Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

From CMS: More than Half of All States Have Expanded Access to 12 Months of Medicaid and CHIP Postpartum Coverage

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced that more than half of all states have expanded access to 12 months of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage after pregnancy. Georgia and Pennsylvania are the 25th and 26th states to be approved for the extended coverage, made possible by provisions in the American Rescue Plan (ARP), signed into law by President Biden in March of 2021. This announcement marks critical progress in the implementation of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Maternal Health Blueprint, a comprehensive strategy aimed at improving maternal health, particularly in underserved communities.

As a result of this announcement, up to an additional 57,000 people in Georgia and Pennsylvania will now be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP for a full year after pregnancy. In total, an estimated 418,000 Americans across 26 states and the District of Columbia now have expanded access to postpartum coverage as a result of the ARP. If all states adopted this option, as many as a total of 720,000 people across the United States would be guaranteed Medicaid and CHIP coverage for 12 months after pregnancy.

The Biden-Harris Administration has made expanding access to high-quality, affordable health care a top priority – and because of the ARP and other Administration efforts, more people than ever before have health insurance coverage. Extending Medicaid and CHIP postpartum coverage is an important part of these efforts, and is a critical component of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Maternal Health Blueprint, which Vice President Harris announced on June 24, 2022.

Click here to read the full press release.

Pennsylvania Pediatric Dentist Among 2022-23 White House Fellows

In a first, a dentist is among the broad cross section of highly accomplished professionals chosen to serve as White House Fellows. In the prestigious leadership program, fellows work alongside public servants at the highest levels of the executive branch of the United States government.

Jacqueline Burgette, D.M.D., Ph.D., joined elite company this summer when she was tapped to become one of 15 White House Fellows to serve in 2022-23. It’s an estimable club that has previously included award-winning presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, M.D., and the late former Secretary of State and Gen. Colin Powell.

Each year, fellows emerge from a rigorous and competitive selection process and hail from the private sector, local government, academia, the nonprofit sector, medicine, law and the armed forces. Dr. Burgette applied to become a White House Fellow with the primary aim of serving her country and furthering her interests in policymaking.

“I have been called to public service since childhood, volunteering in state government elections and serving as a page in the Washington State House of Representatives,” she said. “Since then, I have been involved in policymaking at every stage of my graduate education, including advocating during dental school for insurance coverage for children with cleft lip and palate, as well as spearheading involvement in national advocacy efforts as a pediatric dentistry resident.”

A 2010 graduate of Harvard School of Dental Medicine, she earned a pediatric dentistry certificate and a doctorate in health policy and management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry in 2016. She is a diplomate with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and an assistant professor in the department of dental public health and department of pediatric dentistry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine.

According to the mission statement adopted in 1964 by the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships: “The purpose of the White House Fellows program is to provide gifted and highly motivated emerging leaders with some first-hand experience in the process of governing the nation and a sense of personal involvement in the leadership of society.”

From her perspective, Dr. Burgette said, “The White House Fellows program has shown me that so many of us can make an impact by participating in our government and that my skills as a public health expert, researcher-clinician and educator are valuable, versatile assets.”

As a 2022-23 fellow, Dr. Burgette, who is from Issaquah, Washington, will work with the Office of the National Cyber Director. During her fellowship year, she will work under the mentorship of the office’s director, Chris Inglis, and its principal deputy, Kemba Walden.

“It is a privilege to learn from their incredible examples,” Dr. Burgette said. “In the Office of National Cyber Director, I am excited to learn about the security of our digital health information. This is a public health issue that affects all aspects of our health care system across the country, including and beyond dentistry. We all have a part to play in cybersecurity, and my experience caring for patients and performing research in many health care delivery systems — from private practices to community clinics to large health systems — empowers me to help advance the cybersecurity of our health care and public health infrastructure.”

To read more about Dr. Burgette, visit the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine website, and to learn more about the White House Fellows, go to


New Oral Health Resource Available: Older Adult Oral Health Resources for Collaboration

The Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) has released a new resource, “Older Adult Oral Health Resources for Collaboration.” The resource was developed by individuals from state public health programs, academia, and clinicians caring for older adults in a variety of settings. It includes include information on the link between oral health and overall health, oral health and chronic disease, special populations, ventilator and non-ventilator pneumonia, nutrition, financing routine dental care, information for non-dental providers, teledentistry, and equity.

Click here to check out the resource.

Updating Interoperability Efforts to Advance Public Health Reporting

  In final changes to its payment program for acute care and critical access hospitals in 2023, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) included policies to advance nationwide health information exchange, also known as interoperability of electronic health records.  Reporting measures included in the 2023 Medicare Promoting Interoperability Program require hospitals to use certified health IT to capture and share public data – e.g., immunization reporting, syndromic surveillance, reportable lab tests and results, case reporting – that support nationwide early warning of emerging outbreaks and threats, faster public health response, and greater visibility into immunization uptake which, in turn, can inform tailored vaccine distribution strategies.

The Involvement of Rural Health Clinic Practitioners in Cancer Treatment Decisions and Survivorship Care

The Rural and Minority Health Research Center surveyed Rural Health Clinics (RHC) to examine how practitioners are involved in their patient’s cancer treatment and survivorship decisions. Among the findings: more than a third of RHC practitioners were involved in primary decision-making about treatment; and more than 90 percent were involved in ongoing care for survivors, such as smoking cessation and treatment for depression/anxiety.

Surveying the Experiences of Transgender People 

In 2015, the National Center for Transgender Equality conducted the largest survey examining the lives of transgender people.  More than 27,000 respondents from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and overseas military bases answered questions about their experiences with social determinants of health such as education, employment, family life, health care, housing, and interactions with the criminal justice system.  Information from the survey fills in some of the large gaps in research and provides critical tools for researchers, policymakers, and advocates seeking to eliminate disparities.  Though it’s estimated that at least three million LGBT people live in rural America, there remains a need for data from rural areas.  To that end, the National Center for Transgender Equality asks for volunteers living in rural areas to take the 2022 US Transgender Survey.

Deadline November 21

SPACECAT: Addressing the Intersection of Suicide, Overdose, and ACEs

Last year, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) launched a resource meant to help local health departments (LHD) prevent or mitigate potentially traumatic events, known as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).  The Suicide, Overdose, and Adverse Childhood Experiences Prevention Capacity Assessment Tool (SPACECAT) allows LHDs to make an internal assessment of their capacity to address and prevent a still-growing public health issue.  After the assessment, the SPACECAT Toolkit provides online information and guidance for strengthening local efforts.  Since its launch in October 2021, NACCHO has collected data from more than 100 LHDs who completed the assessment tool.  This week, the organization released a report on what they learned from small (serving 50,000 people or less), medium (serving 50,000-499,999 people), and large (serving 500,000 or more people) local health departments.