Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

How Strengthening Employee Health Benefits with Nonstop Wellness Works

With concerns around workforce recruitment and retention on the top of most leaders’ minds in 2022, Nonstop Administration and Insurance Services, Inc. (Nonstop) and the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) have partnered to create a strategic executive guide to support community health center leaders committed to fostering employee retention and resilience and advancing organizational equity. Click here to read the ACU guide.

An Effort Was Launched to Make Baby Formula Information More Accessible

As part of the Biden Administration’s effort to make information on baby formula more accessible to families, the Department of Human Services (HHS) has launched the Information for Families During the Formula Shortage website which contains a comprehensive list of resources and guidance for families seeking formula during the shortage. This site is also available in SpanishVietnameseHaitian Creole, and Navajo. HHS has also created a Baby Formula Shortage Social Media Toolkit that provides social media graphics and social media copy for posts, also available in SpanishVietnamese and Haitian Creole. The graphics and copy help direct people to the HHS site and offer resources to find infant formula, as well as guidance and best practices for families in need of baby formula.

Heart Disease Could Be a Risk for Patients with Long COVID-19

An estimated one in five adults, 18–64 years old, who had COVID-19 previously will develop at least one persistent symptom related to the infection, a CDC analysis found. Now, new treatment guidelines recognize that patients with long COVID-19 could be at risk for heart disease. The guidance recommends that physicians carefully screen patients for potential cardiovascular complications following long COVID-19. Even patients who are not at high risk for heart disease or complications may be at risk for future health problems, the guidance says.

Study Finds Adding Diabetes Screening to COVID-19 Testing Has Benefits

Integrating rapid diabetes screening into community-based COVID-19 testing sites has the potential to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and entry into care for diabetes, according to JAMA Network Open. Building on an existing community-based COVID-19 testing program, they found that integrating rapid testing for diabetes was feasible, reached low-income Latinx individuals, and identified many persons with prediabetes and diabetes, most of whom lacked access to services in formal health care settings. Leveraging pandemic-related public health responses represents an important opportunity for engaging socioeconomically disadvantaged populations in care for diabetes.

The CDC Lifts COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Flights to U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the order requiring persons to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States was rescinded on June 12, 2022. This means that air passengers will not need to get tested and show the COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 prior to boarding a flight to the U.S.

Pennsylvania Issues Updated MA Bulletin on COVID-19 Vaccine

On June 10, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) issued MA Bulletin 08-20-68 Addition to Medical Assistance Program Fee Schedule for Administration of Ready-to-Use SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine. The bulletin informs Medical Assistance (MA) providers that DHS added Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes 0051A, 0052A, 0053A, and 0054A to the MA Program Fee Schedule for the administration of the ready-to-use novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) vaccine manufactured by Pfizer, Inc. The language in this MAB was revised to clarify that FQHCs and RHCs may not bill for the COVID-19 vaccine they receive at no cost; however, they may bill for the administration of the vaccine they receive at no cost.

Pennsylvania Issues Teledentistry Guidelines and Dental Fee Schedule Updates

The purpose of Bulletin Notification 08-22-13 Teledentistry Guidelines and Dental Fee Schedule is to notify dentists, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) that the Department of Human Services (DHS) will pay for teledentistry, effective with dates of service on and after May 2, 2022, as well as to announce that procedure codes for counseling services have been added to the MA Program Fee Schedule. The Bulletin replaces Provider Quick Tip # 237, “Teledentistry Guidelines Related to COVID-19 for Dentists, Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics” for teledentistry services rendered on and after March 1, 2020. DHS, following a clinical review, is also adding procedure codes D1310 (Nutritional Counseling for Control of Dental Disease) and D1330 (Oral Hygiene Instructions) to the MA Program Dental Fee Schedule.

The Governor Signs Bill Removing Barrier to Licensure for Foreign Nurse Graduates

In another move aimed at confronting the growing shortage of nurses, Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday signed into law legislation that improves nursing license requirements to support trained individuals who want to enter the nursing profession in Pennsylvania. Under previous law, graduates of nursing programs from other countries could take the test to become licensed in Pennsylvania only if they had obtained a nursing license in their home country. House Bill 889, now Act 22, updates the Professional Nursing Law to permit international students who’ve completed nursing or dietetic-nutrition programs in other countries to take the licensing exams in Pennsylvania even if they are not fully licensed in the country where they completed their studies.

New Online Dashboard Launched on State Opioid Overprescribing Rates

A new online dashboard developed by the analysts at Stroudwater Associates identifies the top 20% highest opioid dispensing counties in the United States. You can view your state-specific dashboard here.

As the opioid epidemic worsens, we understand that improving the management of long-term prescribed opioids is an increasingly urgent imperative for physicians and hospitals. To help healthcare providers develop and implement a process to better manage patients on long-term opioid therapy, we present a new service offering.

Our clinician-led team guides primary care clinics and provider practices to customize and integrate an opioid management program into daily operations. Stroudwater also offers a 4-part webinar series addressing the current opioid epidemic, the role of primary care, and an introduction to the Six Building Blocks Opioid Management Program.

New Policy Brief Released: Supporting Critical Access Hospital Staff During COVID-19

The Flex Monitoring Team has released a new policy brief, Supporting Critical Access Hospital Staff during COVID-19.

This brief highlights initiatives in three Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in Illinois and North Dakota to help support their staff in the areas of child care, stress and well-being, and work flexibility as described in interviews with the Flex Monitoring Team. These examples may be useful for CAHs and State Flex Programs interested in starting similar initiatives. The brief also includes appendices of other initiatives supporting hospital staff and resiliency resources for CAHs.