Rural Health & Human Services Top Stories

Top news stories from the past 60 days.

Rethinking Rural Hospitals With Lessons From The Battlefield
Jan 22, 2015 - Suggests that a military model of healthcare provision would be a good fit for rural hospitals amidst a changing healthcare environment. The model's suggestion involves stabilizing and transporting patients with life-threatening conditions to a larger facility rather than treating them on site, while maintaining routine care services on site.
Source: Forbes
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In Rural Areas, Public Nursing Homes Close One By One
Jan 22, 2015 - Draws attention to financial challenges being faced by rural nursing homes due to increasing expenses and decreasing reimbursements, which has been creating more reliance on Medicaid reimbursements. This article focuses on the Northwest region of the country, but acknowledges that these trends can be seen across the nation.
Source: Northwest Public Radio
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SGR: Work Resumes on Elusive 'Doc Fix'
Jan 22, 2015 - Describes Congressional agreement on the need to replace the Sustainable Growth Rate formula (SGR) established in 1997 that is set to expire at the end of March, 2015. Congress with revisit this issue this week.
Source: HealthLeaders Media
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HHS: Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines Federal Register
Jan 22, 2015 - The Department of Health and Human Services has updated the poverty guidelines adjusting them on the basis of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). The poverty guidelines are used as an eligibility criterion by the Community Services Block Grant program and a number of other Federal programs.
Source: Federal Register
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UI Researchers Study Rural Access to Health Care Specialties
Jan 21, 2015 - University of Iowa researchers are conducting an ongoing series of studies aimed to accurately determine the level of access to specificity healthcare in rural areas. This article reports the unanticipated conclusion that these services may be more accessible than originally thought, depending on local implementation of new healthcare reform measures.
Source: The University of Iowa
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Virginia Doctor Tries Truck-Stop Medicine to Keep Family Practice Alive
Jan 19, 2015 - Describes an innovative way of providing healthcare to truck drivers who often find no other time to receive the care they need. This doctor provides care at a rural truck stop in Virginia and, using health information technology, can send along any test results for healthcare recommendations to the driver's next stop. It's a unique approach to healthcare provision that is treating a hard to access population while bringing financial security to his small, rural practice.
Source: The Washington Post
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Telehealth Progress Requires Beefed up Network Infrastructure
Jan 19, 2015 - Describes the progress made by the Department of Veterans Affairs in expanding healthcare access to rural and underserved areas via telemedicine but says that internet access in rural areas is holding its full impact back.
Source: Federal Times
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Surviving Small
Jan 18, 2015 - This article is part one of a multi-part series that outlines the challenges faced by Iowa's rural healthcare providers. Offers statistics that illustrate the economic impact of a rural healthcare facility and the history of Iowa's rural healthcare system, in addition to outlining the challenges and disparities that persist today.
Source: The Gazette
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MedPAC Finalizes 2016 Hospital Payment, Post-Acute Care Recommendations
Jan 15, 2015 - AHA News article reports that the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has released its final recommendation concerning payment rates for hospital inpatient and outpatient services for 2016. MedPAC has also recommended freezing Medicare payments to physicians in 2016 in place of the sustainable growth rate formula, among other recommendations.
Source: American Hospital Association
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Country Doc of the Year a 'Dinosaur,' Motivated by Community
Jan 15, 2015 - Tells the story of a primary care physician who, despite the long hours, prefers his rural, independent practice in Virginia, to that of one in an urban setting. It describes his sense of duty to his patients and community and the satisfaction he receives by being there for them.
Source: HealthLeaders Media
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In Remote Washington, Veterans Services Are Ferry Ride Away
Jan 15, 2015 - Discusses the challenges to accessing VA healthcare services in rural San Juan County, Washington, where barriers have caused some veterans to stop trying to gain access to VA benefits.
Source: National Public Radio
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Telepsychiatry: The New Frontier in Mental Health
Jan 15, 2015 - Describes the growing field of telepsychiatry to treat mental health conditions in underserved areas. Discusses the evolution of the field and the impact it is having in rural areas, extending mental health services to those with limited access to mental healthcare.
Source: U.S. News
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Alaska Health Plan Premiums, Highest In Nation, Are Triple Those In Phoenix
Jan 15, 2015 - Reports on health insurance premium rates around the country finding some of the most expensive premiums in rural locations around the country, with rural Alaska having the most expensive health insurance premium in the nation.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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HHS: Solicitation of Nominations for Appointment to the Advisory Committee on Minority Health Federal Register
Jan 15, 2015 - The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking candidates to serve as members of the Advisory Committee on Minority Health. The aim of the committee is to advise the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health on how to improve the health status and outcomes for minority populations. Deadline to nominate a candidate is April 15, 2015.
