Rural Health
Top Stories

Top news stories from the past 60 days.

Rural Residents More Likely to Die from Drowning; Few States Require Youth to Learn Water Safety
Aug 28, 2015 - Compares the number of deaths caused by drowning between rural and urban settings and what local public health units can do to address the disparity. Highlights some state efforts to offer free swimming lessons and pass safety policies, such as mandating personal flotation devices for children.
Source: Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues
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Carriers Accept Over $1.5 Billion in Support to Expand Rural Broadband
Aug 28, 2015 - Reports that ten telecommunications carriers have accepted over $1.5 billion in annual support from the Connect America Fund, which will expand broadband access to nearly 7.3 million rural residents in 45 states and one U.S. territory.
Source: Federal Communications Commission
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Telemedicine Can’t Help the People Who Need It the Most
Aug 28, 2015 - Highlights the problems lagging broadband access poses in rural healthcare facilities and rural homes for receiving telehealth services.
Source: Wired
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HRSA: 340B Drug Pricing Program Omnibus Guidance Federal Register
Aug 28, 2015 - The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has opened a 60 day comment period on proposed guidance for covered entities enrolled in the 340B Program, including Critical Access Hospitals, Rural Referral Centers, and Sole Community Hospitals.
Source: Federal Register
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Poor Care, Finances Close Rural Arizona Hospital
Aug 25, 2015 - Compares two similar rural Arizona hospitals and describes why one closed and how the other remains open.
Source: Silver City Daily Press
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UW Leads $11m Clinical Trial, Largest Ever, on Psychiatric Disorders in Rural America
Aug 25, 2015 - Reports that a collaboration of institutions throughout the U.S. is undertaking the largest clinical trial on psychiatric disorders ever to be conducted on rural Americans. The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) funded study will compare two telehealth technology models and be conducted on individuals diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, or both, throughout Washington, Arkansas, and Michigan.
Source: Puget Sound Business Journal
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CDC to Doctors: Keep an Eye Out for Plague
Aug 25, 2015 - Announces the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advice for doctors to keep an eye out for plague when treating patients with flu-like symptoms, especially if they reside in or have traveled to rural and semi-rural areas in the western United States.
Source: NBC News
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With Mergers, Concerns Grow About Private Medicare
Aug 25, 2015 - Reports on an issue brief from the Commonwealth Fund regarding the lack of competition between companies offering private Medicare Advantage plans, particularly in rural areas. Highlights concerns over mergers between major players in the industry and how they will impact consumers.
Source: New York Times
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VA Brings Veterans’ Services Training to Indian Country
Aug 25, 2015 - Reports that the Veterans Affairs Office of Tribal Government Relationships has been hosting training summits in closer proximity to tribal areas in recent years. Specifies that these summits are to share information regarding veterans services and how they pertain to Native American veterans, as well as exchange information between tribal, state, and federal employees.
Source: Indian Country Today Media Network
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For Some Colon Cancer Patients, Travel Distance Limits Access to Chemo
Aug 24, 2015 - Reports that a recent study found that colon cancer patients are less likely to receive chemotherapy after surgery if they have to travel a significant distance for the treatment. The patient's type of insurance and the number of oncologists in the area were also found to have an impact on the patient's treatment.
Source: Reuters
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Research Commission Examines Mental Health Issues in the Arctic
Aug 24, 2015 - Reports that the U.S. Arctic Research Commission has issued a report on its 2015-2016 goals and objectives for improving Arctic health, focusing on mental and behavioral health, as well as domestic violence.
Source: Alaska Dispatch News
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Today’s Rural Hospital Faces Myriad Concerns
Aug 24, 2015 - Describes financial challenges being faced by rural healthcare facilities across the country, the national trend of rural hospital closures, and what options communities are exploring to keep healthcare accessible to their residents.
