Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Wolf Administration Announces Comprehensive Tool to Help Individuals Identify Resources for Substance Use Disorder Treatment, Related Support Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 6, 2018

Wolf Administration Announces Comprehensive Tool to Help Individuals Identify Resources for Substance Use Disorder Treatment, Related Support Services 

Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration today announced the launch of the Drug and Alcohol Referral Tool (DART), an online resource designed to help Pennsylvanians seeking substance use disorder treatment for themselves or a loved one find treatment options and other related services in their area. The tool is a centralized hub that consolidates available resources to assist people looking for services but are not sure where to begin.

“The Wolf Administration has been very focused on expanding resources for individuals with substance use disorder as we battle the opioid epidemic,” said Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Jen Smith. “A common concern that we have heard throughout the commonwealth is that individuals aren’t aware of the services and supports available to them. This web-based tool will allow individuals to have critical information on where to go and how to access the services they need.”

The DART tool provides resources based on a person’s age, county of residence, and veteran status, and can also list resources if a person is experiencing homelessness, has issues with transportation to treatment, or has legal concerns as well as programs that may be available depending on a person’s income. The tool does not evaluate eligibility for resources provided, but refers users to how they can obtain more information or assess their eligibility.

The tool is fully anonymous and can be translated into more than 100 languages.

“Substance use disorders often occur when a person experiences other medical and behavioral health concerns, and they may need additional resources to live a stable, healthy life in recovery,” said Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller. “Connecting people seeking treatment to comprehensive services that can help meet all of their needs from the start is critical as they work towards recovery.”

The DART tool can be accessed at www.ddap.pa.gov/GetHelp.

“Additionally, if an individual is need of a trained professional to assist them in finding substance use treatment or to learn more about programs, I encourage them to call Pennsylvania’s Get Help Now Hotline at 1-800-662-HELP. Regardless if an individual is insured, uninsured, or underinsured the hotline staff can connect you to the appropriate treatment resources you are seeking,” said Smith.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s response to the opioid crisis, visit www.pa.gov/opioids.

The Rural Hospital and Health System Affiliation Landscape – A Brief Review

Onyinye Oyeka, MPH; Fred Ullrich, BA; A. Clinton MacKinney, MD, MS; Joseph Lupica, JD; Keith Mueller, PhD

The shift from traditional fee-for-service to value-based payment requires major capital investment. Rural hospitals may be challenged by the volume-to-value transition because they may lack resources necessary to support new delivery models. As a result, many rural hospitals have considered affiliations with larger, better-funded regional health systems. However, rural hospital leaders often struggle to find the appropriate balance between local decision-making control and health system affiliation requirements. In this policy paper, we examine rural hospital and health system motivations for affiliation and present a non-exhaustive list of common affiliation structures with representative examples. Although hospital affiliation can take many forms, rural hospital leaders should develop a thoughtful strategy that weighs the benefits of affiliation versus independence.

Click to download a copy: The Rural Hospital and Health System Affiliation Landscape – A Brief Review

Comments Requested: Proposed Drug Pricing Changes for Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D Plans

Comments Requested: Proposed Drug Pricing Changes for Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D Plans – January 25.  CMS solicits public comments on potential Medicare policies intended to lower costs for beneficiaries and to provide MA and Part D plans with tools to lower the cost of prescription drugs.  Proposals include requiring Part D Explanation of Benefit statements to list drug pricing information, restricting Part D plans from prohibiting or penalizing a pharmacy from disclosing a lower cash price to an enrollee, and redefining the negotiated price paid to pharmacies.  Rural pharmacies report that payments from Part D plans are a major concern that affect their financial viability.

Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Report to Congress

Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Report to Congress.  In October, the CMS Innovation Center published the Report to Congress on the progress of the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration, which began in 2005 per the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 and has been re-authorized twice since.  The demonstration examines the effect of an alternative payment methodology for inpatient hospital services in small rural community hospitals with fewer than 51 beds that are not eligible to be Critical Access Hospitals.  Over a 12-year period, 33 hospitals participated at some point, and the demonstration increased payments on a per hospital, per year basis by 41 percent during fiscal year (FY) 2005-2009 and 42 percent during FY 2011-2013.

USDA Report on Rural Individuals’ Telehealth Practices

USDA Report on Rural Individuals’ Telehealth Practices.  The Economic Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture used detailed household data to analyze three basic telehealth activities as practiced by consumers age 15 or older: 1) online health research; 2) online health maintenance (communication with health providers, including communicating with medical practitioners, maintaining records, and paying bills); and 3) online health monitoring via devices that exchange data remotely with medical personnel.  The research found that rural residents were less likely than urban to engage in these telehealth activities, and the report breaks down the findings by income, education and other demographic factors.