Source: Federal Register
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FNS: Child and Adult Care Food Program: Meal Pattern Revisions Related to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 Federal Register
Jan 15, 2015 - The Food and Nutrition Service has proposed a rule that would change the meal pattern requirements for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to better reflect the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Comments are being accepted until April 15, 2015.
Source: Federal Register
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HRSA: Determining Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas of Greatest Need Federal Register
Jan 14, 2015 - The Health Resources and Services Administration has released a notice updating the scoring criteria for determining mental health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) of greatest need. This updates the previous criteria published in 2003.
Source: Federal Register
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Rural Hospitals Innovate to Meet New Health Care Challenges
Jan 13, 2015 - Highlights the advantageous position small and rural hospitals are in when meeting new healthcare demands due to their ability to embrace innovation. Describes the shifting role of hospitals from reactionary healthcare treatment for individuals to preventative population health of an entire community. Also describes how small and rural hospitals can quickly pivot to best position themselves amidst changing service delivery models like Accountable Care Organizations. Hospitals & Health Networks also produced a complementary video capturing interviews that further explain the theme of this report.
Source: Hospitals & Health Networks
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Medicare Pays Doctors to Coordinate Seniors' Chronic Care
Jan 10, 2015 - Starting this month Medicare will pay primary care doctors to facilitate care coordination for the most vulnerable seniors, even if they do not have a face-to-face exam. The goal is to keep patients healthier in between hospital visits, an ongoing challenge to physicians in rural areas.
Source: Associated Press via Yahoo News
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Two Rural Pee Dee Hospitals May Close in May
Jan 10, 2015 - Describes the conditions surrounding the possible closures of two rural hospitals in South Carolina located within 15 miles of each other. The Marlboro Park Hospital and the Chesterfield General Hospital need to find a new operator by May in order to keep the doors open and to keep nearly 300 employees on payroll.
Source: The Post and Courier
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Rural ACO Consortium Continues to Grow
Jan 9, 2015 - Describes the growth of the National Rural Accountable Care Consortium from one Accountable Care Organization (ACO) in 2014 to six for 2015. The article provides comments from the organizations leadership on the impact of these rural ACOs.
Source: HealthData Management
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South Dakota Mobile Simulation Program Brings Training to Rural Providers
Jan 9, 2015 - Describes the South Dakota Department of Health's mobile training program, Simulation in Motion - South Dakota (SIM-SD). The aim of the program is to train rural healthcare providers, especially emergency response personnel, in their own communities.
Source: Journal of Emergency Medical Services
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Telehealth Bill Signed Bringing Distance Care to Many
Jan 9, 2015 - A bill has been signed into New York State law that requires health insurance companies to cover the costs of telehealth services. This article discusses the impact and importance of the new law, especially for rural and underserved areas.
Source: Watertown Daily Times
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Failing Rural Hospitals Turn to Taxpayers
Jan 8, 2015 - In the face of difficult financial times for rural healthcare facilities, many struggling hospitals are going to their county leaders for help. This article tells stories of hospitals in Georgia that have successfully solicited support from their county leadership and describes the impact of the support. (Third of a three part series)
Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Strong Match, Advances in Workforce Reform Top Education Gains Last Year
Jan 8, 2015 - A year end review of workforce progress written by the American Academy of Family Physicians highlights growth in the National Resident Matching Program, notably within the family medicine residency positions. The article explains the importance of this physician pipeline to rural communities that are currently facing a workforce shortage.
Source: The American Academy of Family Physicians
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Program by UB and Community Partners Could Help Reshape National Rural Health Care Landscape
Jan 8, 2015 - Discusses a model program, The Cross Jurisdictional Sharing Program, in two Western New York Counties that has been able to save healthcare systems substantial money in the first two years through the sharing of health services. Highlights the savings of the program and leaders share optimism about developing a national model of the program.
Source: Niagara Frontier Publications
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Aging Tsunami: As Crisis Grows, a Search for Help
Jan 7, 2015 - Describes the challenge of finding healthcare professionals to serve rural communities in Montana in the face of rising demand due to the aging baby boomer population. The article offers perspectives from healthcare workers in rural communities who share their interpersonal struggles of deciding to begin work, as well as retire from work, within a rural setting. (Part two of a two part story)
Source: NBC News
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Bill Would Remove 96-Hour Certification Requirement for CAHs
Jan 7, 2015 - A bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would remove the 96-hour Medicare physician certification requirement as a condition of payment for critical access hospitals. This brief explains the bill with more detail.
