Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Rural Hospital Profitability During the Global COVID-19 Pandemic Requires Careful Interpretation

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government has provided enhanced financial support for hospitals and other health care providers to compensate for revenue loss and higher costs.  This brief from the North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center describes the pre-pandemic trend of rural hospital profitability and explains why possible increases in reported profitability during the pandemic may mask the long-term financial challenges of rural hospitals.

The Census Bureau Updates Criteria for Defining Urban Areas

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau published its final criteria for defining urban areas based on the results of the 2020 Decennial Census.  Rather than distinctions for urbanized area or an urban cluster, all areas with a population of at least 5,000 and containing at least 2,000 housing units will be designated urban areas. The notice defines rural as territory not defined as urban. Some federal and state agencies use the Census Bureau’s urban-rural classification for allocating funds, setting standards, and implementing aspects of their programs. Stakeholders should be aware that the changes to the urban area criteria also might affect the implementation of these programs.

Take the Telehealth Technology Survey Today

Every two years, the HRSA-funded National Telehealth Technology Assessment Resource Center (TTAC)  asks a variety of questions about the types of technologies, roles, and future plans of organizations and individuals using telehealth technology. TTAC uses this data to 1) identify technologies of interest for future evaluations, toolkits, video series, and other resources; 2) understand trends that are affecting the telehealth landscape regionally and nationwide; and 3) o determine how TTAC can better engage with its stakeholders. The survey takes less than 10 minutes and closes today, Thursday, March 31st.

One Stop Online for COVID Prevention and Treatment in Every County

The new website,, asks visitors to enter their county and then provides nearby locations for masks and respirators, vaccines and boosters, and all testing and treatment options. The site also maps out clinics and pharmacies with a test-to-treat option, where one can get tested and, if positive, immediately receive anti-viral pills.  According to the White House, there are now more than 2,000 test-to-treat locations; the new website, announced yesterday, makes it easier to find them.