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Top news stories from the past 60 days. For more, see news by topic or news by state.

Apr 23, 2024 - Announces the 2024 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (National Strategy) and the associated Federal Action Plan, a plan developed by 10 federal departments. The National Strategy offers recommendations for addressing needs for at-risk populations. Highlights suicide rate disparities for various race and ethnicities. Includes links to the National Strategy, the Federal Action Plan, and other resources for mental healthcare access and substance abuse services.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Apr 22, 2024 - Offers review of a new rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services regarding staffing minimums in nursing homes. The new standard is expected to require most nursing homes to increase staff. Discusses the rural-specific timeline for meeting the standard in addition to the impact on wages, workforce shortages, and Medicaid reimbursement.
Source: KFF Health News
Apr 22, 2024 - Announces three rules from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services establishing national standards and increasing access to care. "Minimum Staffing Standards for Nursing Homes" aims to improve healthcare quality by setting minimum staffing standards for nursing staff, collecting and reporting on workforce compensation data, and offering incentives for the nurse workforce to work in nursing homes. The 2 remaining rules work together to establish national appointment wait time standards, address payment transparency, and create payment standards for workers providing home and community based services.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Apr 22, 2024 - Discusses recent research finding the shortage of primary care physicians is greater in rural areas. Includes analysis of findings by study authors, discussing rural-specific needs, Medicare reimbursement, and recruiting rural residents into healthcare.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Apr 22, 2024 - Describes the role community health workers play in re-entry for recently incarcerated rural Utah residents. Discusses the role of addiction in incarceration and how the program is funded.
Source: KFF Health News, CBS News
Apr 18, 2024 - Highlights a program in a rural Nebraska school addressing access to food in the community. A partnership between the school and the village offers a non-profit grocery store that is run by the students and managed by the business teacher.
Source: News Channel Nebraska
Apr 15, 2024 - Discusses the social and economic factors contributing to early mortality for Native Americans. Highlights community health workers, food insecurity, generational trauma, and interventions attempting to reduce disparities.
Source: CBS News, KFF Health News
Apr 10, 2024 - Discusses population trends for Amish communities based on the need for land and healthcare. Notes that some rare genetic diseases are present in Amish populations and discusses healthcare access challenges related to insurance status and transportation. Highlights an Ohio clinic primarily treating Amish patients.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Apr 10, 2024 - Highlights the work of promotoras in rural Northern California including assisting eligible residents with enrolling in Medicaid. Discusses the impact of Health Provider Shortage Areas (HPSAs) on healthcare access, policy, and insurance access for undocumented farmworkers.
Source: Ethnic Media Services
Apr 10, 2024 - Discusses the need for mental health services in schools and how states around the country have used Medicaid reimbursement to fund those services. Notes recent policy changes that have made this possible and highlights challenges that remain in using Medicaid reimbursement, particularly for rural school districts.
Source: The Commonwealth Fund
Apr 9, 2024 - Describes the needs of older adults in rural communities, discussing access to support services, healthcare, and social engagement.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Apr 8, 2024 - Discusses the mortality rate disparity between rural and urban residents following recent research showing the gap has widened to 43% in 2019 from 6% in 1999 for adults between 25 and 54. Offers analysis by experts on causes of this disparity including social vulnerability factors, community vitality, and insurance rates. Discusses the potential impact of COVID-19 on current mortality rates.
Source: CBS News, KFF Health News
Apr 7, 2024 - Announces the Tribal Environmental Impact Network (TEIN), a cohort of professionals interested in environmental issues in tribal communities. Areas include environmental health, climate, emergency response, transportation, and more. TEIN will offer technical assistance in accessing funding opportunities. Includes an interest form for experts interested in participating.
Source: National Indian Health Board
Apr 5, 2024 - Discusses challenges with offering ambulance services in rural Minnesota including reimbursement and funding models, a volunteer workforce, and large service areas.
Source: MPR News
Apr 4, 2024 - Announces an increase in loan repayment amounts available through the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program. Notes the program aims to reduce primary care provider shortages in rural and other areas. Also highlights previous work to support the primary care workforce.
Source: Health Resources & Services Administration
Apr 4, 2024 - Highlights a project to give remote homes on a Navajo Nation reservation in Utah accurate addresses. Discusses the benefits of accurate addressing for emergency response teams and for receiving in-home medical care in addition to other benefits.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Apr 2, 2024 - Profiles a library in rural Louisiana offering telehealth services in an area with Primary, Dental, and Mental Healthcare Shortages. Discusses rural economic vitality including healthcare access.
Source: The Current
Apr 2, 2024 - Highlights population shift trends between urban and rural places. Notes that the highest rural county gains were in those closest to metropolitan areas. Discusses current data alongside pre-pandemic patterns as well as state level trends.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Apr 1, 2024 - Describes challenges rural health systems face when fighting infectious diseases, including shortages of infectious diseases physicians, geographic isolation, and difficulties in accessing mentoring in infection prevention and control.