Source: American Hospital Association
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The Biggest Win for the VA Telehealth Program
Jan 6, 2015 - Highlights the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) telehealth platform and describes how it is leading the field in efficiency. Provides statistics describing the VA's telehealth performance, including numbers demonstrating that the majority of telehealth services were used by rural veterans. It also discusses how this tool is used to not only address physical ailments but also mental health needs of veterans.
Source: Healthcare Dive
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Variations in County Level Costs Between Traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage Have Implications for Premium Support
Jan 5, 2015 - A recent Commonwealth Fund-supported publication in Health Affairs analyzes geographic variations in cost of traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, finding higher costs per rural MA beneficiary and lower costs per rural traditional Medicare beneficiary. This article details the findings and discusses what the implications mean for a possible redesign of Medicare as a premium support program, an option suggested by some policymakers.
Source: The Commonwealth Fund
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Affordable Care Act Recruiters Step up Efforts to Reach Indian Country
Jan 5, 2015 - Describes efforts to increase Native American and Alaskan Native enrollment in the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace, including creating culturally appropriate brochures, using bi-lingual outreach workers, and having mobile technologies available in the field to process sign-ups instantly.
Source: Native American Times
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Rural Doctor Launches Startup To Ease Pain Of Dying Patients
Jan 3, 2015 - Highlights a palliative care doctor who quit his job at a hospital to create a start-up company allowing him time to make home visits to rural patients in Northern California where they would normally not have access to hospice care.
Source: National Public Radio in collaboration with Kaiser Health News and KQED
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Recovery Audit Program Improvements
Dec 30, 2014 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced changes to its Recovery Audit Contractor program. This announcement lists the concerns heard by CMS and what changes they are making to address them.
Source: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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At What Point Will the Straw Break the Camel’s Back?
Dec 29, 2014 - Discusses many factors affecting the viability of rural healthcare facilities, including new standards set by the Affordable Care Act and workforce shortages.
Source: Civitas Media via The News Democrat Leader
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Rural Health Care Sees Radical Changes
Dec 27, 2014 - Describes the challenges to providing healthcare to rural communities, including the cost of workforce, technological improvements, and regulations as well as their disproportional effect on small and rural hospitals.
Source: Civitas Media via The Middlesboro Daily News
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UM to Host Nation's 1st Rural Health Care Hackathon
Dec 25, 2014 - The University of Montana is hosting the first rural medicine hackathon in March in an effort to find innovative solutions to the challenges faced by healthcare providers in rural and frontier communities.
Source: Missoulian
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Colorado Center Helps Native American War Veterans Heal 'Wounded Hearts'
Dec 24, 2014 - Discusses veterans within the Native American and Alaskan Native population, their experience with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD), and unique cultural ceremonies to help address PSTD. It also describes how these ceremonies offer a service that may not be available in rural communities due to geographic distance to the closest Department of Veteran's Affairs clinic.
Source: Colorado Public Radio
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Technology Can Improve Rural Healthcare, but Funding a Problem
Dec 24, 2014 - Provides an overview outlining the challenges small and rural hospitals face and the implications for the health status of rural residents. It also discusses new technologies working to address these challenges, such as telemedicine, but with high costs, implementation of the solution has its own challenges.
Source: Mesquite Local News
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Peer Support Key to Helping Returning Vets Overcome Mental Health Problems
Dec 23, 2014 - Describes challenges of veterans who have been in combat reintegrating into civilian life and the gap in understanding that exist on the part of psychologists. Highlights the need and importance of a peer group approach to addressing the issue.
Source: Kansas Health Institute
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VA Poised to Ramp up Telehealth in 2015
Dec 23, 2014 - Highlights recent legislation and announcements made by the Department of Veterans Affairs that indicate the department's intention to expand telehealth use in 2015. The article also provides data illustrating the importance of this technology to rural veterans.