Source: North Carolina Health News
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Rural and Homeless: 'I Had No Place to Go'
Aug 21, 2015 - Describes the work of the Corner Haven Crisis Center in addressing rural homelessness in Eastern Kentucky. Provides statistics on national rural homelessness rates.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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News5 Investigates: Victims Lack Access to Rape Kit Testing in Rural Counties
Aug 19, 2015 - Reports on a shortage of nurses certified to conduct a sexual assault examination in rural parts of Colorado. The shortage often dissuades sexual assault victims from having the exam because they have to travel long distances to get it.
Source: KOAA-TV, Channel 5
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UW, Wind River Reservation Project to Grow Health with Gardens
Aug 18, 2015 - Discusses Growing Resilience, a National Institute of Health (NIH) funded partnership of the University of Wyoming and the Wind River Indian Reservation, which aims to assess the impacts of home food gardens on health disparities commonly experienced by Native American populations.
Source: University of Wyoming
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Interstate Licensing Bill for Telemedicine Gathers Support
Aug 18, 2015 - Discusses the Telemedicine for Medicare (TELE-MED) Act of 2015, which would allow Medicare beneficiaries to be treated via telehealth by physicians in other states. Presents opposing views on whether the legislation is necessary and prudent, given the Federation of State Medical Boards’ Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. (Free registration may be required).
Source: Medscape
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Clock Ticking as EPA Prepares Response Over Hog Pollution
Aug 18, 2015 - Reports that the deadline is coming up for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to give a response to environmentalists' claim that North Carolina's hog farm pollution is harming the health of nearby residents, a disproportionately minority population.
Source: North Carolina Health News
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Kansas Plan Would Convert Many Rural Hospitals into Primary Health Clinics
Aug 18, 2015 - Describes a new healthcare delivery system model being tested in Kansas that would allow some low-volume Critical Access Hospitals to convert to primary health centers, allowing them to provide ambulatory and emergency services, with or without maintaining transitional care beds.
Source: Healthcare Finance
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Fitch: U.S. Critical Access Hospitals to Withstand Pressures; Consolidation Likely
Aug 17, 2015 - Analyzes the financial pressure Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) are, and will likely be under, due, in part, to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Source: Fitch Ratings
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Mobile Service Gains Traction with Rural Combat Veterans
Aug 17, 2015 - Describes a Vet Center RV that drives across northern Minnesota, providing outreach and counseling services to rural veterans, and assisting them with enrollment in Veterans Affairs health benefits programs. The service is part of a national program to provide healthcare to veterans closer to home.
Source: Duluth News Tribune
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To Survive, Rural Hospitals Join Forces
Aug 17, 2015 - Highlights an alliance between four rural hospitals in southwestern Arizona and the Tucson Medical Center. By joining forces, the facilities have been able to negotiate better prices on supplies and services, as well as assist each other with medical training, information technology, and physician recruitment.
Source: The PEW Charitable Trusts
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Rural Kids Less Likely to Use Lunch Program
Aug 17, 2015 - Reports that rural children are less likely than urban children to participate in the federal free-lunch/breakfast program, despite qualifying for the program at a similar rate. Suggests this outcome is due to stigma playing a larger role in rural schools as well as transportation issues which prevent rural children from being on time for their free breakfast.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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Paramedics Aren't Just for Emergencies
Aug 17, 2015 - Describes community paramedicine and highlights its success in reducing emergency room visits and inpatient hospital stays. Suggests community paramedicine as a solution to the shortage of primary care doctors and nurses in rural areas.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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The Doctor is Online
Aug 17, 2015 - Tells of a newly-implemented Nevada law that requires insurers and government programs to pay for telehealth services at parity with traditional services and discusses how telehealth is an efficient means of healthcare provision for the state.
Source: Las Vegas Sun
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‘Those Days’ Are Over, So What Lies Ahead for a Rural Hospital?
Aug 17, 2015 - Discusses a hospital closure in rural, Yadkin County, N.C. and highlights the need for rural community hospitals to be responsive to the changing healthcare landscape.
