Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

HHS, DOL, and Treasury Issue Guidance Regarding Birth Control Coverage

Following President Biden’s Executive Order on ensuring access to reproductive health care, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), alongside the Departments of Labor and of the Treasury (Departments), took action to clarify protections for birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under the ACA, most private health plans are required to provide birth control and family planning counseling at no additional cost.

Full Press Release:


CMS Releases Latest Enrollment Figures for Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the latest enrollment figures for Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These programs serve as key connectors to care for more millions of Americans.


As of April 2022, 64,449,451 people are enrolled in Medicare. This is an increase of 88,177 since the last report.

  • 34,879,219 are enrolled in Original Medicare.
  • 29,570,232 are enrolled in Medicare Advantage or other health plans. This includes enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans with and without prescription drug coverage.
  • 50,011,957 are enrolled in Medicare Part D. This includes enrollment in stand-alone prescription drug plans as well as Medicare Advantage plans that offer prescription drug coverage.

Over 12 million individuals are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, so are counted in the enrollment figures for both programs.

Detailed enrollment data can be viewed here:

Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

As of April 2022, 88,274,847 of people are enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP. This is an increase of 375,152 since the last report.

  • 81,195,571 are enrolled in Medicaid
  • 7,079,276 are enrolled in CHIP

For more information on Medicaid/CHIP enrollment, including enrollment trends, visit

Every day, CMS ensures that people across the U.S. have coverage that works. See the latest coverage totals across all CMS programs at This information is updated on a monthly basis. Enrollment data for CMS programs are compiled on different timelines owing to the unique nature of each program.

New Pennsylvania Cancer Coalition Website Launched

The Pennsylvania Cancer Coalition (PCC) is excited to announce the launch of their new website.

One of the long-standing goals is to robustly support comprehensive cancer prevention and control activities through the implementation of the Pennsylvania Cancer Control Plan. The PCC strives to increase inclusive and diverse membership of the Coalition that represents all issues related to reduction of the cancer burden in Pennsylvania. This website is a key resource to highlight cancer prevention and control activities, provide updates on the work of the workgroups and subcommittees, and share information with stakeholders across our state.

The website offers several new features, including:

  • A fresh and modern Homepage that highlights key cancer-related resources that can be further explored in greater detail.
  • A robust News section that can accommodate a higher volume of articles.
  • A searchable and comprehensive Resources section that organizes items by specific Health Topics and File Types.
  • A new section that addresses Health Equity and the policies, systems, and environmental strategies to reduce cancer health disparities.

Take a look at the new website using the following link:

Pennsylvania Cancer Coalition — PA Cancer Control Plan, Resources, Research, Membership (


Geisinger Names Dr. Susan Parisi as 1st Chief Wellness Officer

Danville, Pa.- based Geisinger has selected Susan Parisi, MD, to serve as its inaugural chief wellness officer — a role in which she will lead the implementation of a “systemwide strategy” to improve employees’ personal and professional well-being, according to a July 28 news release sent to Becker’s.

Dr. Parisi, an OB-GYN, has three decades of healthcare experience. Most recently, she was the director of well-being at Nuvance Health in Danbury, Conn., where she crafted a well-being program that was implemented across seven hospitals and supported 2,500 physicians. In 2019, she completed the chief wellness officer executive training program at Stanford University in California.

“The crisis of emotional exhaustion and burnout on the healthcare workforce is more important than ever — and it deserves our full attention. I’m thrilled to join Geisinger in this new role and partner with our Geisinger family to find new and better ways to build a culture that supports the well-being of everyone who commits their lives to this work,” Dr. Parisi said in a news release.

Kittanning, PA: You Can Get Fancy Coffee in Small Towns, Too

Ispirare, a high-end coffee shop in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, is introducing espresso culture to the community, and bringing people back to downtown.

Visitors to the downtown storefront of Ispirare Coffee in Kittanning, Pennsylvania (population 3,800), choose from a wide selection of basic and innovative drinks. Seasonal offerings are a big draw. This summer, a hibiscus berry lemonade, a white mocha with local maple syrup, and a vanilla strawberry brown sugar latte are bringing in curious customers, some who return to try them all.

Many people choose a baked good to accompany their drink. A full selection includes muffins, cookies, granola bars, scones, and croissants. People of all ages meet up here and often remark on the wide array of delicious treats.

Ispirare Coffee is the first high-end coffee shop the county has ever had, and some other specialty items like organic juice can’t be found anywhere else. In recognition that many locals, an older demographic, might not be familiar with espresso culture, a graphic on the wall shows the components of each drink.

Read more and get a delicious recipe!

Updated Resources from Rural Health Value Announced!

The Rural Health Value team recently released two updated resources:

Related resources on the Rural Health Value website:

 Catalog of Value Based Initiatives for Rural Providers

One-page summaries describe rural-relevant, value-based programs currently or recently implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), primarily by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and its Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).

This tool helps a rural healthcare organization assess readiness for the shift of payments from volume to value. The resulting report may be used to guide the development of action plans.

Contact information:

Clint MacKinney, MD, MS, Co-Principal Investigator;

CMS: Failure to File and Reconcile (FTR) Operations Flexibilities for Plan Year 2023

The guidance referenced in this document is applicable to all Exchanges. It does not replace or revise previously issued guidance, but extends previous guidance issued for plan years 2021 and 2022 to plan year 2023. The original guidance referenced current federal regulation at 45 CFR 155.305(f)(4), and the statute at section 1412 of the Affordable Care Act. This guidance extends the same flexibilities for consumers and Exchanges regarding Failure to File and Reconcile (FTR) operations for plan year 2023.

In plan years 2021 and 2022, CMS did not act on data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for consumers who have failed to file tax returns and reconcile a previous year’s advance payments of the premium tax credit (APTC) and with the premium tax credit (PTC) allowed for the year. This change was made in response to the impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) on the processing of federal income tax returns and changes concerning the reconciliation of APTC with PTC for tax year 2020 announced by IRS in response to the American Rescue Plan. This change allowed APTC to continue for consumers not required to reconcile by attaching Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit, to their 2020 tax return due to IRS’ announcement and consumers who reconciled but whose tax returns have not yet been processed by the IRS.

CMS will continue to not act on data from the IRS for consumers who have failed to file tax returns and reconcile a previous year’s APTC with the PTC allowed for the year, for plan year 2023. The continuation of this operations flexibility is due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the processing of 2021 federal income tax returns. This flexibility also extends to State-Based Exchanges. As with last year’s announcement, today’s announcement does not change the general requirement for taxpayers for whom APTC was paid in 2021 to file their taxes and reconcile the APTC with the PTC allowed for the year.

For more information, please refer to last year’s FTR Operations Flexibility for Plan Years 2021 and 2022 – Frequently Asked Questions.


  2. As of May 20, 2022, the IRS reports having 9.8 million unprocessed individual federal tax returns, which includes new tax year 2021 returns. For more information on IRS’ operations during COVID-19, please see

The CY2023 Medicare Hospital Outpatient Proposed Rule Has Requested Comments

Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released proposals to update payment policies for the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System for the calendar year 2023.  In addition, CMS seeks public input on proposed quality, payment, and enrollment policies for the new provider type, Rural Emergency Hospitals.  They address how they will respond to the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding the 340B prescription drug program.  CMS also seeks comment on designating mental health services furnished remotely to beneficiaries in their homes as a covered outpatient service for hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals.

Comments are due by September 13.