Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Final Recommendation Statements Requested for Screening for Anxiety Disorders in Adults 

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released a final recommendation statement on screening for anxiety disorders in adults. The task force determined that screening can help identify anxiety disorders in adults younger than 65, including those who are pregnant and postpartum. More research is needed to recommend for or against screening for anxiety disorders in adults older than 65. View the recommendation, the evidence on which it is based, and a summary for clinicians. In addition, the task force has also released a final recommendation statement on a related topic, screening for depression and suicide risk in adults.

American Cancer Society Colorectal Cancer Screening Interventions Project Has Launched

American Cancer Society (ACS) is recruiting health centers with colorectal cancer screening rates less than 40% (consideration for those less than 60% will be given) for the 2023-2024 Screening Interventions Project. This project leverages quality improvement (QI) strategies and resources to support public health agencies, healthcare providers, and screening advocates across the nation to promote and deliver cancer screening appropriately, safely, and equitably. Quality improvement projects are based on previous structured intervention projects done through shared learning. Healthcare systems will have the opportunity to engage with national partners to share best practices, challenges, and celebrations. ACS staff will provide strategy, materials, training and technical assistance, data and measurement tools, and the latest research to maximize project outcomes. Depending on availability, funding may be available to support health centers participating in this project. Please join PACHC and ACS for a project preview on July 18, from 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm, registration is availableIf you are unable to attend and would like to learn more, contact: Kacie Jankoski.

Nominations are Being Sought for the National HIT Advisory Committee

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is requesting nominations for the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC), which provides recommendations to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on policies, standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria relating to the implementation of a health information technology infrastructure. GAO expects to appoint two to three new HITAC members, focusing especially on patients or consumers, health plans or purchasers, and researchers. Nominations are due by July 31, 2023.

The Importance of Teaching Health Center GME Programs

The Milbank Memorial Fund has released a new report about the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program. The report provides an overview of the program, its workforce, clinical and financial outcomes, as well as case studies of teaching health centers across the country. The report finds that the THCGME program’s success can inform how to invest in primary care workforce training and finance graduate medical education to meet population health needs.

2021 Pennsylvania Dentist and Dental Hygienist Workforce Survey Report Has Been Published

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has published the final “2021 Pennsylvania’s Dentist and Dental Hygienist Workforce Survey Report” based on the State Board of Dentistry data from the 2021 licensure renewals. In 2021, 9,174 dentists renewed their licenses with 8,456 being employed in dentistry. Over 65% of Pennsylvania dentists identified as male and nearly 70% identified as White. There were 7,530 dental hygienists that renewed their licenses with 24% working in rural counties. Click here to read the full report.

Mobile Dental Tour Will Provide Free Onsite Dental Services in Pennsylvania

Highmark and United Concordia have embarked on mobile dental tours across Pennsylvania with the expectation of caring for more than 1,000 children, young adults, and senior citizens. The tours will be providing free onsite dental services, including exams, cleanings, fluoride treatments, and oral cancer screenings to underserved communities this summer. The tours use volunteer dentists and dental hygienists from United Concordia’s network to provide dental services. If care in addition to onsite services is needed, referrals will be provided. Dental services for each tour require pre-registration.

A Free HRSA-Funded Health Center Performance Tracking Toolkit Has Been Released

Capital Link, a HRSA National Training & Technical Assistance Partner (NTTAP) has a toolkit that provides guidance in applying data analysis tools to help health centers more effectively track performance, understand key drivers, and incorporate operational insights for financial sustainability. This resource was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) so is available to you for free download and use. Download Performance Benchmarking Toolkit for Health Centers: Tracking Data to Improve Financial Performance. There is also a Debt Capacity Calculator on the Capital Link website for health centers considering capital projects.

Anti-Bias Rules Set to Take Effect in Pennsylvania

More than a year after they entered the regulatory pipeline, the state’s strongest-ever protections for LGBTQ people are slated to take effect in August. The anti-discrimination rules expand the definition of sex to include sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Other provisions provide expanded definitions for race and religious creed. Previously, the terms had been largely undefined in the state’s two main anti-discrimination laws, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and the Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunities Act. The laws bar discrimination in employment, education, housing, commercial property, and public accommodations. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission published the new rules in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. The rules are scheduled to take effect on August 16. State lawmakers, meanwhile, are still hoping to pass a bill called The Fairness Act, which would ban discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity, real or perceived.