Source: North Carolina Health News
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Federal Dollars Helped Close the Digital Divide Between Rural and Urban Hospitals
Aug 17, 2015 - Reports that rural hospitals are keeping pace with urban facilities in regard to the adoption and use of electronic health record (EHR) systems, due in part to federal incentive programs. (Free registration may be required for full access.)
Source: Modern Healthcare
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Hispanic Poverty in Rural Areas Challenges States
Aug 16, 2015 - Reports that rural Hispanic children experience greater disadvantages, including healthcare access, when compared to other rural populations, due to poverty and other social disparities.
Source: The Sacramento Bee
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KRMC Copes as Other Rural Hospitals Crash in an Era of Low Federal Reimbursements
Aug 16, 2015 - Discusses the issue of hospital closure while featuring the Kingman Regional Medical Center (KRMC), Kingman A.Z. Also mentions strategies KRMC took to cut costs and remain open, despite lower Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.
Source: Daily Miner
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Rural Programs Help Spread Mental Health Care from Door to Door
Aug 16, 2015 - Introduces the Mobile Medication Program model, where a specialized team travels from home to home in rural North Carolina and assists people with mental illnesses in becoming self-sufficient at managing their own prescriptions.
Source: The News & Observer
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Rural Medicare Beneficiaries Receive Less Follow-up Care, Study Finds
Aug 14, 2015 - Describes a recent study, by the University of North Carolina and RTI International, that examined the rate of follow-up care, emergency department visits, and hospital readmissions for Medicare beneficiaries across rural and urban areas.
Source: RTI International
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CDC: Announcement of Requirements and Registration for Million Hearts Hypertension Control Challenge Federal Register
Aug 14, 2015 - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is accepting applications for the Million Hearts Hypertension Control Challenge through October 31, 2015. The goal of the Million Hearts program is to control high blood pressure and prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.
Source: Federal Register
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USDA, Virginians Celebrate Historic Partnership to Make Summer Meals Accessible in Rural America
Aug 13, 2015 - Highlights the partnership of the USDA’s Rural Development and Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services branches to address childhood hunger. Rural Development’s multi-family housing sites are increasingly serving as USDA summer food sites for rural low-income families in an effort to prevent childhood hunger when school is not in session.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
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Increase in Hepatitis C Seen in Heroin Use
Aug 13, 2015 - Reports on an increase of hepatitis C cases, particularly in rural areas, likely stemming from an increase in intravenous heroin use. Describes challenges to addressing the problem, including costs of care for uninsured populations, and federal and state barriers to running needle exchange programs.
Source: Associated Press via the Journal of Emergency Medical Services
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Curious Mind: Rural Medicine Has a Place in the Magic Valley
Aug 12, 2015 - Defines and describes rural medicine as well as what is expected of a primary care physician in a rural setting, with quotes from two family medicine rural training track program directors. Highlights the breadth of expertise and flexibility that is demanded of a rural doctor.
Source: Times-News (ID)
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CMS Extends Two-Midnight Partial Enforcement Delay
Aug 12, 2015 - Reports an extension of the delay policy on the two-midnight rule by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Policy which was set to expire September 30, 2015, but will now expire on December 31, 2015.
Source: American Hospital Association
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To Address Doctor Shortages, Some States Focus on Residencies
Aug 12, 2015 - Reports the need for more residencies to address underserved areas and describes different state approaches to using residencies as a recruitment tool. Highlights the importance and availability of residencies in rural areas to address healthcare access issues that currently exist.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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During National Health Center Week, HHS Announces an Additional $169 Million in Affordable Care Act Funding to 266 Community Health Centers
Aug 11, 2015 - Announces additional funding under the Affordable Care Act for 266 new health center sites in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Highlights the importance of the Community Health Center program in both rural and urban areas.
Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
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HRSA: National Advisory Council on the National Health Service Corps; Notice of Meeting Federal Register
Aug 11, 2015 - The Health Resources and Services Administration announces a public meeting of the National Advisory Council on the National Health Service Corps (NACNHSC). NACNHSC advises the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration on issues and priorities relating to the National Health Service Corps.