Source: mHealth News
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IHS: Indian Health Professions Preparatory, Indian Health Professions Pre-Graduate and Indian Health Professions Scholarship Programs Announcement Type: Initial Federal Register
Dec 22, 2014 - The Indian Health Service is announcing three full-time and part-time scholarship programs aimed to encourage American Indians and Alaska Natives to enter the healthcare field and to assure the availability of healthcare professionals to serve American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Source: Federal Register
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Aging Tsunami: In Montana, Aging in Place Takes a Village
Dec 20, 2014 - Highlights the aging demographics of rural communities in Montana which are having a substantial impact on healthcare treatment and costs. Describes the importance of people aging in their own home, rather than a nursing home, and what resources this alternative approach will demand if the local communities when sufficient state or county resources do not exist. (Part one of a two part story)
Source: NBC News
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Rural Hospitals In Georgia Not Asking State For Help
Dec 20, 2014 - Reports uptake rates of a high-profile option to downsize hospital operations to stand-alone emergency rooms that was put forth by Governor Deal in Georgia to address rural hospital closures. So far, not one hospital has taken advantage of the plan.
Source: Associated Press via WCTV
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Obama Signs Federal Spending Package With Health IT Implications
Dec 17, 2014 - Highlights the Health IT implications of the recently signed continuing resolution omnibus spending bill that will fund most of the government for the next year. It draws attention to implications for military health IT and rural health IT in addition to direction for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.
Source: iHealthBeat
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Opportunities to Transform Rural Health Care
Dec 17, 2014 - Recaps a recent MEDtalk event focused on transforming rural healthcare delivery, highlighting possible solutions to problems of access to care that exist in rural communities. These include transforming the primary care-specialist relationship, leveraging high- and low-tech innovations, and aligning payment models to support changing models of care, like telemedicine.
Source: The Brookings Institute
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PCORI Advisory Panel Application Open
Dec 17, 2014 - The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has announced openings on its advisory panels for terms beginning in 2015. Vacancies on the following panels are sought to be filled: 1) Assessment of Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options, 2) Improving Healthcare Systems, 3) Addressing Disparities, 4) Patient Engagement, and 5) Rare Disease. The deadline to submit online applications is February 6, 2015 at 5:00 pm ET.
Source: The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
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For Cash-Strapped Rural Hospitals, Survival is Uncertain
Dec 17, 2014 - Tells the story of a financially struggling hospital in rural Missouri and how it has dealt with changes in hospital payment structure since it began operations in 1953.
Source: Mid-Missouri Public Radio
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HRSA: Statement of Organization, Functions and Delegations of Authority Federal Register
Dec 17, 2014 - Announces changes to HRSA’s Office of Rural Health Policy, including a new name, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP). The notice also establishes the Policy Research Division, the Administrative Operations Division, and moves the roles of the Border Health Division to the Office of the Associate Administrator.
Source: Federal Register
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HHS Awards More than $665 Million to Design and Test State-Led Efforts to Improve Health Care Quality, Accessibility and Affordability
Dec 16, 2014 - The Department of Health and Human Services has announced $665 million to states to design and test healthcare payment and service delivery models aimed at improved quality of care and lower associated costs. Funds will support both states that are designing state-wide health innovation plans and states that are testing and implementing state-wide health transformation plans.
Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
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Secretary’s Column: Deadline Approaching for Health Insurance Coverage that Begins January 1
Dec 15, 2014 - Monday the 15th of December is the last day to sign up for health insurance coverage that will take effect on January 1st through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Open enrollment will continue through February 15, but coverage will not take effect until March 1st unless a person enrolls by the December 15th deadline. This blog post from the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture discusses the deadline and the impact of the ACA on rural communities.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
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Community Hospitals Becoming Endangered Species
Dec 15, 2014 - This article discusses the fundamental changes taking place in healthcare that are reshaping small and rural hospitals. It cites high fixed costs, low patient volumes, and dwindling reimbursements as challenges to hospitals being able to operate like they have in the past.
Source: The Daily News
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Factors Contribute to Higher Fire Risk in Rural Communities
Dec 12, 2014 - Outlines a disparity in death and injuries from fires in the home between rural and urban residents; 36% higher risk for rural residents. Explains the reasons for this and includes a few simple recommendations to reduce fire risk.
Source: Iowa Farmer Today
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The Geography of Happiness
Dec 11, 2014 - This Daily Yonder write up on the findings of the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, 2014 edition, discusses the relationship between geographic location and mental health. The study finds there is a sweet spot in geography to maximize happiness, which is living in a rural county that is located adjacent to a metropolitan county. This article details the conclusions of the report.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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Spending Bill Addresses Military EHRs, Rural Health IT
Dec 10, 2014 - This item in the Politico Morning eHealth reports on how a continuing resolution bill aimed to fund most of the government will have implications for both military and rural health IT efforts. The package would give $14.9 million to the Health Resources and Services Administration aimed to help small, rural hospitals adopt health IT.
