Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Preparing for Medicaid/CHIP Unwinding

In March 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) temporarily waived certain eligibility requirements for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to help people keep their health coverage during the pandemic. However, with the public health emergency ends, states will soon be required to restart eligibility reviews for this public health insurance covering more than 83 million beneficiaries of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan.  Nearly a quarter of individuals under age 65 who live in rural areas are covered by Medicaid.  When the eligibility waivers end, some estimates count that up to 15 million people will lose their coverage through a process called “unwinding.” To help states prepare for the change, CMS will host a monthly learning series from May through October of this year. The Communications Toolkit, linked in the headline above, has information to help beneficiaries understand the steps to renew their coverage.

NEW RELEASE: A Playbook for New Rural Healthcare Partnership Models of Investment

Just Released! Build Healthy Places Network is excited to announce the release of our latest publication “A Playbook for New Rural Healthcare Partnership Models of Investment”

Many rural communities across the country face challenges in meeting community needs around health, workforce development, financial stability, infrastructure, etc. However there are calls to change the narrative around areas existing outside of urban centers to recognize the unique assets embedded in these enduring rural communities. Recently the Biden Administration embarked on a 30-stop tour of rural areas across the country to promote the White House’s Rural Playbook, a guide for communities to access the $1.2 trillion in funding now available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. But what are the implications and opportunities for rural healthcare organizations?

Build Healthy Places Network’s Playbook for New Rural Healthcare Partnership Models of Investments is an action-oriented guide designed for healthcare organizations who want to pursue partnerships with rural community and economic development and other sectors, to create the community conditions that support improved community health. After interviewing dozens of experts we share case studies highlighting core strategies used by healthcare entities as examples for future multi-sector rural partnerships to follow.

New Surgeon General Advisory Sounds Alarm on Health Worker Burnout and Resignation

United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a new Surgeon General’s Advisory highlighting the urgent need to address the health worker burnout crisis across the country. Health workers, including physicians, nurses, community and public health workers, nurse aides, among others, have long faced systemic challenges in the health care system even before the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to crisis levels of burnout.

The Surgeon General’s Advisory Addressing Health Worker Burnout lays out recommendations for health care organizations, health insurers, health technology companies, policymakers, academic institutions, researchers, and communities to address health worker burnout and ensure their well-being – so that health workers can thrive and better answer their call as healers.

New: Mental Health Resource Guide

As Mental Health Awareness Month draws to a close, the Public Health Communications Collaborative has developed a new directory of resources to help you communicate about this important public health issue all year. Our guide spotlights resources for public health and health professionals, parents and caregivers, employers and employees, youth, and anyone who is looking for general mental health information and guidance on how to connect with a mental health professional.

As we navigate life’s challenges compounded by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, while processing unspeakable national tragedies such as the Buffalo and Uvalde shootings in the last two weeks, ensuring our communities have access to mental health resources is crucial to their overall health and wellbeing.

USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Help Repair Affordable Rental Housing in Rural Communities

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced that USDA is seeking applications for grants to help owners of rental housing repair and rehabilitate their units, if they make them available for low- and very-low-income rural residents. USDA is providing the funding through the Housing Preservation Grant program.

Eligible applicants include town or county governments, public agencies, federally recognized Indian tribes, and nonprofit and faith-based organizations.

USDA encourages applicants to consider projects that will advance the following key priorities:

  • Assisting rural communities recover economically from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly disadvantaged communities;
  • Ensuring all rural residents have equitable access to USDA Rural Development (RD) programs and benefits from RD-funded projects; and,
  • Reducing climate pollution and increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change through economic support to rural communities.

USDA does not provide funding directly to individual homeowners under this program.

Paper pre-applications are due by 4:30 p.m. local time on July 11, 2022, at the Rural Development state office where the project will be located. Electronic pre-applications are due by 4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, July 11, 2022. For a list of offices, visit the state office website.

See page 31976 of the May 26, 2022, Federal Register for additional information.

If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Actions to Strengthen Food Supply Chains, Level the Playing Field for Growers, and Lower Prices for American Consumers

USDA announced a suite of new actions delivering on key commitments from President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, including issuing a new Packers & Stockyards Act rulemaking, making available $200 Million to expand competition in meat processing, and investing $25 million in workforce training

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced more support, resources, and new rules that will strengthen the American food supply chain, promote fair and competitive agricultural markets, prevent abuse of farmers by poultry processors and make prices fairer for farmers and American consumers. These actions build on President Biden’s historic whole-of-government effort to promote competition in the American economy and fulfill key pillars of the Meat and Poultry Supply Chain Action Plan launched in January by President Biden, Secretary Vilsack, and Attorney General Garland. These actions combat market dominance by a small number of major meat and poultry processors in key markets, where excessive concentration and control has led to lower prices paid to producers and higher prices paid by consumers.

Read the full announcement here.

The 23rd Annual “State of the Air” Report Released


The American Lung Association (ALA) has released its 23rd annual “State of the Air” report that shows that more than 40% of Americans still live with unhealthy air, despite some nationwide progress. The report’s key findings highlight the burden of living with unhealthy air and how it falls disproportionately on people of color. The report also recommends actions you can take to protect yourself and your communities from the dangers of air pollution. Read Pennsylvania’s State of the Air Report.

Substance Use Disorder Loan Repayment Program is Now Open in Pennsylvania


The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) has announced the opening of the substance use disorder (SUD) Loan Repayment Program (LRP). This program is aimed toward aiding SUD treatment and Single County Authority (SCA)-funded case management professionals with repaying their outstanding qualifying educational loans. Applications must be submitted via the online application portal by May 26, 2022. Eligible practitioners must have the capacity to provide SUD treatment or SCA-funded case management services at approved practice site(s) and meet the requirements in Section 6 of the Project Summary. Selected candidates must demonstrate a minimum of two prior years of experience in the SUD field as well as agree to a service commitment of two additional years. For more information, view the Application Guidance. Questions regarding the grants and the application process should be emailed to

Progress on Advancing the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons


The U.S. Government has released a first-of-its-kind progress report on the implementation of President Biden’s Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Around the World. You can read the full news release here that also includes a statement by Health & Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra on the report. Also, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, Admiral Rachel Levine provided remarks at an Out for Health Conference in Texas regarding the LGBTQI+ community that you can read by clicking here.