Source: Federal Register
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Glasses or Groceries? RAM Eases the Choice
Aug 11, 2015 - Describes the work of Remote Area Medical (RAM) in bringing free healthcare services to uninsured populations in rural and remote parts of Virginia.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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They Have Insurance, but a Third of Breast Cancer Patients in Appalachia Are Not Taking Their Prescribed Adjuvant Hormone Therapy
Aug 10, 2015 - Describes a recent study that examined adherence to oral medications for female breast cancer survivors in a four-state region of Appalachia. Lists contributing factors for non-compliance and presents possible solutions to the problem.
Source: Oncology Times
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HRSA: National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services; Notice of Meeting Federal Register
Aug 10, 2015 - Announces a public meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services, which will examine healthcare delivery reform in rural areas, specifically addressing the issue of child poverty.
Source: Federal Notice
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Hospital Hiring Booms in July, but Outlook Sketchy
Aug 7, 2015 - Provides data that shows an increase in hospital hiring in July, despite decreases earlier in the year. Suggests that consolidation, rural hospital closings, and increased competition from medical groups and community health centers may be factors in this year's slow hospital hiring.
Source: Modern Healthcare
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Invitation: Obama Administration Announces Rural IMPACT Demonstration
Aug 7, 2015 - Invites communities to apply for technical assistance through a new demonstration initiative, the Rural Integration Models for Parents and Children to Thrive (IMPACT) Demonstration. The program will provide technical support for up to 10 rural and tribal communities with the aim of reducing child poverty through an innovative, two-generation approach.
Source: Health Resources and Services Administration
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As Hepatitis C Goes Rural, Public Health and Medicine Strain to Adapt
Aug 6, 2015 - Presents statistics on the growth of hepatitis C in rural Appalachia and the Midwest over the past decade and describes the public health concern. Offers insight into what solutions states are seeking to stop the spread of the virus.
Source: The Body
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AHA Task Force to Identify Ways to Support Access to Care in Vulnerable Communities
Aug 6, 2015 - Reports the formation of a new task force to identify strategies and policies to support access to healthcare for vulnerable communities. Includes a rural-focused subcommittee meant to deliberately identify access issues faced by residents of rural areas.
Source: American Hospital Association
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CMS: Medicare Program; FY 2016 Hospice Wage Index and Payment Rate Update and Hospice Quality Reporting Requirements Federal Register
Aug 6, 2015 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released a final rule setting forth for the hospice wage index, payment rate update, and hospice quality reporting requirements for fiscal year 2016, effective October 1, 2015.
Source: Federal Register
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Telephone Therapy Helps Older People In Underserved Rural Areas, Study Finds
Aug 5, 2015 - Describes a recent report that has found that therapy provided over the phone lessens symptoms of anxiety and depression among aging populations in rural areas that lack mental health services. Draws attention to regulatory and reimbursement barriers for broader implementation of the service delivery model.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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New Maps Show Differences in Life Expectancy
Aug 5, 2015 - Highlights new data and maps that examine life expectancy based on where a person resides in North Carolina; with some of the lowest life expectancies in the state being located in rural counties.
Source: North Carolina Health News
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IHS: Special Diabetes Program for Indians; Community-Directed Grant Program; Announcement Type: New and Competing Continuation Federal Register
Aug 4, 2015 - The Indian Health Service (IHS) is accepting new and competing continuation applications to its Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) under the Community-Directed Grant Program. These grants are used to established cooperative agreements between the applicant and IHS for diabetes treatment and prevention services.
Source: Federal Register
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New Hospital Company Poised To Tap ACA's Medicaid Expansion
Aug 4, 2015 - Reports a plan by Community Health Systems to spin off a group of 38 suburban and rural hospitals to establish a new investor-owned hospital company, deliberately tapping into an emerging market in rural areas.
