Rural Healthcare Leaders Weigh Potential Impact of Covid-19 Long-Haulers
Discusses the potential impacts of individuals with long-term symptoms of COVID-19, or COVID-19 long-haulers, on rural health systems. Describes differences in vaccination and infection rates in rural and urban areas and other issues facing rural healthcare, including higher rates of uninsurance and health disparities among rural populations. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 7, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Telehealth May Be Here to Stay
Discusses the increase in telehealth use during the COVID-19 pandemic and state-level efforts to further extend telehealth policies or make those changes permanent. Describes concerns about barriers to using telehealth among populations with less access to broadband internet, including rural populations, and highlights the perspectives of providers in Oklahoma and North Carolina. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 1, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

USDA Grants to Address Stress for Farmers, Ranchers, Ag Sector Workers
Announces funding awards through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to 50 stress assistance programs to support agricultural workers. Highlights the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and related market fluctuations on the mental health of agricultural workers and efforts to assist rural communities and farm and ranch families. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 1, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

30 Day Countdown - RHC COVID-19 Testing (RHC CT) Program Funds
Offers a reminder that Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 Testing (RHC CT) Program funds must be expended by December 31, 2021. Provides information on the RHC CT program and contact information for technical assistance from the National Association of Rural Health Clinics. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 30, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Rural Covid-19 Infections Increase Slightly; Deaths Decline
Reports on COVID-19 infection and mortality rates over the week of November 14-20, finding a 6% rise in overall cases in rural counties and a 9% decline in COVID-19-related deaths. Offers a county-level data map, charts with rural-urban comparisons over time, and state-level data. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 26, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Hit Hard by COVID, Native Americans Come Together to Protect Families and Elders
Describes the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on stress, depression, anxiety, and sleeping problems for Native Americans, noting the risk of losing vulnerable and elderly community members and Native American disparities in COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and mortality. Discusses community-level efforts and partnerships to support Native communities as they navigate COVID-19 fears and increase vaccination rate. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 24, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

HHS Announces Record Health Care Workforce Awards in Rural and Underserved Communities
Reports on health workforce loan repayment and scholarship program awards to clinicians, nurses, National Health Service Corps (NHSC) members, dentists, and behavioral health providers working in underserved, rural, and tribal areas. Describes the new Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery Loan Repayment Program, investments in the primary care workforce, and other opportunities for loan repayment. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 22, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

USDA Invests $222 Million in Rural Community Infrastructure to Help People in 44 States, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico
Announces $222 in funding for rural community infrastructure, inlcuding $132 million for healthcare, food security, and emergency response services. Funds will support 44 states, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico. Offers examples of funded projects and provides information on Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program, Recovery Grant applications and opportunities through USDA Rural Development. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 19, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

USDA Invests $86 Million to Improve Equitable Access to Jobs, Business Opportunities, Education, Health Care and Housing for Rural People
Announces $86 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding to invest in employment, business, healthcare, education, and housing in rural and tribal areas. Offers an overview of the 6 programs supported through the funding, examples of funded initiatives, and a list of impacted states. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 18, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

'Nothing Short of a Miracle:' How Rural Hospitals are Working Together to Keep from Closing
Describes efforts to prevent rural Mississippi hospital closures and re-open rural hospitals through partnerships with other hospitals. Addresses financial challenges related to reimbursement issues and staffing costs and highlights the importance of emergency care access for rural communities. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 18, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Rate of New Vaccinations Falls Slightly in Rural Counties
Reports on rural and urban COVID-19 vaccination rates as of November 11, finding a 4% decline in new vaccinations compared to a 20% decline in metropolitan counties. Offers state and county-level data maps, vaccination trends over time, and state rural/metro comparisons. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 17, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

A Telehealth Effort to Treat PTSD and Bipolar Disorder in Rural Areas Showed 'Huge Gains.' Now Comes the Hard Part
Describes the Study to Promote Innovation in Rural Integrated Telepsychiatry (SPIRIT), a trial to offer mental telehealth services through a collaborative care model, with local care managers and clinics delivering treatment. Addresses the history of collaborative care and policy challenges related to integrating urban-based providers into rural clinics. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 17, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

