Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Unwinding the Continuous Enrollment for Medicaid and CHIP

In March 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) temporarily waived certain eligibility requirements for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to help people keep their health coverage during the pandemic.  Last  year, CMS announced states would have to return to normal eligibility and enrollment operations once the official Public Health Emergency (PHE) had ended – a process referred to as “unwinding.”  Last week, it was announced that the PHE would be extended by another 90 days to mid-April.  However, new legislation calls for eligibility waivers and other pandemic-related flexibilities to end on March 31, 2023.  See the communications toolkit for a plain-language explanation that will help both policymakers and beneficiaries understand Unwinding, and attend monthly webinars (Events section, below) held by CMS to get help with the process.

HRSA Starts a Payment Program for RHC Buprenorphine-Trained Providers

  Clinicians no longer need DATA 2000 Waiver training to prescribe buprenorphine; however, the payment program to defray earlier training costs is still active.  Launched in June 2021, the initiative pays for providers who previously received a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine, a medication used to treat opioid use disorder.  Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) still have the opportunity to apply for a $3,000 payment on behalf of each provider who previously trained to obtain the waiver necessary to prescribe buprenorphine after January 1, 2019.  Approximately $900,000 in program funding remains available for RHCs and will be paid on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted.  Send questions to

SAMHSA Removes Requirement for OUD Prescribing

Last week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced it will no longer require nor accept applications for the DATA 2000 Waiver previously needed to prescribe the drug most frequently used for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD).  All practitioners with a current DEA registration that includes prescribing authority for Schedule III substances may now prescribe buprenorphine for OUD if permitted in the state where they practice.  The change comes from Section 1262 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, which removes the federal requirement for practitioners to submit a Notice of Intent to prescribe medications for the treatment of OUD.

NACRHHS Gives an Update on Emergency Medical Services and Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care Services

During the 90th meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health & Human Services (NACRHHS), members explored two topics of importance to rural areas. The first was access to emergency medical services in rural areas. The second was the integration of behavioral health and primary care services. This 75-minute webinar will highlight the rural context related to these topics, and discuss the policy brief and recommendations submitted to the Secretary of Health & Human Services. Update coming Tuesday, January 24 at 1:00 pm ET.

HHS Launches MyHealthfinder Tool

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) created the Take Good Care campaign to help people get essential clinical preventive services. Focusing on Black and Hispanic women ages 45 to 54 who are often in caregiving roles, the campaign encourages prioritizing preventive care through the MyHealthfinder tool.

Preventive care includes health care like screenings, checkups, and vaccines. These services can find health problems before you have symptoms — or even stop issues from developing altogether.

New Resource: E-Cigarette Use, Vaping, and Oral Health

The CareQuest Institute for Oral Health released a new visual report, “Electronic Cigarette Use, Vaping, and Oral Health.” The report explains how individuals who use e-cigarettes are significantly more likely to report having periodontal (gum) disease compared to those who do not smoke or use other nicotine products. E-cigarette use is linked with signs of periodontal disease such as increased plaque, deeper periodontal pockets around the teeth, and bone loss.

Click here to view the report.

Pennsylvania Oral Health Coalition Releases Oral Health Workforce Report Part II

PCOH released the second part of a workforce report that uncovers some Pennsylvanians have wait times up to three years to receive dental treatment for tooth decay. The “Access to Oral Health Workforce Report” determined that the average wait time for a new dental appointment in PA is two months with an additional month wait to have a filling placed. Rural residents can face up to a two to three year wait. Over the last three years, Pennsylvania has been affected by a significant number of dental hygienists and dental assistants leaving dentistry as well as increases in dentist retirements. This has resulted in dwindling availability of dental appointments.

Click here to download the report.

KFF Publishes Brief on Pandemic Private Insurance Payments

Early in the Pandemic, Private Insurers Paid Similarly for In-Person and Telemedicine Services, Including for Mental Health Therapy

Telehealth use surged as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, though the shift toward virtual physician and mental health care did not materially affect how much insurers paid for each patient encounter in 2020, a new KFF analysis finds.

Using data from the Health Care Cost Institute, the analysis examines nearly 100 million claims to compare the average paid amount for in-person and telehealth evaluation and management services and mental health therapies.

In each case, the average payments were similar in 2020.

The analysis suggests that the expanded use of telehealth services did not lead to significant cost savings early in the pandemic though likely provided other benefits by making services more convenient and accessible for patients. Whether insurers have continued to pay similar rates for telehealth and in-person services is not yet clear. The analysis also does not assess the extent to which the availability of telehealth substitutes for in-person services or leads to greater use of health care overall.

The analysis is available through the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, an online information hub that monitors and assesses the performance of the U.S. health system or by clicking here.

CMS Rollout “GO” Final Full Package: 2023 ACO REACH, KCC Model Participants, and MSSP Announcement

CMS posted several updates for the Global and Professional Direct Contracting (GPDC) / ACO REACH Model on This includes a list of the 110 provisionally accepted ACOs in the ACO REACH model and DCEs participating in the third Implementation Period (IP3) of the ACO REACH model. It also includes quarterly updates to a document with GPDC’s financial and quality performance results. The ACO REACH’s Application Fact Sheet and FAQs also received minor updates to ensure consistency with the newly released documents. We kindly ask that you please share this information with your partners.

Please review the below links for further information.

Web links/Materials:

Any technical questions should be directed to the model team at​.