Source: JAMA Network
Mar 27, 2024 - Request for comments on the draft 2024-2030 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan. The Plan includes goals for promoting health and wellness, enhancing the delivery and experience of healthcare, accelerate research and innovation, and connecting health systems with health data. Objectives for achieving those goals include expanding broadband and technology access and research infrastructure for the benefit of rural residents among others. Comments can be made until May 28th.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Mar 26, 2024 - Highlights social engagement in rural Maine communities for older adults. Describes the community services that allow them to stay in their communities. Discusses concerns about healthcare access.
Source: The Christian Science Monitor
Mar 26, 2024 - Announces an upcoming virtual workshop on using collaboration and partnerships for growing the health workforce. The workshop is scheduled for April 16, 2024.
Source: Bureau of Health Workforce, Health Resources and Services Administration
Mar 25, 2024 - Highlights challenges with maintaining rural rental housing in places where affordable new housing is scarce. Describes federal programs working to preserve existing rental housing.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Mar 22, 2024 - Discusses suicide among rural men in Michigan, noting the issues of stigma and mental healthcare access. Discusses the results of an intervention targeting men and policy measures building on those successes.
Source: The 'Gander
Mar 21, 2024 - A charitable donation to a community health center system will increase access to ultrasound technology in Montana and Wyoming as well as train healthcare workforce on new sonography technology. Discusses workforce shortages and the impact of new technology on health outcomes in rural and frontier areas.
Source: Cowboy State Daily
Mar 20, 2024 - Highlights the Risk Underlying Rural Areas Longitudinal (RURAL) Study, a 6 year study investigating risk and protective factors for lung and heart disease for rural residents in 4 Southern states. Discusses the under-representation of rural residents in research and their recruitment strategies. Notes early results from the study as well as the role large public health studies can play in developing a new generation of researchers.
Source: UVM Today
Mar 19, 2024 - Announcement of a new model from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid for primary care providers in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). The model offers participating providers advanced payments for flexibility and access to resources for optimal primary care delivery. The model will incorporate health equity and address health disparities by targeting low revenue ACOs. The model begins January 1, 2025 for approximately 130 ACOs. Interested organizations much apply for or renew their ACO status between May 20 and June 17 in order to participate in the model.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Mar 19, 2024 - Describes culturally relevant practices for mental healthcare for Native communities. Discusses therapy services available for students at the University of North Carolina and rural communities across North Carolina. Highlights health disparities and factors contributing to those disparities.
Source: The Daily Tar Heel
Mar 19, 2024 - Highlights a rural reentry program in Kentucky for people leaving incarceration with substance use disorder. The program includes peer support who assist with needs such as housing, obtaining licenses, and other barriers to successful reentry.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Mar 19, 2024 - Discusses suicide rates in rural Minnesota and factors contributing to the trends including workforce shortages, stigma, and farming industry suicide rate disparities. Notes initiatives aiming to reduce the rates and challenges that remain.
Source: MinnPost
Mar 18, 2024 - Highlights recent rural employment statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Notes that recent trends were improving, but the latest report showed rural employment has decreased 0.4% when compared to pre-COVID numbers. Includes urban and rural comparisons as well as variations within industries.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Mar 17, 2024 - Highlights a project to offer internships for rural high school students and create a training center in Washington for careers in health and other industries. Notes that the project may help keep students in the region once they graduate.
Source: The Spokesman-Review
Mar 16, 2024 - Discusses uptake of the Rural Emergency Hospital designation that aims to prevent hospital closures. Notes that conversions have happened primarily in the South. Discusses challenges with implementation, community feedback, and policy efforts to make the designation more accessible to rural hospitals.
Source: NBC4 Washington
Mar 14, 2024 - Following an annual assessment of telecommunications capability, the Federal Communications Commission has raised the benchmark for broadband download and upload speeds. Notes that broadband deployment in rural and tribal areas is not happening in a reasonable timeframe.
Source: Federal Communications Commission
Mar 14, 2024 - Funding for rural Federally Qualified Health Centers in Tennessee and across the South has been awarded for installing solar panels and battery systems. The mini grid systems will allow the facilities to continue offering critical services during power outages.
Source: WPLN, NPR
Mar 13, 2024 - Highlights the history of telehealth use by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Describes how access to specialists, behavioral healthcare, and prescription medication in particular has been improved by telehealth. Discusses how rural healthcare access is managed for veterans without reliable internet access.
Source: Cronkite News
Mar 12, 2024 - Highlights pilot projects in Vermont and Minnesota offering public transit planning and payment apps in rural communities. Discusses challenges with offering these services including customer buy-in, sustainable funding, technology limitations, and unreliable internet and cell phone service.