USDA Announces a New Focus on Indigenous Food and Agriculture
Describes partnerships between the USDA Office of Tribal Relations and several organizations to support Indigenous food practices, farming, and agriculture, including funding for a seed processing program through the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance based in Minnesota. Discusses other projects in the program, including a video series on sustainable gathering and wild food foraging and efforts to make recommendations for future USDA regulatory activities. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 16, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

How the States with the Largest Share of Rural Residents Became Among the Most Vaccinated
Describes COVID-19 vaccine outreach efforts in Vermont and Maine, noting that the states have the highest percentage of population living in rural areas and that they rank among the top 6 states in terms of vaccination. Addresses strategies among local health offices and health systems to monitor regions of the states and reach vulnerable populations. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 16, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

How Rural Communities Are Losing Their Pharmacies
Reports on challenges facing independent rural pharmacies related to insurance reimbursement and competition with chain and mail-order pharmacies. Notes that between 2003 and 2018, 1,231 our of 7,624 independent rural pharmacies closed, and describes the impacts that closures have on rural access to medications, vaccinations, and testing that pharmacies offer. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 15, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

How Low Can They Go? Rural Hospitals Weigh Keeping Obstetric Units When Births Decline
Describes efforts to maintain rural obstetrics units in areas where there are few births, examining the issue of defining the low-volume threshold for maintaining clinician skills and patient safety. Highlights research into the topic, billing and payment issues, and the importance of obstetrics units to rural communities. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 12, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Covid Deaths and New Infections Climb Modestly
Reports on COVID-19 infection rates for the week of October 31-November 6, offering county-level data and rural/metro data comparisons. Notes that new infections increased by 4% in rural areas during the week after nearly 2 months of improvement and that COVID-19-mortality also rose in both rural and metro counties. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 12, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

'You Need a Whole Team': How a Virtual Mentoring Program has Helped Bring Care Closer to Rural Patients
Discusses the development and impacts of the Project ECHO program on increasing access to specialty care through training for rural practitioners and medical assistants. Explores research into Project ECHO's benefits for patients and the program's challenges moving forward. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 11, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Today: White House Bipartisan Infrastructure Rural Stakeholders Briefing
Announces an event on Wednesday, November 10 at 11:30 AM Eastern that will discuss the rural investments of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack& other administration officials. Registration required. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 10, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Pandemic Adds Stress to Already Strained Rural Fire Departments
Describes impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on rural fire departments and challenges related to recruitment of firefighters. Addresses trauma experienced by firefighters, workforce shortages, and concerns about vaccine mandates. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 9, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Covid Infections and Deaths Decline in Rural Counties
Reports on rural COVID-19 infection and mortality rates for the week of October 24-30, noting a 7% drop in new rural infections and a decline of over 20% in deaths. Offers a county-level map and rural/metro data comparisons over time. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 5, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

In Alaska Native Villages and Across Communities of Color, the Enduring Silence of Grief
Describes the impacts of COIVD-19 on Alaska Native communities and communities of color and the grief facing these communities as they experience higher rates of mortality. Highlights the pandemic's effects on a remote Alaska Native village and research into the health impacts of grief. May require subscription to view the article. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 4, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Small Towns, Cops and Mental Health Patients
Describes the role of police in small towns to respond to mental health crises, focusing on a police department in Americus, Georgia, which has enrolled its officers in Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) training. Discusses the increase in 911 calls for mental health issues and the lack of mental health resources for crisis intervention and the challenges facing small police departments in Georgia. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 4, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Q & A: How Rural Nurses Are Taking on Covid Challenges and Serving Communities
Interview with Audrey Snyder, former president of the Rural Nurse Organization and Associate Dean for Experiential Learning at the University of North Carolina Greensboro School of Nursing, discussing rural nursing staffing and recruitment challenges. Highlights the particular dynamics of rural nursing, including close connections with rural and agricultural communities, and the unique stressors that rural nurses face. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 3, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Rate of New Rural Vaccinations Declines for Second Week
Reports on COVID-19 vaccination rates in rural America as of October 28, noting that the pace of new vaccinations in rural areas was less than half the rate in mid-September. Offers rural and metro comparisons over time, state-by-state comparisons, and a county-level data map. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 2, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Rural Health Network Development Planning Funding Opportunity
Announces the Rural Heath Network Development Planning Program, a funding opportunity of up to $100,000 through the Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) to support rural healthcare access and quality of care through the planning and development of integrated healthcare networks. Describes eligibility requirements for the program and provides contact information. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - November 2, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

