Top news stories from the past 14 days. Please visit the News Archive for earlier stories.
'Country Doctor of the Year' Embraces Challenges of Rural Medicine
Dec 5, 2013 -- The 2013 Country Doctor of the Year is Robert Bosl, MD, a decorated combat medic during the Vietnam War, who has for the past 33 years served about 2,500 patients around the town of Starbuck, MN.
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Energy Efficiency Loan Program to Lower Costs for Consumers, Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Dec 5, 2013 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that USDA will take new steps to save consumers money on their energy bills in partnership with rural electric cooperatives. USDA plans to provide rural electric cooperatives up to $250 million to lend to business and residential customers for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems.
Permanent ‘Doc Fix’ Unlikely This Year
Dec 5, 2013 -- Politico article reports that lawmakers have all but given up on efforts to permanently replace the Medicare physician payment formula this year and have refocused their effort on getting it done in 2014.
HealthCare.gov Progress and Performance Report
Dec 4, 2013 -- Over the last five weeks, substantial progress has been made improving HealthCare.gov and getting the system to where it needs to be. This article provides charts that provide data on the systems enhancements that have been executed, and the resulting improvements in the site’s key operating metrics over the last several weeks.
Medicare Takes another Step Toward Telehealth
Dec 4, 2013 -- Government HealthIT article reports that CMS is expanding the geographic areas where Medicare will cover telehealth from strictly-defined rural areas, in counties that are not part of a metropolitan statistical area, to rural areas defined by the Office of Rural Health Policy.
Rural Hospitals Rule on Leapfrog List
Dec 4, 2013 -- HealthcareIT News article reports that for the second consecutive year, rural hospitals stood out, with 22 hospitals making the Leapfrog Group’s 2013 Top Hospitals list – a 69 percent increase from last year.
NRHA Announces New and Future Leaders
Dec 3, 2013 -- NRHA Rural Health Voices Blog article reports that leadership for the National Rural Health Association is secure for 2014 and beyond, thanks to recent elections for its Board of Trustees positions and selection of candidates for its Rural Health Fellows program.
Online Rural Arts Project Expands Work
Dec 3, 2013 -- Daily Yonder article reports that today, the “Art of the Rural” project relaunches its online work with a more powerful website and bigger ambitions. Founder Matthew Fluharty answers a few questions about the new site and the purpose of the Art of the Rural, which he describes as a “collaborative organization” whose goal is to “help build the field of the rural arts.”
Over a Six-Year Period, Ecstasy-Related Emergency Department Visits Rose 128 Percent for Those Younger Than 21
Dec 3, 2013 -- Hospital emergency department visits related to the dangerous hallucinogenic drug Ecstasy, sometimes known as “Molly,” increased 128 percent between 2005 and 2011 (from 4,460 visits in 2005 to 10,176 visits in 2011) for visits among patients younger than 21 years old, according to a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
HealthCare.gov 'Night and Day' from October, Feds Say
Dec 2, 2013 -- NBC News Health article reports that two months after its launch, HealthCare.gov is much better, working more than 90 percent of the time and up to the promised capacity of 50,000 users at any given time, government officials said Sunday.
Nebraska FPs Betting on Success With Their Own ACO
Dec 2, 2013 -- AAFP News Now article reports that nine small, mostly rural, independent family medicine practices in Nebraska have banded together to form an advance payment accountable care organization (ACO) in the Medicare Shared Savings Program.
CMS Finalizes Physician Payment Rates for 2014
Nov 29, 2013 -- In a rule issued today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) sets payment rates for physicians and non-physician practitioners paid under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for 2014 and addresses the policies included in the proposed rule issued in July.
Kentucky Report Highlights Value of Critical Access Hospitals
Nov 29, 2013 -- AHA News Now article tells of new report from the Kentucky Hospital Association that highlights the value of critical access hospitals to the state in the areas of quality, patient satisfaction, economic impact, cost of care and access to comprehensive health care services.
Appling Hospital Named Hospital of the Year by HomeTown Health
Nov 27, 2013 -- Baxley News-Banner, (GA) article reports that HomeTown Health, LLC has recognized Appling Hospital in Baxley, Georgia as the “Hospital of the Year” at its 2013 Annual Conference. They were chosen from among 70 Georgia and Florida rural hospital members.
National Leaders Speak at National Rural Health Day Press Conference in D.C.
Nov 27, 2013 -- NOSORH News article reports that national leaders spoke about what their organizations are doing to promote rural health, at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., one of the many events held on National Rural Health Day on November 21st.
NRHA Launches Second Photo Contest
Nov 27, 2013 -- Based on the success of the first Rural Lens photo contest, NRHA's Communications Committee has partnered with the Rural Assistance Center for this year's competition. Photos will be accepted Dec. 3 through Jan. 6 in three categories: community outreach, people and landscape.
Rural Health Network Receives National Recognition
Nov 27, 2013 -- Oswego County Today, (NY) article reports that as part of the celebration of National Rural Health Day the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health recognized two partners of the Rural Health Network of Oswego County for their accomplishment and several of its members for their outstanding work.