Source: Forbes
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Competition Improves Obamacare Choices In Rural Northern California
Aug 4, 2015 - Describes changes in options and prices of health plans made available to rural northern California residents through the state's health exchange created under the Affordable Care Act. The change allows those living near bordering states to buy plans that will pay for routine care across state lines.
Source: Kaiser Health News
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CMS: Medicare Program; Prospective Payment System and Consolidated Billing for Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) for FY 2016, SNF Value-Based Purchasing Program, SNF Quality Reporting Program, and Staffing Data Collection Federal Register
Aug 4, 2015 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released a final rule updating payment rates for Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) under the prospective payment system for fiscal year 2016. Also adopts new measures to match SNF Value-Based Purchasing Program policy changes.
Source: Federal Register
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HRSA Awards $2.7 Million to Improve Rural Health
Aug 3, 2015 - Announces funding awards for two new pilot programs under the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy; The Rural Outreach Benefits Counseling program and the Rural Network Allied Health Training program. Explains the aims of the new pilot programs and lists all recipients of the grants.
Source: The Health Resources and Services Administration
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How Rural Pediatricians Create Effective Telemedicine Systems
Aug 3, 2015 - Describes a recent report that found that although a great deal of variation exists between pediatricians, they make effective use of telemedicine systems, which is helping extend healthcare access to children in rural areas.
Source: FierceHealthIT
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Thune Bill Would Improve Access, Availability of Rural Health Care
Aug 3, 2015 - Describes a bill introduction by Senator John Thune that aims to amend the Communications Act to permit Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) the opportunity to apply for funds from the Universal Service Fund's Rural Health Care Program, which provides support for telecommunications and broadband services in specified rural healthcare facilities.
Source: Office of U.S. Senator John Thune
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Just Remember: Sick, Dying Found in Hospitals of Any Size
Aug 3, 2015 - Blog post describing the challenging nature of providing adequate healthcare for residents of rural and remote areas with limited resources. Addresses cultural differences, urban-to-rural misunderstandings and expectations, and difficulty in recruiting the necessary workforce.
Source: MedPage Today
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Dental Coverage for Patients with Medicaid May Not Prevent Tooth-Related ER Visits
Aug 3, 2015 - Describes a recent report that examined emergency room visits for non-traumatic dental conditions as they relate to Medicaid coverage of dental care and availability of dentists. Suggests that emergency visits are higher in areas with shortages of dental care providers and where few dentists accept Medicaid payments, especially those found in rural areas.
Source: Stanford Medicine
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Tribes Scramble to Avoid $1 Million in Fines Under Affordable Care Act
Aug 1, 2015 - Reports that tribal governments with 50 or more full-time workers will be required to offer health insurance to their employees, or face federal penalties, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Describes confusion about the regulation since American Indian individuals may opt out of the Affordable Care Act rules, without penalty.
Source: Missoulian
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CMS Issues Final Rules Outlining 2016 Medicare Payment Policies and Rates
Jul 31, 2015 - Provides information and summaries on the recently issued final rules for fiscal year (FY) 2016 Medicare payment policies and rates for Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities, Hospice, Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility, and Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment Systems for Acute Care Hospitals and Long-term Care Hospitals.
Source: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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VA: Solicitation of Nominations for Appointment to the Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee Federal Register
Jul 31, 2015 - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Office of Rural Health, is soliciting nominations to the Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee. The Committee advises the Secretary on how to improve the VA healthcare system for veterans living in rural areas. Nominations must be received by December 15, 2015.
Source: Federal Register
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Re-envisioning the Rural Hospital
Jul 31, 2015 - Describes the path of a small, rural hospital had to take to modernize and reinvent the way they provided care. Highlights key characteristics of the new facility, including an open floor plan, a reduction of inpatient capacity, and removing departments within the hospital from isolated silos.
Source: North Carolina Health News
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Removing Barriers to Virtual Doctor Visits
Jul 30, 2015 - Describes the merits of telehealth in extending healthcare access into rural and underserved communities, and describes existing roadblocks to full utilization in North Carolina. Highlights lack of investment funds, perceptions of lower quality, lack of reimbursement structures, and government regulations as current barriers to broader dissemination of the technology across the state.