COVID-19 Cases Decline, but Rural Death Rate Rises 20%
Reports on rural COVID-19 infection and mortality rates for the week of October 17-23, noting continued decline in new infections but a nearly 20% increase in COVID-related deaths at nearly 3,000 for the week. Also notes that rural shares of COVID-related deaths are at 29.9%, while rural populations make up 14% of the overall population. Offers county and state data maps, rural/metro comparisons of infection and mortality rates over time, and state-by-state comparisons. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 29, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

60 Days to Spend RHCCT Program Funds
Offers a reminder that Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 Testing (RHCCT) Program funds must be expended by December 31, 2021. Provides information on the RHCCT program and contact information for technical assistance from the National Association of Rural Health Clinics. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 29, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Gap Between Rural and Urban Vaccination Rates Narrows Slightly
Reports on rural COVID-19 vaccination as of October 21, comparing rates to urban areas. Notes that the metropolitan vaccination rate is 55.5% while the rural rate is 43.7% but that the gap between the two populations has closed slightly over the previous 2 weeks. Offers county and state-level data maps, charts of vaccination rates over time, and state-by-state urban and rural comparisons. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 26, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

New Research Center Dedicated to Indigenous Populations Focuses on Health Disparities
Announces the launch of the Center for Indigenous Innovation and Health Equity, a research partnership that will investigate health disparities and inequities in American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations. Describes the focus of the center on Indigenous models of health paired with data collection and the ways that addressing health disparities can improve the lives of Indigenous communities. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 25, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Rural Infection Rate Falls but Remains 80% Higher than Metro Counties'
Reports on rural COVID-19 infection and mortality rates for the week of October 10-16, noting that new infections declined by 11% and COVID-related deaths fell by 6.1%. Offers a county-level data map, charts depicting infection and mortality rates, and a state data chart. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 22, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

USDA to Make Up to $1.15 Billion Available to Help People Living in Rural Communities Access High-Speed Internet
Announces funding of up to $1.15 billion through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's ReConnect Program to expand broadband availability in rural areas through loans and grants. Addresses ReConnect Program eligibility and additional investments in rural distance learning and telemedicine projects. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 22, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Rural Vaccination Rate Climbs 0.5 Percentage Points
Reports on rural COVID-19 vaccination, noting that as of October 14, 43.2% of the rural population had completed vaccination. Offers county and state-level data maps and metro/nonmetro comparisons by week. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 21, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Traveling Nurses Help Rural Hospital Staffing Issues, But at a Cost
Discusses the traveling nurse workforce and the benefits and challenges for rural hospitals that hire temporary staff. Describes the financial impacts of nursing staff and recruitment efforts in rural areas. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 21, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Study Finds Family Physicians Deliver Babies in Majority of Rural Hospitals
Describes a study of family physicians in rural maternity care that found that in 185 rural hospitals in 10 states, 67% had family physicians deliver babies and in 27% of the hospitals they were the only physicians who delivered babies. Discusses issues of access to maternal care if family physicians leave or are not employed at rural hospitals, highlighting the need for specialized training programs to support the rural workforce. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 19, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Rural Americans Share Personal Stories to Inspire Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccines in Local Communities and Nationwide
Describes collaboration between the Ad Council, COVID Collaborative, and rural organizations including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Cooperative Extension System, the National Association of Farm Broadcasting, and the National Association of Community Health Centers to develop a series of public service announcements that highlight rural voices and stories involving COVID-19 in order to increase public confidence in vaccination. Discusses the importance of local perspectives to building community trust, as well as the impacts of the pandemic in rural areas. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 19, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

State of Decay: Rural Areas in America Are at a Tooth Loss
Describes challenges facing rural communities related to oral health, including dental care access and lack of fluoridation in public drinking water systems, and the oral health disparities that impact rural areas in Appalachia and the Delta region. Highlights the perspectives of rural dentists and researchers as well as efforts at the local level to address oral health issues. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 18, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Rural Covid Infections Decline for Third Straight Week
Reports on rural COVID-19 infections and mortality for the week of October 3-9, noting that the rural infection rate was still much higher than the metropolitan rate but that new infections fell around 12% during the week. Offers charts with weekly infection and mortality data, state rural/metro comparisons, and county and state-level data maps. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 14, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Rural U.S. Hospitals Stretched Thin After Nurse Shortage Exacerbated by the Pandemic
Video report on nursing shortages and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those shortages, focusing on the rural Hendry Regional Medical Center in Clewiston, Florida. Offers perspectives of nurses and emergency department leadership, and addresses burnout related to COVID-19 patient care and the role of traveling nurses in filling staffing needs. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 13, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