SC Free Clinic Model Now Replicated Nationwide
Nov 27, 2013 -- WTOP News, (SC) article reports that what began two decades ago on Hilton Head Island as a free clinic using retired physicians and volunteers to care for the working poor has become a model for dozens of similar clinics nationwide.
Affordable Care Act Helps National Health Service Corps Increase Access to Primary Care
Nov 26, 2013 -- The National Health Service Corps made more than 4,500 loan repayment and scholarship awards to clinicians and students in fiscal year 2013 thanks to an investment of more than $284 million from the Affordable Care Act.
Bleak Scorecard for Rural America
Nov 26, 2013 -- Electric Co-op Today article reports that a new scorecard from the federal government shows rural America remains mired in a protracted economic slide, with few prospects for playing catch-up.
New Data Shows Affordable Care Act Helped Seniors Save $8.9 Billion on Prescription Drugs Nationwide
Nov 26, 2013 -- Seniors and people with disabilities with Medicare prescription drug plan coverage saved $8.9 billion to date on their prescription drugs thanks to the Affordable Care Act, according to new data released today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Susan L. Starling Receives AHA’s Shirley Ann Munroe Leadership Award
Nov 26, 2013 -- AHA News article reports that they have awarded its 2013 Shirley Ann Munroe Leadership Award to Susan Starling, president and CEO of Marcum & Wallace Memorial Hospital in Irvine, KY. The award recognizes small or rural hospital leaders who have improved health care delivery in their communities through innovative and progressive efforts.
HUD Makes $1.7 Billion in Grants Available for Homeless Programs
Nov 25, 2013 -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced that they will award $1.7 billion to support homeless assistance programs through the Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless Assistance Program.
Learn more about: Continuum of Care Program
Medicare Finalizes Home Health Payments for 2014
Nov 25, 2013 -- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued the final calendar year (CY) 2014 home health care payment rule. The final policies in this rule better align Medicare payments with home health agencies’ costs providing care, while lowering costs to taxpayers and the 3.5 million Medicare beneficiaries who receive home health services nationwide.
NRHA Announces 2014 Rural Health Fellows
Nov 25, 2013 -- The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) reports that after the completion of a competitive review process, 15 Rural Health Fellows were selected to participate in this yearlong, intensive program aimed at developing leaders who can articulate a clear and compelling vision for rural America.
Telemedicine May Reduce Doctor Errors for Kids in Rural EDs
Nov 25, 2013 -- Medscape article reports that the use of telemedicine for pediatric critical care consultations in rural emergency departments (EDs) was associated with fewer physician-related medication errors among seriously ill and injured children, according to a study published in the November 25 issue of Pediatrics.
Food Stamp Cuts Leave Rural Areas, and Their Grocers, Reeling
Nov 22, 2013 -- NPR News article reports that rural grocery stores are already bracing for the ripple effect from the recent $5 billion reduction in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps. Those benefits expired on Nov. 1, affecting some 47 million Americans.
New White House Rural Council Report Highlights the Economic Importance of Passing a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill
Nov 22, 2013 -- The Obama Administration has made clear that passing a
comprehensive farm bill is a priority, and of importance
for every American. The White House today is releasing a
new report, which explains what is at stake in this
President Obama Sends Greetings to All Those Observing National Rural Health Day on November 21
Nov 22, 2013 -- President Obama writes: "On National Rural Health Day, let us extend our
thanks to the health care providers tirelessly
serving rural America, reaffirm our commitment to meeting the needs of these communities, and
celebrate the lasting contributions they have made to our national life."
Small Hospitals Can Lure Transformational Executives
Nov 22, 2013 -- Hospitals & Health Networks article discusses how health care leaders seeking a rural lifestyle will be drawn to small-town hospitals that have big-city visions. Creative rural hospitals and health systems are making themselves attractive to experienced executives by not acting like traditional, small-town operations.
Speak Your Piece: The Healthy Power of Place
Nov 22, 2013 -- Daily Yonder article by Tim Size of the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, discusses how When it comes to providing quality healthcare, rural communities are a natural antidote to the power of larger, less caring institutions. The status of underdog can be a strength.
VA and HUD Announce Twenty-Four Percent Reduction in Veterans’ Homelessness Since 2010
Nov 22, 2013 -- The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that a new national report shows a 24 percent reduction in homelessness among Veterans since 2010.
Call for Posters, Papers for NRHA Annual Conference
Nov 21, 2013 -- National Rural Health Association article tells that the paper presentations and posters deadline for the NRHA's 37th Annual Rural Health Conference is Jan. 3. The conference, focusing on all facets of rural health, will be April 22-25 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
ONC and ORHP: Working to Help Rural Health Providers Leverage Health IT to Improve Quality and Fuel Economic Development
Nov 21, 2013 -- Health IT Buzz article tells how since the summer of 2010, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and HRSA’s Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) have teamed up in support of rural health and rural economic development, with a focus on helping rural providers and hospitals leverage technology to optimize their communities’ health systems.
Safety-Net Hospitals Lose More Under Medicare’s Quality-Based Payments, Analysis Finds
Nov 21, 2013 -- Kaiser Health News article reports that Medicare’s effort to reward hospitals for quality is leaving many of the nation’s safety-net hospitals poorer, a new Harvard School of Public Health analysis finds.