Source: North Carolina Health News via The Daily Yonder
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RUS: Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees Program Federal Register
Jul 30, 2015 - The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), United States Department of Agriculture, is seeking applications for its Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee program for fiscal year 2015. The program furnishes loans and loan guarantees to provide funds for construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service to rural areas.
Source: Federal Register
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Taking On The Inequities Of Rural Life: Is Life In Rural America Good For Your Health?
Jul 30, 2015 - Blog entry that describes the healthcare disparities observed in rural areas including higher rates of poverty, poorer access to healthcare professionals, higher rates of smoking and alcohol abuse, and higher rates of suicide. Interviews experts in the field who describe how collaboration among organizations, especially among grant makers, is key to addressing these disparities.
Source: Health Affairs Blog
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Senate Hears from Wyoming Witness on Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Native Communities
Jul 29, 2015 - Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hears testimony from Sunny Goggles, Director of the White Buffalo Recovery Center in Wyoming, concerning the costs of alcohol and drug abuse in native communities.
Source: United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
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Cochise Regional Hospital in Arizona to Close After Medicare Stops Reimbursements Over Safety
Jul 29, 2015 - Reports the closure of Cochise Regional Hospital, a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital located in Douglas, Arizona, due to financial distress experienced after Medicare regulators ceased federal payments over concerns of safety.
Source: Healthcare Finance
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Rural Hospitals Blast 'Arcane' Policies
Jul 28, 2015 - Describes testimony given during a hearing held by the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee highlighting Medicare regulatory burdens for rural healthcare facilities.
Source: Modern Healthcare
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USDA Announces First Private Sector Investments through U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund
Jul 28, 2015 - Announces investments made through the U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund in rural projects across the country, including building new nursing homes, constructing a new facility for a rural ambulance service, and building or upgrading two new Critical Access hospitals.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
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Rethinking Mental Health’s Role in the Rural Health Care System
Jul 24, 2015 - Describes a project funded by the United Methodist Health Ministry that is putting mental healthcare professionals in small, low-volume hospitals in rural Kansas to better serve chronic disease patients who suffer from mental and emotional disorders. Describes how addressing mental health will improve overall physical health status of rural Kansas residents.
Source: Kansas Health Institute
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The State Of Rural Health Care In North Carolina
Jul 23, 2015 - Interview with a panel of rural health experts discussing financial challenges for rural hospitals, hospital closures and the impact closures have on the communities they serve. (Length: 48 minutes)
Source: North Carolina Public Radio
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IHS: Meeting on American Indian/Alaska Native Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Issues Federal Register
Jul 22, 2015 - The Indian Health Service (IHS) announces a public meeting soliciting comment to guide efforts of IHS to promote the health needs of the American Indian/Alaska Native Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community.
Source: Federal Register
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MedPAC Chief Calls for Cutting Subsidies for Some Rural Hospitals
Jul 22, 2015 - Reports on the testimony of the head of the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) to the House Ways and Means Committee's Health Subcommittee concerning payment adjustments for some low-volume, rural hospitals. Calls for reconsidering payments to multiple Critical Access Hospitals located within a 35 miles drive of one another as well as other low-volume facilities that are not sole community providers.
Source: Modern Healthcare
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SCIA Passes SURVIVE Act for Indian Victim Services
Jul 22, 2015 - Describes the passage of the bipartisan Securing Urgent Resources Vital to Indian Victim Empowerment Act (SURVIVE Act) by the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) to support Indian victims of crimes. The bill will now go to the full Senate for consideration.
Source: United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
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Rural Docs Want Looser Rules for Hepatitis C Treatment
Jul 21, 2015 - Reports on an Indiana Medicaid policy that prohibits family practitioners, often the only providers for small and rural communities, from prescribing the latest treatments for patients infected with Hepatitis C. Describes the policy as a barrier to treatment in light of a recent HIV outbreak in rural Indiana.