Source: Politico
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Rural Docs Pull Ahead in Electronic Records
Dec 10, 2014 - Reports on a recent study that shows a higher percentage of rural medical practitioners have adopted electronic medical records (EMRs) when compared to their urban counterparts. The article compares this finding with previous studies that found rural medical practices lagging behind urban medical practices in rates of EMR uptake. The study will soon be released in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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HHS Awards $36.3 Million in Affordable Care Act Funding to Reward and Expand Quality Improvement in Health Centers
Dec 9, 2014 - The Department of Health and Human Services has announced $36.9 million in Affordable Care Act funding to 1,113 health centers across the country in recognition of quality improvement achievements. Funds will be use to continue to provide access to high quality primary care to underserved patients.
Source: The Department of Health and Human Services
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CMS: Medicare Program; Medicare Shared Savings Program: Accountable Care Organizations Federal Register
Dec 8, 2014 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is accepting comments on a proposed rule that addresses changes to the Medicare Shared Savings Program, including provisions relating to the payment of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) participating in the Shared Savings Program. Changes include stronger incentives for small and rural hospitals to participate in the Shared Savings Program, updating benchmarking methodology aimed to better account for regional factors, as well as some adjustments to billing claim processes for Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Centers, among other things. This proposed rule also calls for comments on the use of telecommunication technologies, such as telehealth, as a means to coordinate care among ACO members.
Source: Federal Register
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Mobile Health Faces a Bumpy Road in Rural California
Dec 8, 2014 - Through sharing the experience of a rural doctor in California's Southern Sierra, this article discusses some challenges to using mobile health as a solution to rural health disparities in California. The article argues that financial affordability and spotty cellular networks will put a damper on implementation of mobile health aimed to educate, monitor and communicate with patients.
Source: Los Angeles Times
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New Federal Health IT Strategic Plan Sets Stage for Better Sharing Through Interoperability
Dec 8, 2014 - The Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has released the new Federal Health IT Strategic Plan that lays out cross-agency goals for the years 2015 to 2020. The goal of the Strategic Plan is to provide interoperable health information that can be used in the development of policies and programs to improve healthcare. Comments are being accepted on the plan through February 6, 2015.
Source: HHS, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
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Program Seeks to Bring More Doctors to Rural Iowa
Dec 7, 2014 - An Iowa state-run loan forgiveness program has been established this year to better address healthcare workforce disparities in rural communities in Iowa. The Rural Iowa Primary Care Loan Repayment Program has awarded funding to its first group of students this year, providing each student with up to $200,000 in loan aid as long as they agree to work for five years in a rural community in Iowa.
Source: The Des Moines Register
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Video Visits Blocked Despite Doctor Shortage
Dec 7, 2014 - Discusses the use of telemedicine in the field of rural healthcare and the policy growing pains it is experiencing. Although there is much optimism about how the technology can increase access and quality of care in rural areas, concerns include the potential lack of physician follow-up with patients and the ability to prescribe pharmaceuticals to patients whom the physician has never met.
Source: USA Today
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Transforming Rural Health Care: High-Quality, Sustainable Access To Specialty Care
Dec 5, 2014 - Health Affairs blog post based on a case study that discusses transforming healthcare delivery and finance reform. This entry discusses transforming specialty care in rural communities through use of technology, such as virtual learning, electronic consultation, and telemedicine.
Source: Health Affairs Blog
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2015 Advanced Nursing Education (ANE) Funding Opportunity Announcement
Dec 5, 2014 - The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW) has released the 2015 Advanced Nursing Education (ANE) Funding Opportunity Announcement.
Source: Health Resources and Services Administration
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President Signs Jenkins, Moran Rural Health Legislation Into Law
Dec 4, 2014 - President Barack Obama has signed into law the bipartisan H.R. 4067, which will delay Medicare's enforcement of direct supervision rules for outpatient therapy services at Critical Access Hospitals and other small, rural hospitals. The press release includes remarks from the author of the bill and some examples of direct supervision rules for outpatient services.
Source: Office of Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins
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Movie Review: 'Remote Area Medical' Tackles Rural Health Care Crisis
Dec 4, 2014 - Describes a film that has documented the work of Remote Area Medical, a mobile health clinic service provider that works to extend healthcare access to rural areas in Tennessee. The story includes a three and a half minute video that provides a sneak peek into the full movie.
