SD Taking First Steps to Address High Rate of Maternal Death in Childbirth
South Dakota's Department of Health formed a committee of medical professionals that will meet and discuss how to address the high maternal mortality rate in the state. Describes possible contributing factors to the rising maternal deaths, including the increase in age of new mothers, rising rates of chronic conditions, and lack of access to quality healthcare. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 17, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

2% of Young Patients See Timely Access to Care After Opioid Overdose
Provides an overview of a study that found only two percent of young people who have survived an opioid overdose had access to treatment that could have prevented another overdose from happening. Describes how behavioral health services, addiction treatment, and medically assisted treatment can help young people overcome addiction. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 17, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

HHS Activates Emergency Prescription Assistance Program for Uninsured Puerto Rico Residents Needing Medicine after Recent Earthquakes
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) activated its Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (EPAP) to help Puerto Rico residents access prescription medications after the recent earthquakes. Uninsured patients in need of certain medications and medical supplies can access those for free at any of the participating EPAP pharmacies. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 15, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Draft Federal Health IT Strategic Plan Supports Patient Access to Their Own Health Information
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the draft 2020-2025 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan, which outlines federal health information technology goals regarding patients' access to their health information. HHS is requesting public comments to be submitted by March 18, 2020. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 15, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

FCC Estimates State-by-State Impact of Rural Digital Opportunity Fund
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman announced initial estimates of how many rural homes and businesses will benefit from Phase I of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. Includes a preliminary state-by-state list. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 14, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Researchers Listen to Rural Kentuckians – Then Score a Win for Heart Health
The University of Kentucky conducted a study in which Appalachian Kentucky participants took part in a self-care course and focused on reducing risk factors for heart disease, such as weight, cholesterol, or blood pressure. During the process, researchers learned from the residents and adapted their program to fit the cultural needs of the area. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 14, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Federal Transit Administration Launches $11 Million Innovation Initiative
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator announced the launch of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) initiative. The initiative includes $11 million in challenge grants aimed to support and advance innovation in the transit industry. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 14, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Despite Decades of Initiatives, Rural Physicians Grow Scarcer
Discusses the projected decline in the number of physicians in rural areas, a Montana State University professor attributes the drop to minimal career opportunities for spouses, isolation, and lack of entertainment in rural areas. Describes how policy and recruitment programs have attempted to lure physicians to rural areas, but the need is more prominent as health disparities increase. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 14, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

1 in 3 Rural Adults Report Issues Affording Medical Bills
Summarizes a study whose findings show 32 percent of adult patients have difficulty paying medical bills and accessing healthcare. The study also analyzes hospital prices and quality of care and demonstrates how rural patients are at a further disadvantage accessing care and paying for services. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 14, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

'Like A Flu Shot' For Addiction Crisis - Training High School Students as Recovery Coaches
The opioid epidemic has hit rural West Virginia hard, one school created the "life and recovery coach academy" to educate students on administering opioid overdose reversal medications and on how to help those struggling with substance use disorders. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 10, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

High-Deductible Plans Jeopardize Financial Health of Patients and Rural Hospitals
High-deductible health insurance plans have become commonplace in rural areas, leaving many patients with the inability to pay for care received at rural hospitals. Includes recommendations to counter high-deductible plans in Colorado, such as encouraging primary care services, simplifying billing, and increasing insurance competition in rural areas. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 10, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Rural Seniors Sent to Aftercare Have Higher Mortality than Urban Peers
Provides an overview of a study suggesting that rural seniors hospitalized for life-threatening conditions are more likely to die within a month of their visit than their urban counterparts. Describes how rural patients were more likely to be discharged to a skilled nursing facility, while urban patients were often discharged to an inpatient rehabilitation facility or to home care. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 8, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Congress Eyes Broadband Access, Telehealth to Tackle Maternal Mortality
A bill intended to improve broadband connectivity in areas with limited access to care has been introduced in the Senate. The Data Mapping to Save Moms' Lives Act will allow for the mapping of areas that lack maternal care and access to internet, with the goal of improving telehealth technology infrastructure in areas with critical maternal healthcare needs. Also discusses other legislation that has been introduced in the previous year to address maternal health. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 8, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

States Continue to Enact Legislation to Address Health Care Workforce Shortages
Highlights legislation that has been introduced in several states across the country to address healthcare workforce shortages with a focus on shortages in rural and underserved communities. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 7, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

What it Takes to Keep Independent Grocery Stores Open in Rural Communities
Grocery stores in rural America are struggling, features two small, independent groceries in North Dakota that are innovating strategies to stay open. Describes how grocery stores bring economic and social value to the local community as well as keep its residents healthy. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 7, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

2018 Quality Payment Program (QPP) Performance Results
Blog post from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator, Seema Verma, highlighting performance results for the Quality Payment Program's 2018 performance year. Includes accomplishments and efforts underway for rural practices. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 6, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Radically Rural: Turning the Silver Tsunami into Gold
Highlights the work of Elizabeth Isele, social innovator and founder of The Global Institute for Experienced Entrepreneurship (GIEE), an organizations whose work is focused on helping rural communities tap into and leverage the experience of aging adults to spur economic development opportunities. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 6, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Few Doctors Can Legally Prescribe Opioid-Addiction Drug
Presents an overview of a study that suggests fewer than 1 in 10 U.S. primary care providers can prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid addiction. Findings show counties with the highest opioid overdoses saw a climb in physicians able to prescribe the medication, but rural communities did not see as much of an increase as urban communities. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 6, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