Source: Greensburg Daily News
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UNM’s Remote Health Care Project Gets $14M
Jul 21, 2015 - Reports growth of the University of New Mexico's telemedicine program, Project ECHO, resulting from a grant of $14 million from the GE Foundation to replicate the model in Federally Qualified Health Centers across the United States.
Source: Albuquerque Journal
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USDA Announces Funding for Rural Broadband Projects
Jul 20, 2015 - Lists recipients of grants to strengthen access to high speed internet in rural areas. Highlights the importance of internet connectivity in rural areas, including its significance in supporting high quality healthcare in rural communities.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
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Rural Hospitals at a Crossroads as Margins Weaken
Jul 20, 2015 - Describes the unique challenges rural hospitals are facing in the midst of a national healthcare transformation. Highlights a growth in rural hospital closures across the country.
Source: Healthcare Finance
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The Cancer Epidemic in Central Appalachia
Jul 19, 2015 - Highlights an unusually high incidence of cancer for those living in Appalachia and describes potential causes, including proximity to coal mining operations, tobacco use, and poverty.
Source: Newsweek
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Chairman Brady Announces MedPAC Hearing
Jul 17, 2015 - The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on July 22, 2015 with MedPAC to discuss hospital payment issues, rural health issues, and beneficiary access to care. Statements and letters for the record are being accepted.
Source: The Committee on Ways and Means
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Why Obesity and Heart Disease Hit Harder in Indian Country
Jul 17, 2015 - Describes challenges faced by the Navajo Nation in accessing affordable, nutritious food and how this has led to increased rates of heart disease and obesity. Interviews experts in the field and provides potential policy solutions specific to Indian Country that could help address the challenges.
Source: Pacific Standard
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Analysis: Why Rural Hospitals Are Closing
Jul 16, 2015 - This opinion piece offers an explanation for increasing rural hospital closures and describes the Rural Emergency Care Hospital Act. The proposed legislation, which was recently introduced in the Senate, would allow rural hospitals to keep essential emergency and telemedicine services without maintaining inpatient care services.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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CMS: Medicare Program; Revisions to Payment Policies Under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2016 Federal Register
Jul 15, 2015 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released a proposed rule addressing changes to the physician fee schedule and other Medicare Part B payment policies, including rural specific payments.
Source: Federal Register
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Can Telehealth Technologies Improve Pediatric Care?
Jul 14, 2015 - Discusses a recent study that reports the ability of telehealth technologies to improve quality and extension of pediatric care, especially to underserved and rural communities.
Source: mHealth Intelligence
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Child Poverty Rate Climbs by One-Third
Jul 14, 2015 - Discusses a report from the Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, that has found rural child poverty to have grown by more than a third in the past decade. Provides key statistics, graphs and maps from the report highlighting child poverty in connection with geographic location and industry.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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USDA Proposes New Ways to Help Meet Nutrition Needs of Low-Income, Homebound Seniors and People with Disabilities
Jul 13, 2015 - Announces a policy to improve access to groceries for homebound seniors and people with disabilities by allowing grocery purchasing and delivery services run by government and non-profit organizations to accept SNAP benefits as payment.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
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An Opportunity Gamed Away
Jul 11, 2015 - Describes a history of the rural South that has left its residents struggling with poverty and inadequate housing, particularly describing missed opportunities within the casino industry in the Mississippi Delta.
Source: The Washington Post
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Helping Rural Older Americans Thrive
Jul 10, 2015 - Describes the work of the current administration that supports healthy living for seniors in rural communities. Highlights ways to participate in an upcoming White House conference on aging where critical rural issues will be discussed, including access to healthcare, nutrition, and adequate housing.
Source: The White House Rural Council
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CMS: Medicare and Medicaid Programs; CY 2016 Home Health Prospective Payment System Rate Update; Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Model; and Home Health Quality Reporting Requirements Federal Register
Jul 10, 2015 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is seeking comment on a proposed rule updating Home Health Prospective Payment System (HH PPS) rates for calendar year 2016, including rural add-on payments.