CMS Clarifies Medicare Recognition of Interstate Licensure Compacts
Describes updated guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regarding interstate licensure compacts, which are an area of ongoing policy change in relation to expanding telehealth services for Medicare enrollees. Notes that CMS will recognize licenses obtained through compacts as valid. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 12, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

New Vaccinations in Rural Counties Decline for Second Week
Reports on rural COVID-19 vaccinations as of October 7, noting a sustained decline in new vaccinations. Notes that 42.6% of the total rural population has completed vaccination, compared to 54.5% of the metro population. Offers county and state-level data maps and charts depicting vaccination trends. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 12, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

COVID-19 Cases and Deaths by Race/Ethnicity: Current Data and Changes Over Time
Analyzes COVID case and death data to identify racial and ethnic disparities and how those disparities may be changing over time. Includes a discussion of COVID trends in rural areas. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 8, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Making History, Despite History: The First Tribally Affiliated Med School Takes Flight in Oklahoma
Discusses the new Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, which is located in a small town in Oklahoma. Operated as a collaboration between OSU and the Cherokee Nation, it is the first tribally affiliated medical school in the United States. The school will focus on producing physicians to practice in rural and tribal communities. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 8, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

The Surge of Telehealth During the Pandemic is Exacerbating Urban-Rural Disparities in Access to Mental Health Care
Reports on studies of telehealth in rural and urban areas during the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on mental healthcare telehealth visits. Notes that studies found rural populations used telehealth to access mental healthcare at lower rates than in urban areas, and describes issues of technological capability and broadband access. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 7, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Rural Infections Decline by 20%; Number of Covid Deaths Falls Slightly
Reports on rural COVID-19 infection and mortality rates for the week of September 26-October 2, noting a second consecutive week of decline for new rural infections and a decline in COVID-19 related deaths. Offers a county-level data map, charts of COVID-19 rates by metro and nonmetro status over time, and state-by-state comparisons. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 7, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Rate of New Vaccinations Falls by 20%
Reports on rural COVID-19 vaccination rates as of September 30, noting a 20% decrease in new rural vaccinations and nearly a 1/3 decrease in metropolitan counties. Notes that 42.1% of the rural population and 54% of the metro population were fully vaccinated as of September 30. Offers a map with county-level data, charts tracking vaccination rates over time, and state-by-state rural and metro comparisons. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - October 4, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Telehealth has Rapidly Expanded. But Companies are Still Struggling to Reach Rural Populations
Discusses barriers to telehealth expansion in rural areas, including broadband infrastructure, patient volume, technology needs, and state licensing. Notes that telehealth companies have expanded more readily in urban and suburban areas, highlighting market challenges that will require partnerships between companies and rural facilities. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - September 30, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Covid Is Killing Rural Americans at Twice the Rate of Urbanites
Reports on rural disparities in COVID-19 mortality, finding that in September 2021, rural death rates were double those of urban areas. Discusses the impacts of health disparities and workforce shortages on rural COVID-19 challenges, as well as the burden to rural hospitals and issues with transferring patients to larger hospitals for specialized care. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - September 30, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

A Rural Hospital Responds to Covid-19: 'I Have Never Seen Anything Like It'
Highlights the challenges in providing care for COVID-19 patients at St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, Kentucky, a rural hospital that is operating at 135% capacity, leading to creating alternative Intensive Care Unit (ICU) spaces and constructing a field hospital. Notes the significant increase in COVID-19 patients in September 2021 compared to the peak of the pandemic in 2020 and challenges related to workforce shortages. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - September 29, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Rural Vaccinations Increase by Fastest Pace Since June
Reports on rural COVID-19 vaccination as of September 23, noting that 41.4% of the rural population had completed vaccination. Points out that the gap between rural and urban vaccination increased to 11.9%, with urban vaccination rates higher than rural. Offers a county-level map, state data, and a chart ranking state-by-state rural and urban vaccination rates. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - September 28, 2021 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news