Pennsylvania Department of Health announces Stop Overdoses in PA Week, December 10-14, 2018

Stop Overdoses in PA Week is a statewide initiative to give the overdose-reversal medication naloxone to Pennsylvanians for free and get help for residents suffering from the disease of opioid-use disorder.

“Last year, more than 5,000 Pennsylvanians died from an opioid overdose, and we all have to work together to stop this trend,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “My administration is making the overdose-reversal medication naloxone available for free on December 13 to any Pennsylvanian who wants it at 71 locations throughout the state . While naloxone will stop the overdose, it’s important to also call 911 for additional life-saving help and to get the patient to a hospital.”

During Stop Overdoses in PA: Get Help Now Week, residents will be able to go to a state health center, and some local health departments on December 13 to get the overdose reversal medication naloxone. This medication reverses the effects of an opioid overdose and gives the patient a chance at recovery.

For more information and to access press releases and other materials, see https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Opioids/Pages/Stop-Overdoses-in-PA.aspx.

Changes to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System Pertinent to Small and Rural Practices, 2018

Abiodun Salako, MPH; A. Clinton MacKinney, MD, MS; Fred Ullrich, BA; and Keith Mueller, PhD

The Quality Payment Program (QPP) was established by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). The QPP consolidates existing Medicare pay-for-performance programs – the Physician Quality Reporting System, the Physician Value-based Payment Modifier, and the Medicare Electronic Health Record Incentive Program for Eligible Professionals – into a unified, cohesive program. MIPS is one of the two tracks of the QPP program and the regulatory framework for MIPs was originally provided by MACRA and CMS’s calendar year (CY) 2017 QPP final rule. This brief discusses changes to the original MIPS regulatory framework brought about by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 and the CY2018 QPP final rule.

Click to download a copy: Changes to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System Pertinent to Small and Rural Practices, 2018

USDA Announces Investments in Rural Community Facilities That Will Benefit More Than 761,000 Americans

WASHINGTON, Nov. 28, 2018 – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $291 million to build or improve community infrastructure and essential services for 761,000 residents in 18 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

“Modern community facilities and infrastructure are key drivers of rural prosperity,” Hazlett said. “As partners to municipal, tribal and nonprofit leaders, we are investing in rural communities to ensure quality of life and economic opportunity now and for generations to come.”

USDA is investing in 41 projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The funding helps rural small towns, cities and communities make infrastructure improvements and provide essential facilities such as schools, libraries, courthouses, public safety facilities, hospitals, colleges and day care centers. For example:

In Pennsylvania, six projects have been funded through this program:

  • Westmoreland Homesteads Volunteer Fire Department is receiving a loan in the amount of $1,082,500 to help construct a fire station. The current station is more than 80 years old, has drainage problems and is too costly to renovate. This project will benefit Mount Pleasant Township’s 11,153 residents.
  • North Coventry Township will use a $524,440 loan to provide additional financing to help construct a public works building and salt shed on a 22-acre parcel owned by the Township. The project will benefit the township’s 7,866 residents.
  • SRUF Student Housing, LLC is receiving a $3,000,000 loan to implement an energy savings project for six student housing dormitories at Slippery Rock University.
  • Lower Turkeyfoot Township will use a loan in the amount of $50,000 to construct an equipment maintenance facility and garage. The current building is no longer up to code and is unsafe. This project will benefit the 672 residents in the rural area of Lower Turkeyfoot Township.
  • Blair County Airport Authority is receiving a $1,957,570 loan to construct two airplane hangars and refinance debt. The current hangars at the airport in Kane Borough are occupied or in need of replacement. This project will benefit 2,644 people.
  • Keystone College will use a $9,800,000 loan to provide permanent financing to restructure debt to strengthen the college’s financial position. Keystone College has been in operation for 150 years and is a major employer in this rural part of Lackawanna County in northeastern Pennsylvania. This investment will benefit the college’s 1,523 students.

The projects announced today will help improve the quality of life in rural areas in Alaska, Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.

More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities program funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally and state-recognized Native American tribes. Applicants and projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. Loan amounts have ranged from $10,000 to $165 million.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic(PDF, 190 KB).

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention

Multilevel issues of place and access confront American rural populations and intensify disparities in cancer risk factors, incidence, mortality, and other outcomes. Rural cancer control is a national priority and a key target in any strategic plan to sanction research and policy initiatives to reduce cancer health disparities. CEBP presents this Rural Cancer Control Focus Issue following a recently held NCI-sponsored conference assessing the current state of rural cancer control research.



Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention Editorial Office 
American Association for Cancer Research  |  Publications Division
615 Chestnut Street  |  17th Floor  |  Philadelphia, PA 19106-4404
Phone: (215) 440-9300  |  Fax: (215) 440-9337  |  E-mail:  cebp@aacr.org

Call for Workshop Presenters: 2019 Pennsylvania Mental Health and Wellness Conference

Submit a workshop proposal for the 2019 Pennsylvania Mental Health and Wellness Conference in Harrisburg. The deadline to submit a workshop proposal is Friday, November 30, 2018.

Sessions run 75 minutes in length and they should be interactive and include time for audience questions. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

Family and Caregiver Support

  • Sibling support
  • Self-care
  • Mindfulness
  • Respite
  • Family Engagement
  • Supports for Fathers

Organizational Development and Sustainability

  • Developing and Mentoring Effective Family Leaders
  • Social Media, Making it Work for Your Agency
  • Developing Diverse Funding Sources

Supports for Specific Populations

  • Early Childhood Mental Health
  • Military families
  • First generation, immigrant families
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender & questioning (LGBTQIA+) topics
  • Multi-ethnic families and children
  • Transition-age Services and Supports

Research to Practise

  • Brain/Neurobiological Research
  • Research and Evidence-based Practices/Interventions
  • Emerging Practices
  • New Research Findings
  • Early Childhood Mental Health
  • First Episode Psychosis
  • Trauma-informed Research Findings

Special Areas of Interest

  • Suicide Prevention and Awareness
  • Restorative Justice
  • Mental Health and Technology
  • Substance Use
  • Healing through the Arts
  • Rights Protection
  • Holistic Health, Wellness, and Recovery
  • Technology and Recovery

Submit Workshop Proposal online or download application.

For inquiries regarding workshops, please contact:

Susan Caban, Director of Education, NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania

Email: scaban@namikeystonepa.org

Phone: 412-366-3788

United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s Operation Prevention Launches New Teen Video Challenge

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the DEA Educational Foundation, and Discovery Education announce the launch of the third annual Operation Prevention Video Challenge – a peer-to-peer platform for communicating messages about the dangers of opioid misuse.

Part of DEA’s Operation Prevention program, the video challenge encourages teens to create a 30-60 second original public service announcement that alerts other students about the dangers of prescription opioid misuse and heroin use. Overall, the challenge aims to inspire teens to research the opioid epidemic, identify its widespread impact on the country and the substances’ harmful effects on the body, and start a social movement that encourages authentic dialogue about this critical issue. The top 10 finalist videos will be uploaded to operationprevention.com for a public vote to determine the People’s Choice winner. Winning PSAs will be featured on-air, and across Discovery Education and DEA digital and social media platforms.

Prizes for winning submissions, include:

  • 1st place: $10,000;
  • 2nd place: $5,000;
  • 3rd place: $1,000; and
  • People’s Choice: A VIP trip to Quantico, Virginia, for a tour of the DEA Training Academy – Do you have what it takes to be a Junior Special Agent for the day?

The Operation Prevention Video Challenge is now open and will close onMarch 6, 2019. Public voting for the People’s Choice winner will take place April 11-25, 2019. United States high school students, ages 13 and older, can register and find more information about the challenge here.

CMS Report on Telehealth in Medicare

CMS Report on Telehealth in Medicare. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published a report to Congress detailing the state of telehealth in the Medicare program. The report has four areas of focus: 1) Medicare beneficiaries whose care would benefit the most from telehealth expansion; 2) activities by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation that increased access to telehealth; 3) the types of high-volume services suitable for telehealth;  and 4) barriers that might prevent the expansion of telehealth. CMS found that, overall, telehealth utilization among Medicare-fee-service beneficiaries has increased, though services have primarily focused on the needs of rural beneficiaries.

Changes to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System Pertinent to Small and Rural Practices

Changes to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System Pertinent to Small and Rural PracticesThe Quality Payment Program (QPP) was established by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). The QPP consolidates existing Medicare pay-for-performance programs – the Physician Quality Reporting System, the Physician Value-based Payment Modifier, and the Medicare Electronic Health Record Incentive Program for Eligible Professionals – into a unified, cohesive program. The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) is one of the two tracks of the QPP program, and the regulatory framework for MIPs was originally provided by MACRA and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ calendar year (CY) 2017 QPP final rule. This brief discusses changes to the original MIPS regulatory framework brought about by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 and the CY 2018 QPP final rule of importance to small rural practices in the categories of quality, cost, interoperability and others.

Rural Health Recap: Age, Income, and Health Status in Rural Communities

Rural Health Recap: Age, Income, and Health Status in Rural CommunitiesThe Rural Health Research Centers provide timely, quality, national research on the most pressing rural health issues, occasionally exploring the same topics from various perspectives. The Rural Health Research Gateway compiles key findings on shared topics from the research centers into Rural Health Research Recaps.  Most recently, a Recap was developed from studies that cover the implications of income or age on health-seeking behavior, health status, access, or utilization of care, and what it means for older and lower-income individuals living in rural communities.