Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Facility-Based Ambulatory Care Provided to Rural Medicare Beneficiaries in 2014

Ambulatory care refers to medical services performed same day on an outpatient basis, without admission to a hospital or other facility, and includes services ranging from wellness and disease management to surgical treatment and rehabilitation.  Not much is known, however, about the ambulatory care that rural Medicare patients typically receive.  This chartbook from the North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center uses available Medicare claims data to describe costs and common diagnoses for Medicare beneficiaries at rural ambulatory care facilities (excluding private practitioners).

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

The Office on Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recognizes April as the month to raise awareness of sexual assault, and increase understanding of its effects that go well beyond targeted victims.  While prevalence of the consequences of violence is higher among women than among men, decades-old research on children who are exposed to domestic violence shows life-long impact on chronic conditions for physical and mental health.  The New England Journal of Medicine (NEMJ) notes that intimate partner violence is “more prevalent during a woman’s lifetime than conditions such as diabetes, depression, or breast cancer, yet it often remains unrecognized by health professionals.”  In the same editorial, NEMJ refers to a strategic framework to improve the response of health care systems implemented here at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).  The HRSA Strategy to Address Intimate Partner Violence includes a partnership with the Administration for Children and Families to increase coordination between clinical and social response systems.

The Latest from ERS on Rural Poverty and Well-Being

The Economic Research Service (ERS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture released data from its research on the economic, social, and demographic factors affecting rural poverty.  The ERS reports that there are 353 persistently poor counties in the United States, meaning that 20 percent or more of their populations were living in poverty over the course of several decades. Eighty-five percent of these counties are rural.  In 2017, more than one-third of non-metro families headed by a female with no spouse present were poor (33.8 percent), and nearly half of those with related children were poor (44.4 percent).

Who Isn’t Using Patient Portals and Why

Experts in health management, sociology, and psychology analyzed responses to the 2017 Health Information National Trends Survey to examine characteristics of patients who do not access electronic medical records and communications from their provider through online portals.  The researchers found that of the sixty-three percent of patients who reported not using a portal during the prior year, the nonusers were more likely to be male, be on Medicaid, lack a regular provider, and have less than a college education compared to those who did access portals.  Though we don’t typically include articles requiring paid access in this space, the findings may have implications on the advancement of telehealth for rural areas

CDC: Drug Poisoning Mortality in the United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released the latest figures on drug poisoning deaths at the national, state, and county levels from the years 1999 through 2017.  Updated data collection and methodology over that time period allows researchers to capture death rates in counties with small population sizes or small numbers of deaths, permitting reports on urban/rural trends by state (see pull-down menu under the heading “Options”).

Rural Health Leadership Radio: A Conversation with Lisa Davis

The global budget is underway in Pennsylvania, but there is a lot more than that taking place. In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio™ we are talking about Medicaid expansion, rural hospital budget transformation, medical student community orientation and other topics of interest to rural health leaders.  We are having that conversation with Lisa Davis, Director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health and Outreach Associate Professor of Health Policy and Administration at Penn State.

“Pennsylvania is considered to be one of the most rural states in the nation.”

In her role, Lisa is responsible for the overall direction and leadership of the state office of rural health, including ensuring that the office meets its mission of being a source of networking, coordination, and technical assistance to organizations focused on rural health care delivery; developing and sustaining linkages with state and national partners; and seeking ways to expand the office’s role in enhancing the health status of rural Pennsylvanians.

“Medicaid expansion has been very important here in the state for a number of reasons.”

On the national, state, and university levels, Davis serves on a wide range of boards of directors, advisory committees, and task forces focused on rural health policy, rural health research, economic development, outreach and education, and vulnerable populations and specific health issues such as oral health and cancer.  She has extensive experience in the field of rural health research.

“They learned about what it means to be those individuals, what it means to live there, what the social structure is, what the economy is like in those communities.”

Davis is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, an Outstanding Leadership Award from the Pennsylvania Rural Health Association, and an Award for Individual Contributions to Public Health from the Pennsylvania Public Health Association.  The Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health received the Award of Merit from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health.

She holds a graduate degree in Health Administration from Penn State.