Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Reveals Virtual 2021 Pennsylvania Farm Show Schedule of Events

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today shared the schedule for the virtual 2021 Pennsylvania Farm Show. Traditionally held in Harrisburg at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, the department announced a move to a virtual show as Pennsylvania continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In January, we will celebrate Pennsylvania agriculture together with the virtual 2021 Farm Show,” said Agriculture Secretary Russ Redding. “We have seen over this extraordinary past year that agriculture is not only an asset to our communities and our economy, but it is absolutely essential to each and every one of our lives.”

“In January, we’ll introduce you to some of the extraordinary people in the industry who have fed our commonwealth, our nation, and our world through good times and bad,” added Redding. “You could learn to cultivate your own garden, or to liven up your meals with inspiration from the virtual Culinary Connection, or how to tie-dye a t-shirt with plants. Just like our agriculture industry, this Farm Show will offer up bounty and variety to enrich your life.”

The full schedule of events is available at Some staples of the show include:

  • The traditional kick-off of each day with the National Anthem,
  • 4-H demonstrations,
  • Live ducking pond and beehive cams,
  • A Cultivating Tomorrow panel discussion series,
  • STEM demonstrations that can be recreated at home with kids,
  • Culinary demonstrations,
  • Veteran-farmer stories,
  • DIY plant-based projects and activities,
  • Segments about the history of Farm Show,
  • Agriculturally themed bedtime stories, and more!

In addition to live and pre-recorded events that will be featured on the Pennsylvania Farm Show Facebook page and the Pennsylvania Cable Network, the Farm Show will host Virtual Exhibits at These more than 180 virtual exhibits include videos, activities, and other learning opportunities that range from all things about bluebirds, gourds, and cider to how to cook dried beans, how to raise hogs, or make a blue ribbon-winning apple pie.

The full schedule of virtual events will run from Monday, January 11 through Friday, January 15, 2021, with previews and light programming running Saturday, January 9 and Sunday, January 10.

If that’s not enough opportunities to immerse yourself in Pennsylvania agriculture, you can follow the Pennsylvania Farm Show on Instagram, where they’ll host 20 takeovers that will take you behind the scenes on Pennsylvania’s farms. Follow along to learn the innerworkings of everything from goat or poultry farming, to organic agriculture or bees or rabbits. The Instagram takeovers will run from Saturday, January 9 through Saturday, January 16, 2021.

“We hope that this year’s virtual show can offer a whole new perspective on a beloved tradition,” said Redding. “We look forward to being welcomed into homes across the commonwealth as we Cultivate Tomorrow.”

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania hospitals began receiving shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine the week of December 14. Through December 20:

  • 97 hospitals have received 97,500 vaccine doses.
  • 17,700 doses of the vaccine have been administered.

A spreadsheet of facilities that have received vaccine can be found here.

Links to updated guidance and Frequently Asked Questions can be found below:

Frequently Asked Questions for Businesses Operating During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency:

Guidance for Businesses in the Construction Industry Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency:

Guidance for Businesses in the Restaurant Industry Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public:

COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses:

CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Engagement Calls-December 2020  

CMS hosts varied recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19. These sessions are open to members of the healthcare community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.

Call details are below. Conference lines are limited so we highly encourage you to join via audio webcast, either on your computer or smartphone web browser. You are welcome to share this invitation with your colleagues and professional networks. These calls are not intended for the press.

Calls recordings and transcripts are posted on the CMS podcast page at:

COVID-19 Care Site-Specific Call

CMS-CDC Nursing Home Stakeholder Call

When: December 22, 2020; 1-2pm ET

Where: Participant Line: (833) 614-0820   (Conference ID: 7979889)

Overview: Please join CDC and CMS for this call with Nursing Homes focused on COVID 19 vaccination among residents and staff. During this call, you’ll receive:

  • Updates on Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program;
  • Critical clinical, safety, and infection prevention and control considerations associated with implementation;
  • Communication resources you can use to address resident and staff questions and concerns; and
  • General reminders for the holiday season.

A questions and answer session will follow updates.

Acute Hospital at Home Q&A Session

When: Tuesday, December 22, 2020 10:30 AM-11:00 AM

Where: Participant Line: (833) 614-0820  (Conference ID: 3985903)

Join CMS for an Acute Hospital Care at Home Q&A Session. This call provides an opportunity for health systems interested in participating as well as hospitals currently enrolled in the program to seek clarification from CMS subject matter experts.  Prior to the call, please review the publicly posted FAQs to verify if an answer to your question is available. Acute hospital care at home FAQs (PDF)

For the most current information including call schedule changes, please click here

To keep up with the important work the White House Task Force is doing in response to COVID-19 click here: For information specific to CMS, please visit the Current Emergencies Website.

Emergency Obstetric Training Needed in Rural Hospitals without Obstetric Units

Hospitals that remain open after obstetric services close may encounter challenges providing emergency births or managing other obstetric complications.  As part of a larger survey to understand local capacity for emergency obstetric services, researchers at the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center asked nurse manager and emergency department administrators to describe the types of trainings and/or resources that would be needed to help better prepare their hospitals to handle obstetric emergencies. Read more here.

GHPC Report: Promoting Access to Maternal Care for Women with SUD in Rural Communities

The Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) reviews the challenges in rural areas to caring for women with mental health challenges and substance use disorder (SUD).  Among the state- and federal-level innovations currently improving access to care is the HRSA/FORHP-supported Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies (RMOMS) program initiated last year.  Read the report here.

Healthy People 2030 Releases New Subset of Measures

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released a new subset of objectives and a new set of health measures as part of the Healthy People 2030 initiative: Leading Health Indicators (LHIs) and Overall Health and Well-Being Measures (OHMs). Together, LHIs and OHMs will help public health and healthcare professionals, businesses, policymakers, national organizations and community leaders set priorities and track nationwide progress toward improving health and well-being. Learn more.

Strengthen Frontline Teams with UpSkillMA

UpSkillMA is a program from the Weitzman Institute to help your medical assistants improve their skills. Now UpSkillMA offers a new “self-paced” course format for its continuing education courses for medical assistants and other frontline staff. Participants can register for courses any time that is convenient for them, without having to wait for a scheduled cohort. All sessions in the course are released to participants at one time, so they can complete the course at their own pace. Learn more about UpSkilMA’s self-paced and instructor-led options.