Source: The Daily Yonder
Mar 12, 2024 - Offers overview of a meeting between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, other Administration officials, and healthcare stakeholders related to the Change Healthcare cyberattack. Highlights key actions taken by the Administration to address impacts.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Mar 11, 2024 - Offers overview of priorities in the proposed Fiscal Year 2025 Budget for the Health Resources & Services Administration including youth mental health, maternity care deserts, access to primary care, opioid treatment and recovery, the healthcare workforce, and organ donation. Discusses rural specific needs throughout.
Source: Health Resources & Services Administration
Mar 11, 2024 - Discusses rural Illinois food deserts and the rise of community-owned cooperative stores. Notes the challenges for rural cooperative development including community buy-in, competition with large chains, funding, and more.
Source: Barn Raising Media
Mar 11, 2024 - Highlights a project in North Carolina offering school-mandated physicals to rural children using mobile clinics. Children that do not receive physicals may be suspended. Discusses the impact of suspension on educational outcomes and entering the justice system.
Source: North Carolina Health News
Mar 7, 2024 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services statement that they are coordinating efforts in response to the recent Change Healthcare cyberattack. Notes they are aware of the disparate impact on small practices and community-based providers and considering their needs in the response.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Mar 7, 2024 - Highlights the use of telemedicine in ambulances in an effort to improve health outcomes for patients being transported long distances to receive emergency care. Discusses loss of ambulance and hospital services in addition to limited specialty care in rural communities. Describes implementation in South Dakota and Minnesota.
Source: MPR News
Mar 7, 2024 - Reports on financial struggles for rural hospitals across the country leading to department and facility closures and many more at risk of closure. Highlights common rural health disparities and notes the impact of closures on rural communities. Discusses the impact of various policies on rural hospitals including Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement as well as the Rural Emergency Hospital designation.
Source: KFF Health News
Mar 6, 2024 - Discusses the rise in colorectal cancer rates and mortality disparities for Black and rural Americans. Highlights efforts by multiple states to increase screening rates including in rural West Virginia. Notes challenges for rural residents such as distance to care and shortages of specialists.
Source: Stateline
Mar 6, 2024 - Discusses the shortage of rural surgeons, noting challenges in building the rural surgeon workforce. Discusses rural training tracks, homegrown workforce, funding needs, and telemedicine as possible solutions for building the workforce.
Source: ACS Bulletin
Mar 5, 2024 - Announces steps being taken by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services related to the cyberattack on Change Healthcare, a unit of UnitedHealth Group. Notes flexibilities in place for claims processing, prior authorization, and electronic billing.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Mar 5, 2024 - Discusses challenges with accessing mental healthcare, particularly in rural areas. Notes workforce shortages and low pay as contributors to limited access. Also discusses challenges for military service members including long wait times for appointments.
Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office
Mar 2, 2024 - Highlights a rural California town introducing a shade equity master plan to address the dangers of extreme heat. Discusses rural specific issues such as limited infrastructure and unsafe homes that make heat burden unequally experienced. Notes the disparate impact felt by farmworkers in this agriculture-heavy region.
Source: AP News
Feb 29, 2024 - A new partnership between 24 rural and urban tribal organizations will address physician shortages in tribal communities by advocating for more graduate medical education opportunities in tribal medical facilities. The group aims to improve existing health disparities for American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Source: Native News Online
Feb 29, 2024 - Discusses the shortage of volunteer firefighters in rural areas, noting response times for emergencies can be very long. Discusses challenges with providing emergency services on farms due to the specialized equipment and unreliable cell service. Highlights safety measures on farms that can reduce the number of emergencies.
Source: Ambrook Research
Feb 28, 2024 - Describes the technical assistance available to rural hospitals through a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Rural Health Association (NRHA). NRHA offers guidance with hospital finances and leadership training opportunities for administrators.
Source: National Rural Health Association
Feb 27, 2024 - Commentary on the growing prenatal substance exposure crisis in West Virginia. Discusses rural specific challenges, as well as access to healthcare issues and social determinants of health measures. Cites research on infant outcomes following exposure to various substances. Highlights Project WATCH, a referral system connecting families to services in West Virginia.
Source: The Conversation
Feb 27, 2024 - Announces a 4-part webinar series, starting March 12, 2024, presented by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) in collaboration with the Rural Health Information Hub, to support access to safe, high-quality maternity care in rural communities. Webinars will cover information on achieving the Birthing-Friendly Hospital Designation from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), working with Perinatal Quality Collaboratives (PQCs) to improve care, implementing AIM bundles to improve patient safety, and how rural hospitals without birthing units can prepared for patient needs.
Source: Rural Health Information Hub
Feb 26, 2024 - Discusses value-based payment (VBP) models in Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) as a way to offer flexibility and innovation opportunity with a more predictable funding model. Includes interviews with FQHC leaders and experts about challenges with VBP and policy measures that can make implementation easier.
Source: The Commonwealth Fund

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