In Rural Texas, People Experiencing Homelessness Lead 'Masked' Lives Outside of Public View
Addresses the disparity in resources available to homeless populations in urban areas of Texas versus rural areas. Describes how homeless people are often hidden in rural towns, making it more difficult to get an accurate count and provide necessary services. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 2, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

2020 Hindsight: The Ohio Valley's Decade in Data
Examines trends that have shaped Ohio Valley's economy and health over the past ten years. Includes statistics on rural and urban population changes, median income shifts, the fall of the coal industry, the rise of the opioid epidemic, and healthcare access. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 1, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Patient Satisfaction May Decline after Hospital Acquisition
Summarizes a report which found that patient experience satisfaction decreases at hospitals that have been acquired by other health systems. Analyzes how mergers and acquisitions can affect access to services and quality of care. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - January 1, 2020 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Free Medication-Assisted Treatment Training Resources Help Clinicians Secure Loan Repayment Awards
Includes information on free medication-assisted treatment (MAT) training for clinicians and the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA 2000) waiver to treat opioid dependency with buprenorphine. Covers loan repayment programs provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 31, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

In Rural Areas Without Pain or Addiction Specialists, Family Doctors Fill in the Gaps
Video features a family physician in rural Wisconsin who recognized the lack of resources for chronic pain patients who receive opioid prescriptions. She began educating patients on the risks of opioid use, implemented medication treatment agreements, and helped many wean off of their prescriptions in order to curb opioid use in her community. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 30, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Native Americans, the Census' Most Undercounted Racial Group, Fight for an Accurate 2020 Tally
Describes the importance of an accurate Census count for Native Americans as they have been historically undercounted in previous years. Reservations across the country are campaigning to inspire their community to participate, but still face many barriers to representation. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 29, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

2019 Was a Rough Year for Rural Hospitals
Summarizes findings from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program, describes this year as the worst year for rural hospital closings since 2013. Lists additional findings on the geography of closures and the effect of the closures on local economies. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 26, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Community Members Train Doctors on Palliative Care
Researchers and community members worked with doctors in South Carolina to create culturally competent palliative care protocols for white and African American communities in the rural South. The training emphasized the differences in cultural values and included visits to historical and culturally relevant sites. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 26, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Call for Best Practices: 2020 Compendium of Rural Oral Health Best Practices
The National Rural Oral Health Initiative (NROHI) is requesting information on best practices to address rural oral health issues for inclusion in a compendium. Submissions are due by February 27, 2020. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 26, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Coping with Loss of Hospital, Rural Town Realizes: We Don't Need a Hospital
A rural town in Kansas lost its hospital one year ago, but physicians stayed in the area and started working at the federally qualified health center (FQHC) to continue caring for residents. Examines how the hospital closure affects the town's healthcare and economy, highlights the steps the community is taking to fill in the gaps. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 24, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Exposure to Ozone Pollution or Wood Smoke Worsens Lung Health of Smokers and Former Smokers
Summarizes research on long-term ozone and wood smoke exposure and its effect on the lung health of smokers and non-smokers. Former and current smokers were found to be at high risk of chronic lung disease and more susceptible to environmental factors, and rural residents, who are more likely to use wood or coal as a primary heat source, were found to have COPD rates twice that of urban areas. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 23, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

It Takes Extra Effort by the U.S. Census Bureau to Reach People Far Outside Urban Areas
Data collected by the decennial U.S. Census determines the allocation of federal funding and the number of seats each state gets in the House of Representatives. Discusses the importance of an accurate Census count and describes the measures that U.S. Census Bureau workers take to reach homes in rural and remote areas of the country. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 23, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

White House Summit Explores Mental Health Treatment
Covers the White House Mental Health Summit in which county officials and mental health stakeholders gathered to discuss the prevalence of serious mental illnesses in America. Describes how jails are unequipped to handle the population of inmates that have a mental illness and identifies strategies taken to address the issues. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 20, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Lankford, Durbin, Kinzinger, Loesback Introduce Bill to Support Rural Hospitals
Congress members James Lankford, Dick Durbin, Adam Kinzinger, and Dave Loebsack introduced the Rural Hospital Relief Act which would update Medicare's Critical Access Hospital (CAH) designation. This act allows more rural hospitals to qualify for CAH status, increases their financial support so they can continue offering healthcare services in rural communities. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 20, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

IHS Cooperative Agreements Promote Tribal Self-Governance
The Indian Health Service (IHS) announces eight recipients of the Tribal Self-Governance Planning and Negotiation Cooperative Agreements for 2020. The awards support tribal organizations in preparing to assume responsibility of providing healthcare to their tribal members. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 20, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