Source: Federal Register
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Using IT to Impact Population Health in Rural Communities
Jul 9, 2015 - Video describes the work of the Critical Access Hospital Network of Eastern Washington and how they are using an innovative technological solution that utilizes data to drive service delivery and outcomes.
Source: Hospitals & Health Networks
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FACT SHEET: White House Tribal Youth Gathering
Jul 8, 2015 - Describes the inaugural Tribal Youth Gathering that brings together over 875 Native Youth to discuss key issues with cabinet officials, including health and behavioral health issues among the American Indian/Alaskan Native youth population.
Source: The White House
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CMS Begins Implementation of Key Payment Legislation
Jul 8, 2015 - Announces the first proposed updates to the physician payment schedule since the repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate. Comments will be solicited through an upcoming federal register notice.
Source: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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The 3 Hot Spots in the U.S. With the Highest Colon Cancer Death Rates
Jul 8, 2015 - Reports on three areas in Appalachia and the rural South with abnormally high colon cancer death rates when compared to the rest of the country. Identifies high poverty, unemployment, obesity rates, low education and health literacy levels, poor access to healthcare, and lower cancer screening rates as possible causes.
Source: The Washington Post
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OHSU Will Open Coos Bay Rural Campus This Fall
Jul 8, 2015 - Describes a interdisciplinary training track across a multiple-location, rural campus administered by Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) meant to increase rural workforce and better meet the needs of people in underserved areas.
Source: The World
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CMS: Medicare Program: Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems and Quality Reporting Programs; Short Inpatient Hospital Stays; Transition for Certain Medicare-Dependent, Small Rural Hospitals Under the Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System Federal Register
Jul 8, 2015 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is seeking comment on a recently released proposed rule that revises the Medicare hospital outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS) and the Medicare ambulatory surgical center (ASC) payment system for 2016. In addition, this proposed rule would update and refine the requirements for the Hospital Outpatient Quality Reporting (OQR) Program and the ASC Quality Reporting (ASCQR) Program. Includes changes concerning the 2-midnight rule under the short inpatient hospital stay policy and a proposed transition for Medicare-dependent, small rural hospitals located in all-urban states.
Source: Federal Register
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Student Learns About Rural Medicine at St. Luke's
Jul 6, 2015 - Describes the Rural Underserved Opportunities Program at the University of Washington and how it exposes medical students to rural practices, often increasing the chances the students will choose to work permanently in a rural community.
Source: Times-News
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KU Hospital Using $12.5 Million Grant to Give Rural Heart Care a Makeover
Jul 5, 2015 - Describes a shift in cardiac care in Western Kansas from reaction to prevention. Details a plan to use funding from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to administer a 3-year demonstration aimed to create a network of small and rural hospitals to put more prevention, consistent emergency protocols, telemedicine, teamwork, and follow-up care in place.
Source: Lawrence Journal
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Free-Standing ERs Eye Lobbying to Win State Approval for Growth
Jul 4, 2015 - Describes growth of stand-alone Emergency Departments (EDs) and efforts across the country to legislate more opportunities to implement the new approach to service delivery. Mentions that although it is not a popular approach in rural areas, it is booming in more urban areas and there is optimism around its future use in rural areas.
Source: Modern Healthcare
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3 Physicians from America's Tiniest Towns Talk Patient Relationships, Rural Practice and the State of Healthcare
Jul 2, 2015 - Interviews three physicians from small and rural hospitals highlighting their opinions on differences and similarities between healthcare in rural and urban settings.
Source: Becker's Hospital Review
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CMS Will Modify—Not Scrap—'Two-Midnight' Rule
Jul 2, 2015 - Describes a proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that will keep the "two-midnight" rule in place while allowing more flexibility for physicians when admitting patients for short hospital stays.
Source: Modern Healthcare
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