Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Angel Flight East Provides Access to Care for Rural Communities

Angel Flight East (AFE) is an organization dedicated to rural health. Although their main office is located outside Philadelphia, they cover a 14-state territory.  They are operated by over 400 volunteer pilots who provide the aircraft and the time to fly people from rural areas to facilities for needed medical care.  “Rural & Rare Reach” is an AFE initiative that executes outreach to underserved populations to assist in access to high-level medical care.  Read the press release for more information.

2019 Health IT Take-Aways

Physicians Practice has published an opinion piece on the five health IT take-aways from 2019:

  • Virtual visits are becoming an everyday reality. Virtual visits, which have increased 340% in recent years, offer patients convenient access to care, save time and the expense of traveling to an appointment and provide care to those with limited access to it.       
  • Care has become more accessible. The growth of telemedicine and retail healthcare facilities are evidence of the demands of patients for convenient access to care.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are empowering providers. Research shows that emerging technology, such as AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics are making headway into healthcare. AI in healthcare is the use of complex algorithms and software to emulate human cognition in the analysis of complicated medical data. The primary aim of health-related AI applications is to analyze relationships between prevention or treatment techniques and patient outcomes.
  • Health tech is shifting focus to the patient and simplifying adoptionSome of the latest health tech advancements are as simple as downloading an app or plugging in a device to monitor health and empower patients to take responsibility for their well-being and more easily communicate with their provider.
  • Administrative burdens and inefficiencies still drain our time. Health IT in 2019 has not yet improved the quantity of time providers have with patients. The amount of time a physician sees patients continues to decrease. According to the Annals of Internal Medicine, doctors spend, on average, just 27 percent of their time treating patients.

13% of Americans Know Someone Who Died Unable to Afford Treatment

More than 13 percent of Americans – about 34 million people – say a friend or family member passed away in the last five years after being unable to afford treatment for a condition, according to a new Gallup poll. The survey, conducted among 1,100 people in 50 states, doesn’t confirm that a lack of care directly caused the deaths. But its findings suggest the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs and necessary care are keeping U.S. adults from addressing health issues. An overwhelming majority – 85 percent – of U.S. adults support legislation to lower prescription drug costs at the expense of the pharmaceutical industry, regardless of income level, education, and employment status.

Loved Ones Lost and Saved Due to Opioid Crisis

We have all read the data on lives lost due to the opioid epidemic. While certainly not a silver lining, but perhaps at least a factor to mitigate some of the pain of this loss of life, the epidemic is resulting in more individuals on the waiting list for an organ donation receiving that donation in time to extend their lives. Read more.

Number of Seniors Eligible for Both Medicare & Medicaid Rising

As many senior adults and their families have discovered, qualifying for Medicare does not guarantee that older adults will avoid potentially ruinous medical bills. Millions of seniors have come to rely on Medicaid, the taxpayer-funded program for lower income people, because of mounting healthcare costs. More than 12 million Americans – most over 65 – are now dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid coverage. Read more on this trend.

Draft HHS Rulemaking Would Remove Protections Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued a draft of its proposed changes to 45 CFR Part 75, the grant regulations known as “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for HHS Awards.” HHS proposes to remove prohibitions on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Read more about the proposal in the Washington Post.

Updated Emergency Preparedness Requirements Effective Nov. 29

The federal Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) recently released emergency preparedness resources to help providers and suppliers comply with the recently released and updated Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Emergency Preparedness Rule:

Enrollment Assistance for Business Owners

The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) is for small employers who want to provide health or dental insurance to their employees. In previous years, Navigators and certified application counselors (CACs) were permitted to assist employers with direct enrollments into plans. Employers can no longer use HealthCare.gov for enrolling in, managing, and paying premiums for SHOP coverage. Now enrollments are initiated through individual insurance companies or SHOP-registered agents or brokers. Learn more about the process by visiting  Healthcare.gov. You can refer business owners to the SHOP Call Center at 1-800-706-7893 for additional questions.