In International Falls, the Last Psychiatrist for 100 Miles Just Retired
The only psychiatrist in rural International Falls, Minnesota retired, leaving no psychiatrists for more than 100 miles. Most rural communities are struggling with limited access to mental health services, describes the challenges with recruiting mental health providers in remote areas and how primary care physicians are taking on the work to fill in the gaps. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 20, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Poverty Grew in One-Third of Counties Despite Strong National Economy
Presents findings from an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau county estimates that the poverty rate grew in 30 percent of counties between 2016 and 2018, with the biggest increases in rural and Southern areas. Describes how areas with aging populations and decreasing job opportunities have led to unfavorable economic conditions. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 19, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

CMS Awards Funding to Combat Opioid Misuse Among Expectant Mothers and Improve Care for Children Impacted by the Crisis
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced ten states to receive funding under the Maternal Opioid Misuse (MOM) Model and eight cooperative agreements of the Integrated Care for Kids (InCK) Model in seven states. Both models aim to address public health challenges such as the opioid crisis and holistic maternal and child health. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 19, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

The Health Care Worker/Hospital Shortage in Rural America
Opinion piece addresses the issues that rural hospitals are faced with, such as physician shortages, lack of financial stability, and underinsured and aging populations. Describes policies that have been implemented in various states to recruit healthcare workers and help hospitals stay open in rural areas. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 18, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

White Earth Nation Takes a Unique Approach in Search for Answers to Opioid Deaths
American Indians in Minnesota have the highest opioid overdose death rate among Native Americans in the country. Researchers at the University of Minnesota Duluth medical school and White Earth Nation officials partnered to examine opioid overdoses among American Indians and identify underlying reasons of opiate use and ways to prevent future deaths. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 18, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

The Health Care Worker/Hospital Shortage in Rural America
Opinion piece addresses the issues that rural hospitals are faced with, such as physician shortages, lack of financial stability, and underinsured and aging populations. Describes policies that have been implemented in various states to recruit healthcare workers and help hospitals stay open in rural areas. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 18, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Increasing Collaboration Between Police and Mental Health Professionals
A sheriff's deputy encountered a man exhibiting psychosis and instead of arresting him, rushed him to the hospital where doctors discovered a large brain tumor. Blog article discusses the importance of law enforcement having access to mental health crisis training, includes resources for police-mental health collaborations. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 17, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Fewer Americans Have a Primary Care Doctor Now
Summarizes a study that found the number of Americans who have a primary care doctor is decreasing, which can have consequences on their health. The lead researcher attributes this decline to "inconvenience," and describes other contributing factors such as a lack of insurance or the shortage of primary care providers, especially in rural areas. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 17, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Rural North Dakota Grocery Stores Struggle Against Competition
Addresses the shortage of grocery stores in rural areas of North Dakota. Researchers and policymakers discuss possible strategies to combat food deserts, such as purchasing wholesale or creating a system where shoppers can purchase groceries online and pick up at food lockers. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 17, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Cardiovascular Deaths Are Higher in Rural Areas
Features a team of researchers at the University of Georgia who are using computer modeling to address the disparity in cardiovascular health among rural and urban populations. Describes how they will use a model to represent rural communities, leading to a greater understanding and more accurate policy recommendations to improve rural health. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 17, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

'We Can Help Ourselves:' Native Women Come Together to Confront High Rates of Maternal Mortality
U.S. maternal mortality rates are the highest in the developed world and Native American women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. Highlights the women of Indian Country who are training other indigenous women to become doulas and midwives, improving health outcomes for mothers and their children. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 16, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Call for Papers: Journal of Behavioral Medicine Special Issue on Rural Health
The Journal of Behavioral Medicine has issued a call for papers for a special issue on rural behavioral health. Submissions are due by June 1, 2020 and must be submitted on thejournal's website. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 16, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

National Effort To Prevent Rural Veteran Suicide May Come To Kerrville, Texas
Together with Veterans is a suicide prevention program funded by the Veterans Health Administration, Office of Rural Health to provide training and coaching for communities with a high proportion of rural veterans. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 13, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

Addressing Rural Care Disparities Through Evidence-Based Programs
Addresses the health disparities in rural areas as data finds rural Americans are at a higher risk of adverse health outcomes. Describes how evidence-based programs can be used to address social determinants of health and decrease the gap between rural and urban populations. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 13, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

'A Cesspool of a Dungeon': The Surging Population in Rural Jails
Discusses a new study analyzing jail populations and reports that while jail populations have been decreasing in urban areas, the number has been climbing in rural areas. Attributes the increase in rural incarceration to the opioid crisis in areas like Appalachia, emphasizes focusing on education, prevention, and treatment in order to decrease the number of inmates. (May require a subscription to view full article). (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 13, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news

USDA to Make $550 Million in Funding Available in 2020 to Deploy High-Speed Broadband Internet Infrastructure in Rural America
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announces that January 31, 2020 will mark the opening of the application window for the Reconnect Pilot Program's second round of funding. The additional $550 million will help fund improvements to broadband access in rural communities of America. (Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center)
Source: News stories via the Rural Assistance Center - December 12, 2019 Category: Rural Health Source Type: news