Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

A Review of the Rural Northern Border Region Healthcare Support Program

The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy awarded approximately $1,990,000 to the Rural Health Redesign Center Organization (RHRCO) from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in a three-year cooperative agreement intended to provide technical assistance (TA) to rural health care providers and organizations in the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC). This cooperative agreement will help providers and organizations prioritize health issues, identify funding sources, assist with grant writing and develop strategic plans – with the overall intent to increase health care delivery capacity within the region. In alignment with the Rural Northern Border Region Healthcare Support Program, RHRCO’s proposed project will provide rural healthcare providers with technical assistance to improve access to care, including behavioral health and substance use disorder (SUD) services, workforce development, recruitment, and retention, and support transitions to value-based care. The TA provided in this cooperative agreement will continue to build on FORHP’s efforts to help underserved NBRC rural communities identify and better address their health care needs.

CMS OMH Honors National Hispanic Heritage Month

This year, as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) honors National Hispanic Heritage Month, we will be focusing on the nation’s 60.5 million Hispanics by highlighting some common health disparities facing Hispanic populations and sharing resources to help further health equity.

Hispanic populations suffer from lower rates of health insurance coverage compared to their non-Hispanic counterparts, with nearly 30% of Hispanic adults aged 18 to 64 being uninsured. Like other minority groups, Hispanic populations are disproportionately affected by chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Hispanic subpopulations also face their own distinct health disparities including higher rates of smoking among Puerto Rican and Cuban male populations, as well as higher rates of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis among Mexican populations. Additionally, among Hispanic pregnant individuals, the maternal mortality rate increased significantly from 2019 to 2020, largely due to COVID-19 related health disparities.

As Hispanic populations continue to face disparities related to COVID-19 and other health conditions, it is important to have all the information and resources needed to ensure Hispanic patients receive culturally and linguistically competent care from their health care provider and are able to take steps towards better health. Below, please find materials in Spanish, data, resources on language access, culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS), and more. Throughout this month and beyond, we encourage you to review and share these resources to continue to advance health equity for Hispanic populations.


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a final rule applicable to noncitizens who receive or wish to apply for benefits provided by the HHS and States that support low-income families and adults. This rule will help ensure that noncitizens can access health-related benefits and other supplemental government services to which they are entitled by law, without triggering harmful immigration consequences. The final rule will be effective on December 23, 2022.

Polio – A Review of Clinical Presentation, Vaccination, and Epidemiology Has Been Released

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a case of poliomyelitis, or paralytic polio, in New York state in an unvaccinated patient who presented to an emergency room with lower limb weakness and fever. CDC urges all healthcare providers to ensure their patients are current on the primary polio vaccination series. Healthcare providers should consider polio in the differential diagnosis of patients with sudden onset of limb weakness, especially in unvaccinated individuals and those with recent international travel to places where poliovirus is circulating. During this COCA Call, presenters will discuss the history of polio in the United States and the current New York state outbreak. They will also review clinical aspects of poliovirus infection, how to report suspected cases and recommendations for polio vaccination in the U.S.

Caring for Women with Opioid Use Disorder: A Toolkit for Organization Leaders and Providers

As part of National Recovery Month, HRSA’s Office of Women’s Health (OWH) and Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs Regions 3 and 9 will host a webinar. This webinar is part of OWH’s Women’s Health Leadership Series, which focuses on emerging issues and innovative women’s health practices by and for HRSA-supported organizations and other safety net settings of careRegister here for the Thursday, Sept. 15, 3:00 – 4:00 pm webinar.

2022-2023 Influenza Season: Recommendations Released of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices

CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices updated its flu vaccine recommendations for the 2022-2023 flu season. Influenza vaccination of persons aged ≥6 months will reduce symptoms that might be confused with those of COVID-19. Current guidance for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines indicates that these vaccines can be co-administered with influenza vaccines. Consult the CDC webpage for updated information.

USDA Rural Development Announces ReConnect Program Workshop for FY2022

ReConnect Round 4 Application Workshop

Presented by USDA Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS), this 3-day workshop will provide an end-to-end walkthrough of the ReConnect application system.

This workshop will include:

  • An in-depth exploration of each section of the online application system
  • Step-by-step demonstrations and how-to’s showing how to enter and save data in each section of the application
  • Plenty of time for questions and answers at the end of each session

We will present this workshop once. We’ll address questions as time permits during each session and include an updated list of the most common questions on our Frequently Asked Questions page on the ReConnect website.

Slides, a transcript, and a recording of the workshop will be posted at the ReConnect website after the session.

Please note: attendees only need to register once to attend any or all workshop sessions. View the full workshop agenda on the ReConnect website’s events page.

Workshop Dates and Times

  • Tuesday, September 13, 2022 from 12:00PM to 5:00PM Eastern
  • Wednesday, September 14, 2022 from 10:00AM to 5:15PM Eastern
  • Thursday, September 15, 2022 from 10:00AM to 4:15PM Eastern

Register here!


Please submit any ReConnect questions using the Contact Us Form on the ReConnect website.

Pennsylvania Workforce Report Arrives Just in Time for Labor Day

With the state’s economy still in its post-pandemic recovery, a tight labor market and a resurgent labor movement offer new possibilities for the commonwealth’s workers. And if policymakers make the right choices, the state could “enjoy a return to shared prosperity for the first time in decades.” Those are the top line takeaways from the labor-friendly Keystone Research Center’s annual ‘State of Working Pennsylvania’ report, which was released just days ahead of this year’s Labor Day celebrations.

Primary Care a Big Target for Some Big Players

Amazon, CVS, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) are all making major moves in the primary care market. These big players are all experimenting with how to be successful in primary health care and they have the data to make informed decisions and the money to make mistakes. Amazon is in the midst of a $3.9 billion acquisition of One Medical. CVS is buying Signify Health in an $8 billion deal and executives have shared that the company is eyeing a major play in the primary care market by the end of this year. Alphabet’s subsidiary Cityblock has a mission statement that reads much like that of Community Health Centers. All have a motivation to make money.

Pennsylvania HealthChoices Agreements Include New 90-Day Rate Change Processing Requirement

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS), to reduce the burden on Community Health Centers when there is a PPS rate change, has added language to the Physical HealthChoices managed care organization (MC0) agreements requiring timely processing. The agreements contain a 90-day MCO processing requirement for rate changes that DHS hopes will help all providers receive timely payments and reduce the burden of fighting for retroactive adjustments with MCOs. The 2022 Physical HealthChoices MCO agreement is available on the DHS website. The first test of the new provision will be when DHS notifies MCOs of the Medicare Economic Index (MEI) adjustment to PPS rates in October.