhances Emergency Ground Transport Options
Aug 10, 2014 - The article explains a new approach to providing emergency medical care to rural and frontier areas in Utah, Intermountain's new Life Flight Ground Transport program. As the first of its kind in the nation, the program aims to place specialty-trained nurses aboard ambulances when Life Flight helicopters can't perform a transport.
Source: KSL Broadcasting
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Can Walmart Help to Solve the U.S. Healthcare-Access Crisis?
Aug 8, 2014 - This article discusses the possibility of Walmart opening primary care clinics in their retail locations. This is slightly different than the CVS and Walgreen urgent care model that currently exists since Walmart clinics are billing themselves as primary medical providers. This would be significant for rural residents since Walmart also maintains a strong rural network of stores, which could help address healthcare disparities.
Source: Fortune
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Obama Signs VA Reform Bill Into Law
Aug 7, 2014 - President Obama on Thursday signed a $16.3 billion bill to overhaul the troubled Veterans Affairs Department. The bill, approved by Congress last week, would allow veterans to seek private care outside VA facilities, and would also provide money for the VA to hire more doctors and nurses. This is especially important to rural areas where veterans have had to drive long distances to their nearest VA facility.
Source: The Hill
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Congress Tries to Tie Telehealth Expansion to Medicare Reimbursements
Aug 7, 2014 - A new Congressional effort seeks to expand telemedicine by allowing Medicare reimbursement for more treatments – and more people. The Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2014 was introduced in July by U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA.) and Gregg Harper (R-MS). If passed into law, the expansion of telehealth services would come in three phases over four years, beginning in counties with populations of less than 50,000 and extending in time to larger counties.
Source: mHealth News
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Report Highlights Economic Importance of Rural Community Health
Aug 5, 2014 - This article announces a publication by the Joint Economic Committee that highlights the economic importance of keeping rural communities healthy. 'Keeping Rural Communities Healthy' provides an overview of characteristics of rural populations, rural health statistics, barriers to healthcare in rural areas, economic implications of rural healthcare, and relevant policy actions to keep rural America healthy.
Source: Agri-Pulse Communications
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Rural Residents Pay More for Exchange Plans than City Dwellers: Report
Aug 5, 2014 - This article discusses the findings from a data brief that examines 2014 premiums, issuers, and plans offered to residents of urban and rural counties. Disparities in both price and number of coverage choices were found between states with a small rural population and those with a significant rural population. (Full access may require free registration)
Source: Modern Healthcare
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CMS Issues Final Payment Updates for FY 2015
Aug 4, 2014 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services late this afternoon released final payment updates for a few different programs.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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QUERI Initiatives to Improve Access to Care
Aug 4, 2014 - The VA's Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) Program is devoted to improving Veteran care by supporting the implementation of effective treatments or programs into clinical practice. Access to healthcare for rural veterans is a concern to the QUERI program, demonstrated by a study to improve diabetes care through use of telehealth.
Source: Department of Veterans Affairs
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Family Physicians Successfully Team With Nonphysician Health Professionals
Aug 1, 2014 - The American Academy of Family Physicians article discusses the findings from a recent research article published in the Journal of Rural Health. This research found that rural family physicians were more willing to work, and are currently working more, with mid-level healthcare professionals, which allows family physicians in small rural communities the ability to be away from the office while ensuring that patients still have access to primary care.
Source: The American Academy of Family Physicians
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Sen. Murray Unveils Bill to Boost Rural Doctors
Aug 1, 2014 - Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on Friday unveiled a new bill to bring more doctors to rural areas and help underserved populations. The Community-Based Medical Education Act of 2014 would continue funding the Teaching Health Center (THC) program, which is set to expire next year, until 2019.
Source: The Hill
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HHS Awards $54.6 Million in Affordable Care Act Mental Health Services Funding
Jul 31, 2014 - Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced today $54.6 million in Affordable Care Act funding to support 221 health centers in 47 states and Puerto Rico to establish or expand behavioral health services for over 450,000 people nationwide. Health centers will use these new funds for efforts such as hiring new mental health professionals, adding mental health and substance use disorder health services, and employing integrated models of primary care.
Source: Department of Health and Human Services
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Deadline for ICD-10 Allows Health Care Industry Ample Time to Prepare for Change
Jul 31, 2014 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a rule finalizing Oct. 1, 2015 as the new compliance date for health care providers, health plans, and health care clearinghouses to transition to ICD-10, the tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases. This deadline allows providers, insurance companies and others in the health care industry time to ramp up their operations to ensure their systems and business processes are ready to go on Oct. 1, 2015.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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40% of Rural Patients Stay at City Hospitals
Jul 31, 2014 - Offering further coverage of the National Hospital Discharge Survey that was published this month, the Daily Yonder highlights the finding that many rural patients “bypass” rural hospitals and get admitted at urban facilities. The study also found major differences in the number of procedures that patients received.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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Jenkins’ Bill on Health Care in Rural Communities Passes out of Committee
Jul 30, 2014 - Legislation introduced by Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (KS-02), H.R. 4067, was reported favorably out of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce by a 31-11 vote. H.R. 4067 bill will correct this problem by extending the direct supervision requirement moratorium through the end of 2014 and give rural hospitals the certainty they need to continue to provide efficient services to their communities.
Source: Hays Post
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SNAP Benefits and Rural Households
Jul 30, 2014 - A new report by the Center for Rural Affairs Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly known as food stamps) by where people live. The report also examined SNAP usage in households with older and younger residents. This article explains some of the key findings of that report and its important to rural communities.
Source: Center for Rural Affairs
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Keeping It Real: Preceptorship Exposes Students to Importance of Rural Family Medicine
Jul 30, 2014 - A blog post by American Academy of Family Physicians' president, Reid Blackwelder, M.D., discusses the importance of recruiting medical students to rural primary care to help offset workforce shortages. It highlights a program, Appalachian Preceptorship, which is designed to expose medical students to rural primary care practiced in a manner sensitive to the culture within an Appalachian community.
Source: The American Academy of Family Physicians
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Compromise Reached on Vets' Healthcare
Jul 29, 2014 - Congressional leaders appear to have reached a compromise on a bill to improve healthcare for military veterans, many of whom have been struggling with long waits at Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare facilities. This article offers some analysis on implications of the bill on veterans living in rural communities.
Source: MedPage Today
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‘Medicaid Expansion Still Very Important’ on Reservation
Jul 29, 2014 - This article discusses the healthcare challenges faced by the American Indian community, the financial importance of Medicaid to Indian Health Service funded facilities, and an argument for its continued importance to the quality of healthcare offered to the American Indian community. It also discusses some avenues being explored to expand Medicaid coverage in Wyoming.
Source: WyoFile
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Deficiencies in America's Rural Roads Causing Fatalities, Finds Report
Jul 28, 2014 - This article discusses findings from a recent transportation study which contribute to healthcare in rural areas. It finds that inadequate or lack of road safety features, longer emergency vehicle response times and the higher speeds traveled on rural roads compared to urban roads were all found to be major factors in the higher traffic fatality rate found on rural, non-Interstate routes.
Source: Global Construction
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Mayor of Rural NC Town Where Hospital Closed Finishes Protest Walk to Washington
Jul 28, 2014 - A mayor from North Carolina has just ended a 273-mile march to Washington, D.C. to draw attention to not only his rural hospital closing, but a larger rural healthcare struggle. This collection of articles offers a variety of perspectives on the act of protest and what is hoped to be achieved.
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Funding for this project was supported by Grant Number U56RH05539 from the Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents of this website are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the funder.