Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Federal Court Blocks Public Charge Rule

On October 11, 2019, two District Courts issued nationwide preliminary injunctions to stop the Trump Administration’s public charge rule, which would have taken effect Oct. 15, 2019.  This proposal was opposed by NACHC, PACHC and many other organizations that expressed concern about the proposal’s impact on immigrant families and refugees. An article further explaining the ruling can be found here. A Kaiser Family Foundation study showed Community Health Centers   reported that immigrant patients have declined to enroll in or renew Medicaid coverage out of fear of becoming a public charge, even those patients who are not covered by this rule.

Pennsylvania Department of State Unveils New Licensure Processing Guide

The Pennsylvania Department of State this announced a brand new public facing Licensure Processing Guide. The guide breaks down the licensing process into three phases and provides the average length of time each phase will take as of the previous quarter. It also offers recommendations for how to shorten processing times. Additionally, new to the department’s website are two short videos, “How to Apply for a Professional License” and “What Happens to My Application.” The first boards featured in the Licensure Processing Guide are the Cosmetology, Nursing and Osteopathic Medicine Boards. More licensing boards will be built and additional licenses will be added to existing boards on a rolling basis, with the Medical, Real Estate and Engineering Boards in process now.

DEA Will Take Unwanted Vaping Devices

The Drug Enforcement Administration has announced that it will collect unwanted vaping devices during its National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which is scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow at collections sites throughout the United States. The announcement comes as updated CDC data shows the number of cases of a lung illness officials believe is linked to e-cigarette use and vaping has reached 1,604. (Sources: NPR’s “Shots,” 10/25; CNN, 10/24)

Republicans’ New Health Reform Plan

The Republican Study Committee (RSC), which is comprised of conservative House lawmakers, this week released a framework to reform the U.S. health care system by eliminating parts of the Affordable Care Act and providing states with more regulatory authority. RSC members have said the proposal is designed to be an alternative to so-called “Medicare-for-All” and other single-payer proposals being touted by Democrats. (Source: The Hill, 10/22)

Challenges to Mapping Broadband Availability

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) serves all congressional committees and Members of Congress by analyzing all aspects of current policies and the impact of proposed policy alternatives.  In this report, the CRS identifies the federal agencies involved in mapping broadband access across the United States, and factors contributing to the urban/rural digital divide.  The Federal Communications Commission currently has a map that shows residential internet service connections per 1,000 households and the CRS report seeks to make it easier to understand how rural areas are impacted.  The report can be accessed here.

A Guide to Telehealth Laws and Policy in 50 States

This annual report from the Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP) is the most current guide of Medicaid provider manuals, state laws, and regulations for telehealth in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Key findings this year include reimbursement for some form of live video in all states and DC, and 22 states with reimbursement for remote patient monitoring.  The report includes an interactive map of policies as well as an at-a-glance infographic.  Click here to access the guide.