Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Apply for the Registered Nurse Empowerment Program Here!

Need help navigating difficult situations, collaborating with peers, or advocating for change in the workplace? Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma) has collaborated with Johnson & Johnson Foundation on a program to bring free leadership and nursing courses to frontline clinical nurses. Apply for the Registered Nurse Empowerment Program and learn about the important challenges and opportunities that frontline nurses experience. Sigma is looking for registered clinical nurses to provide direct care. The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) has partnered with Sigma’s Nurse Empowerment Program. Three NACHC staff members, Wanda Montalvo, RN, Sarah Price, RN, and LeeAnn White, RN will host three calls to reflect on course content such as navigating difficult situations, leading without authority, how to build community with peers, and share the highs and lows of the day. Save the dates for NACHC’s Nurse-led Reflection Hours. All members of the nursing workforce are invited to participate in the NACHC Nurse-led Reflection Hours.

CMS Moves Towards Universal Quality Measures 

To align quality measures across programs, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and public-private partnerships announced in a New England Journal of Medicine article that they are developing a “universal foundation” of quality measures. The Universal Foundation will be a group of quality measures that serve as building blocks for CMS quality-rating and value-based care programs. CMS may add additional measures depending on the population served by individual programs.

A Penn State Study Finds that COVID-19 Increases Diabetes Risk By 66%

COVID-19 survivors have a 66% higher risk of developing type 1 or type 2 diabetes following their diagnosis compared to those who were not infected with the coronavirus, according to a study by Penn State College of Medicine researchers published Monday. The researchers found that SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — binds to an enzyme receptor found on the surface of many organs and tissues, including cells found in the pancreas, small intestine, and kidneys, affecting insulin levels. Read more.

A New Study Finds Fewer COVID-19 Deaths and Infections Where There’s a Health Center

There are fewer COVID-19 deaths and infections in areas of the country where there is a Community Health Center according to findings from NACHC and the Morehouse School of Medicine’s National COVID-19 Resiliency Network (NCRN). Health centers, which serve nearly 29 million Americans in nearly 1400 communities, are a critical component of the national vaccination strategy launched by the Biden Administration to ensure equity in the fight against COVID-19. Health centers have been vaccinating people who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic — essential workers, agricultural and migrant workers, public housing residents, the elderly, and people experiencing homelessness. To date, health centers have provided more than 19 million COVID-19 vaccinations, with over two in three shots at a health center administered to people of color. The joint analysis from NACHC and Morehouse School of Medicine’s NCRN compared the rate of infection and mortality from COVID-19 in areas with a health center and areas without, determining that there are 200 fewer cases of infection and nine fewer deaths per 100,000 people.

A Recent CDC Survey Finds Teen Girls Experiencing “Alarming” Level of Sadness

Teen girls reported record levels of violence, sadness, and thoughts of suicide in 2021, experiencing distress at twice the rate of teen boys, according to new federal data released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The nearly three in five teen girls who felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021 was a 60% increase compared to a decade earlier. The increase in sadness and hopelessness was reported across all racial groups over the last decade. In 30 years of collecting similar data, “we’ve never seen this kind of devastating, consistent findings,” said Kathleen Ethier, director of CDC’s adolescent and school health division. “There’s no question young people are telling us they are in crisis. The data really call on us to act.”

Find a New New Report on CHCs and Value-Based Care Here!

George Washington University’s Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health has released a new policy brief, Community Health Centers Making the Move to Value-Based Payment. The brief provides in-depth findings from a qualitative study to understand and document community health center experiences with Medicaid alternative payment models (APM) and move to value-based payment (VBP). Interviews with primary care associations and health centers in twelve case study states revealed that health centers participate in a variety of VBP models. Their engagement is spurred by substantial Medicaid patient volume, the need for more predictable and stable financing, and the desire to move away from an encounter-based care delivery system to models that allow for greater care coordination and team-based care. The report concludes that states can encourage the move to VBP models by recognizing the essential role that health centers play as the backbone of the healthcare safety net and that given the strong potential for VBP models to alleviate financial pressures on health centers, allow health center providers to offer more efficient and coordinated care, and transform care delivery for their patients, these efforts merit support.

Geisinger’s CHIP Product is Expanding Statewide

Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), brought to you by Geisinger Health Plan Kids (GHP Kids), is expanding to statewide coverage beginning February 13, 2023. GHP Kids currently serves more than 11,000 members and is available for all uninsured kids and teenagers up to age 19. As with other CHIP plans, the comprehensive coverage is offered at a low or no cost, with no limit on household income. Many services are covered, including routine doctor visits; preventive services; dental, vision, and hearing exams; emergency care; and hospital care, as well as prescriptions.

Senate HELP Committee Holds a Hearing on the Healthcare Workforce

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee, which deals with health policy, held a hearing on shortages in the healthcare labor force on Feb. 16. Committee members discussed potential solutions for widespread workforce shortages affecting the healthcare industry after hearing witness testimony from medical schools and colleges. Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) is a member of the HELP Committee.