Source: The Memphis Commercial Appeal
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In Rural Alabama, Fighting HIV With A Game
Dec 3, 2014 - HIV is a real concern for residents of rural Alabama where young African American men are 10 times more likely than the state average to contract the virus, but the stigma associated with the virus is still one of the greatest barriers to solving the problem. This article describes a new approach to addressing the concern: a video game. A team of experts from the fields of infectious diseases, adolescent psychology and coding have gathered to create an educational internet-based, role-playing game to educate adolescents in Alabama about the disease and to help address the stigma.
Source: National Public Radio
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New Report Pinpoints Drivers of Rapid Growth in the 340B Program
Dec 3, 2014 - A new white paper released by Berkeley Research Group and funded by the Alliance for Integrity and Reform of 340B forecasts continued, rapid growth for the 340B discounted drug program for years to come. The study concludes the reason for this can be found in the increase of participation of Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH) in the 340B program.
Source: Alliance for Integrity and Reform of 340B (AIR 340B)
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CHIME Time: Taking a Long View in Solving the Staffing Conundrum
Dec 3, 2014 - Commentary piece that outlines staffing problems that many small and rural hospitals face, with a focus on IT staff. The author recommends a long-term and patient solution, rather than simply quickly filling the gap in staff, which might include cross-training, growing-your-own from within, and creating workplace efficiencies. (May require registration for access to full article)
Source: Modern Healthcare
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'Mega Boards' Could be Rural Healthcare Disruptor
Dec 3, 2014 - Discusses a new paper published by the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) Health Panel which proposes strategies for affordable, accessible healthcare in rural communities that focuses on the health of the community as opposed to the financial aspects of providing care.
Source: HealthLeaders Media
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ObamaCare Outreach Campaigns Microtargeting Uninsured
Dec 3, 2014 - Outreach campaigns aimed at growing health insurance enrollment numbers during the second open enrollment period are focusing on specific populations who are lacking coverage, including rural areas.
Source: The Hill
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CMS: Medicaid Program; Disproportionate Share Hospital Payments-Uninsured Definition Federal Register
Dec 3, 2014 - This final rule addresses the hospital-specific limitation on Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments. This rule provides that the quoted test will be applied on a service-specific basis; the hospital-specific DSH limit will include the cost services furnished to uninsured individuals.
Source: Federal Register
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Leapfrog's Latest Rankings See Top Hospital List Grow by Four
Dec 2, 2014 - Leapfrog Group has released its 2014 top hospital lists including 25 facilities that are located in a rural area - the highest number of rural hospitals on the list since the category was introduced in 2009. (Full article may require registration)
Source: Modern Healthcare
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Medicaid Expansion and Rural Hospital Closures
Dec 1, 2014 - Drawing off of rural hospital closure data kept by the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina, this infographic displays the effect of Medicaid expansion on rural hospitals. As the infographic shows, states that have not expanded Medicaid have had more hospital closures in rural areas than those that have expanded Medicaid.
Source: Families USA
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CMS Releases New Proposal to Improve Accountable Care Organizations
Dec 1, 2014 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposal aimed to improve the Shared Savings Program for Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) by putting more emphasis on primary care services. This news release explains the changes and their aims in detail.
Source: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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VA: Exempting Mental Health Peer Support Services From Copayments Federal Register
Nov 28, 2014 - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is releasing a proposed rule to amend its regulation that outlines the VA services that are not subject to copayment requirements for inpatient hospital care or outpatient medical care and is seeking comment on this proposed rule. The rule is exempting copayment costs for mental health peer support services.
Source: Federal Register
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VA: Exempting Mental Health Peer Support Services From Copayments Federal Register
Nov 28, 2014 - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is releasing a direct final rule to amend its regulation that outlines the VA services that are not subject to copayment requirements for inpatient hospital care or outpatient medical care. The rule is exempting copayment costs for mental health peer support services.
Source: Federal Register
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Rural South Carolina School Districts Remain Very Poor After 2 Decades
Nov 28, 2014 - This story reports on rural school districts in South Carolina that were impoverished 20 years ago and today are still living in poverty. The article tells the unique story of 40 school districts that have sued the state government who have continued to fall behind their counterpart counties.
Source: The McClatchy Company
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Native Americans Left Behind in the Economic Recovery
Nov 27, 2014 - The rate of unemployment and poverty remain higher for Native Americans and Alaskan Natives. This article explains how this population is more slowly recovering from the recession, offering statistics on rates of poverty and education.
Source: U.S. News
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