Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Explore a Rural Health Podcast: RUPRI on Health Insurance

  This 27-minute episode features Abigail Barker and Timothy McBride, co-investigators at the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis, a rural health research center whose work is published on the FORHP-supported Rural Health Research Gateway. They discuss their findings about rural health insurance coverage shared in the recently published chartbook, An Insurance Profile of Rural America.

CMMI Publishes Report on its Role in Driving Health Systems Innovation.

Published this month by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), this report focused on the strategic refresh that CMMI announced previously this year. As part of this strategic refresh, CMMI has indicated that all new models will include patients from diverse backgrounds, including underserved populations such as rural and historically disadvantaged communities. CMMI also included in the report feedback from stakeholders received during webinars held around the strategic refresh, including rural-specific feedback about the challenges rural providers face in joining value-based care arrangements and possible rural-specific strategies for CMMI to consider.

Comments Requested on the Proposed Updates for Interoperability 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) seeks public comment on a proposed rule to formally withdraw the December 2020 CMS interoperability and prior authorization proposed rule and to incorporate feedback received from the previous public comment period. This new proposed rule has five key provisions including those related to interoperability, improving prior authorization (PA) processes, and a new electronic PA measure for Merit-Based Incentive Payments System (MIPS)-eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals and MIPS-eligible physicians. Five requests for information are also included in the rule, among them those concerned with the exchange of information related to behavioral health and maternal health and accelerating adoption of standards for social risk factor data. As of 2019, 63 percent of rural physicians electronically exchanged patient health information in some manner (either sending, receiving, or querying). Comments due by March 13. 

Comments Requested on the Proposed Updates to Expand Access to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is seeking public comment on its proposal to modify regulations regarding medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder. In addition to updating definitions and standards for Opioid Treatment Programs (OTP), these changes – such as allowing for methadone treatment through audio-visual telehealth – would make flexibilities made during the Public Health Emergency permanent.  Telehealth access to OTPs can help address barriers for rural patients, such as long travel times for treatment. Comments due by February 14.

Comments Requested on the Proposed Policies for the 340B Drug Pricing Program’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Process

Recently, HRSA issued a proposed rule that would revise the current 340B administrative dispute resolution (ADR) final rule (Dec. 14, 2020) with a new process. The ADR process is an administrative process designed to assist covered entities and manufacturers in resolving disputes regarding overcharging, duplicate discounts, or diversion, as outlined in the statute. Eligible entities for the 340B Drug Pricing Program include a number of rural healthcare facility types. Comments due January 30

A New Federal Plan to Build Equitable Community Resilience.

  The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has a number of ongoing initiatives such as Healthy People that set public health objectives at the federal level.  The newest is the Federal Plan for Equitable Long-Term Recovery and Resilience which lays out a government-wide approach to fixing broken systems and focusing resources on communities that have been marginalized.  The strategy forms around Seven Vital Conditions for Health and Well-Being in each community – the social determinants of health that public health stakeholders are working to achieve.

New Website Integration Expands Reach for Job Seekers and Recruiters at Rural Health Clinics, Critical Access Hospitals

 The National Rural Recruitment & Retention Network forms 3RNET, a nonprofit that connects professionals to healthcare jobs in rural and underserved areas.  This week, 3RNET and the National Association of Rural Health Clinics (NARHC) announced a new partnership that connects both organizations’ websites. Job openings at Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) added to 3RNET’s website are automatically added to a job board on through a website integration powered by 3RNET. Health professionals can view available RHC and CAH jobs across the country on 3RNET and on NARHC at the two links above; RHC and CAH employers can apply to post jobs at both sites by visiting by visiting:

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

The American Dental Association’s Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention has materials for 2023 National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM) ready to ship! Free bilingual posters are available to ship. New this year, you can purchase postcards either in English or Spanish. Additional resources, including activity sheets and a planning guide, can be found on the NCDHM website.

Click here to order materials.