- Bolstering Care for Veterans Aim of Bipartisan Tester Bill
- First Responders Are Being Trained on OBGYN Emergencies to Help Fill Gaps in Rural America
- A Year to Prepare – Organizers Work to Ensure 988 Helps Rural Residents Too
- Report: 113K U.S. Indigenous Individuals Live in Mental Health Care Deserts
- Small-Town Nursing Homes Closing Amid Staffing Crunch
- Luring Out-of-State Professionals Is Just the First Step in Solving Montana's Health Worker Shortage
- Transgender People in Rural America Struggle to Find Doctors Willing or Able to Provide Care
- Is Rural America Growing Again? Recent Data Suggests Yes
- After a Brief Pandemic Reprieve, Rural Workers Return to Life Without Paid Leave
- CMS Announces Increase in 2023 in Organizations and Beneficiaries Benefiting from Coordinated Care in Accountable Care Relationship
- Starting Tuesday, All U.S. Military Veterans in Suicidal Crisis Will Be Eligible for Free Care at Any VA or Private Facility
- Q&A: Free Flights for Rural People Seeking Healthcare
- 2020 Census Changes Leave Rural Health Clinics in Legal Grey Area
- Rural Seniors Benefit From Pandemic-Driven Remote Fitness Boom
- Mpox Education Program Targets LGBTQ Residents in Rural Appalachia
The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) released Health Alert 533 – 10/26/20 – ADV – Additional Factors to Determine Close Contacts of Persons with COVID-19. This Health Advisory provides recommendations and considerations for determining close contacts to people with SARS-CoV-2 infection. DOH provides this guidance based on available information about COVID-19 and it is subject to change. Click here to access all of the 2020 Health Alerts, Advisories and Updates.
On Oct. 14, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced expansion of the list of telehealth services that Medicare will reimburse at fee-for-service levels during the public health emergency (PHE). To further this goal, there is increased support for state Medicaid/CHIP agencies, including this CMS State Medicaid and CHIP Telehealth Toolkit. CMS guidance related to distant site telehealth services at FQHCs states any service approved under the Physician Fee Schedule can be furnished by any health care practitioner working within their scope of practice and delivered from any location. Payment to FQHCs for a distant site telehealth service is set at $92. See FQHC/RHC-specific guidance from CMS on telehealth coverage during the PHE here.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) has shared that states are now receiving the Abbott BinaxNOW antigen test cards and PA DOH would like to distribute some of these cards to any FQHCs who are interested and currently have a CLIA certificate. For more on this rapid test, see Pennsylvania Health Alert 532 – 10/08/20 – ADV – Point of Care Antigen Test Use and Interpretation or review the Abbott training toolkit. According to DOH, the tests demonstrate a 98% accuracy for positives and have about a 30% false negative rate. There is no cost to providers or patients for the tests. The form to order the test cards can be accessed here: Health Care Rapid Antigen Tests. DOH is processing the requests already received by region based on rates of positivity in the region.
The Senate adjourned and began their October Recess, despite the lack of a new COVID-19 relief package. Their recess is expected to last until November 9th. With the House also in recess until Nov. 16th, it is unlikely that another COVID-19 relief bill will pass soon. Yet, rural providers and patients across the country are in dire need of relief. Some rural counties are experiencing their greatest spikes in COVID-19 cases to date, and rural hospital beds are filling quickly, while the rural health workforce is being stretched thin.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) tweeted that he and Joni Ernst (R-IA) talked with top HHS officials about the 340B Drug Pricing Program and its importance to rural providers. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Senator Grassley explained the unique support the drug discounts bring to rural safety-net providers, especially during the pandemic. NRHA is hopeful that after election there will be an appetite for Congress to provide HHS with the tools they need to rein in these ongoing, unwarranted attacks from pharmaceutical manufacturers.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document regarding the Provider Relief Fund (PRF). Additionally, last week, HHS expanded the types of providers that are eligible for Phase 3 of the PRF to include behavioral health providers and residential treatment facilities, physician assistants and advanced practice nursing providers, and oral health providers, amongst others. Providers may submit applications until November 6, 2020. NRHA is analyzing the updated FAQ document to understand if there are outstanding questions HHS needs to answer.
By Tim Marema
The Covid-19 pandemic in rural America is “a nightmare waiting to happen, and we are seeing it play out right now in the United States,” says the former Kansas governor and secretary of Health and Human Services.
By Anya Slepyan
Building community and creating social change will require more inclusive narratives, according to a panel of Black, Indigenous, and Latinx women.
By Stephen V. Smith
The pandemic offers a chance for a new generation of residents to call rural America home. Taking advantage of the opportunity requires bandwidth and more.
This web portal, housed on the Rural Health Information Hub, aims to provide the most up-to-date and critical resources for rural health care systems preparing for and responding to a COVID-19 surge. It was developed by the COVID-19 Healthcare Resilience Working Group, a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies to support health care delivery during the pandemic.