Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Trump Administration Issues Second Round of Sweeping Changes to Support U.S. Healthcare System During COVID-19 Pandemic

At President Trump’s direction, and building on its recent historic efforts to help the U.S. healthcare system manage the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today issued another round of sweeping regulatory waivers and rule changes to deliver expanded care to the nation’s seniors and provide flexibility to the healthcare system as America reopens. These changes include making it easier for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to get tested for COVID-19 and continuing CMS’s efforts to further expand beneficiaries’ access to telehealth services.

Full press release

PCOH Recognized by ASTDD for Best Practice Approach

The Pennsylvania Coalition of Oral Health (PCOH) has been recognized by the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) as an example of the best practice approach to State and Territorial Oral Health Programs and Collaborative Partnerships. We are proud to share the story of the origins and evolution of PCOH into the thriving coalition that it is today. Thank you to our stakeholders, old and new, for your contributions to this success.

Click here to download the report.

PCOH Announces CWF Equipment Grant Awardees

The Pennsylvania Coalition for Oral Health (PCOH) is pleased to announce the recipients of grants totaling $153,250 in the inaugural round of our Community Water Fluoridation (CWF) Equipment Grant Program. The CWF Equipment Grant Program issues grant funds to community water systems wishing to initiate, update, or expand the basic public health practice of community water fluoridation. By supporting the public health measure of water fluoridation, PCOH seeks to improve the overall health and well-being of Pennsylvanians served by community water systems. Congratulations to each of the grantees! PCOH is honored to support the work that water systems are doing throughout PA to provide optimally fluoridated water to their residents.

The awardees are:

  • Erie Water Works
  • Downington Municipal Water Authority
  • Harrison Township Water Authority
  • Greenville Water Authority
  • Reading Area Water Authority
  • Sewickley Water Authority
  • Shippensburg Borough Authority

This program is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under Grant NU58DP006467: Using Surveillance Data and Evidence-based Interventions to Improve Oral Health Outcomes in Pennsylvania and administered by PCOH.

Rates of Living Alone by Rurality and Age

Living alone is associated with higher risk of social isolation and poor health for populations without access to appropriate support and resources. Little is known about how rates of living alone vary by rurality, however.  In this infographic, the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center identifies rates of living alone for all adults and within specific age groups using two classifications of rurality.  The report can be accessed here.

Pennsylvania Governor’s Administration Highlights Comprehensive Food Security Efforts

 As Pennsylvania works to mitigate the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus, the Wolf Administration has made it a priority to address food insecurity in the commonwealth by protecting our local supply chain, advocating for necessary waivers and resources, and ensuring equal access to healthy food for all.

Pennsylvania is home to a strong and diverse agriculture and food industry, with a reputation for innovation and generosity, that creates a strong foundation for food security in the commonwealth. Ensuring Pennsylvanians have equal access to food is a critical piece of a large, complex puzzle.

First Lady Frances Wolf has called for healthy Pennsylvanians to consider volunteering to help those who need it, reminding them to follow all safety precautions while doing so.

Learn more about Food Security in Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania has the 10th Smallest Increase in Unemployment Due to Coronavirus – WalletHub Study

The U.S. unemployment rate is still on an upward trend, with roughly 30.3 million Americans now having lost their jobs since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, despite the fact that some states have already begun to selectively reopen businesses. Today, WalletHub released updated rankings for the States with the Biggest Increases in Unemployment Due to the Coronavirus as a follow-up to our report on the Cities with the Biggest Growth in Unemployment Due to COVID-19, along with accompanying videos.

To identify which states’ workforces have been hurt most by COVID-19, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on increases in unemployment claims. We used this data to rank the most impacted states in both the latest week for which we have data (April 20) and overall since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis (March 16). Below, you can see highlights from the report, along with a WalletHub Q&A. To see the states most impacted since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.

Increase in Pennsylvania Unemployment Due to Coronavirus (1=Worst, 25=Avg.):

  • 1,010.96% Increase in Unemployment Claims (April 2020 vs April 2019)
    • 131,282 the week of April 20, 2020 vs 11,817 the week of April 22, 2019
    • 12th lowest increase in the U.S.
  •  380.92% Increase in the Number of Unemployment Claims (April 2020 vs January 2020)
    • 131,282 the week of April 20, 2020 vs 27,298 the week of January 1, 2020
    • 8th lowest increase in the U.S.
  • 2,337.93% Increase in Unemployment Claims Since Pandemic Started
    • 1,620,512 between the week of March 16, 2020 and the week of April 20, 2020 vs 69,314 between the week of March 18, 2019 and the week of April 22, 2019
    • 20th lowest increase in the U.S.

To view the full report and your state’s rank, please visit: