Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

New Report Released on What Small Businesses in the Pennsylvania Region Said About Their Challenges

As more pandemic assistance programs were phased out in 2022, small businesses in our region still needed funding. And many were coping with supply chain issues, staffing challenges, and rising prices. This is what small businesses in our region reported to the Fed’s Small Business Credit Survey in the fall of 2022.

Using data from the 2023 Report on Employer Firms: Findings from the 2022 Small Business Credit Survey, four briefs offer a snapshot of small business conditions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the Philadelphia metro, and the Third District states overall (Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania).

Here is what small businesses in our region said about their conditions in 2022:

  • Many firms saw increases in revenue compared with 2021. But a majority reported financial conditions were still poor or fair and many continued to need funding.
  • The biggest operational challenges were supply chain issues, hiring or retaining qualified staff, and reaching customers or growing sales.
  • Their biggest financial challenges? Rising costs of goods, services, or wages, paying operating expenses, uneven cash flow, and weak sales.

Read the briefs.

New Report Released on Incentivizing Oral Health Care Providers to Treat Patients with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

A new report by the National Council on Disability, “Incentivizing Oral Healthcare Providers to Treat Patients with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities,” delves into three critical factors that impact the access and utilization of dental care services by adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Many individuals with I/DD face significant challenges in accessing high-quality, appropriate, and timely oral health care services. Among minority populations, adults with I/DD represent the largest group with unmet oral healthcare needs.

Click here to read the report.

Read About the Differences in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Performance of Clinicians in Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Counties in 2018

  The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) is a pay-for-performance system for clinicians under the Medicare Quality Payment Program designed to reward clinicians for providing higher quality of care and lower costs. This study from the RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis compared clinicians’ MIPS performance in 2018 based on their practice location, size, and minority population proportion.

Spatial Clustering of COVID-19 Mortality Rates Across Counties and by Noncore, Micropolitan, and Metropolitan County Characteristics, December 2020–January 2021.

  Among the key findings from the RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis: a higher percentage of clusters of high mortality rates were in noncore and micropolitan counties; these clusters had the highest average nursing home bed density and the highest average proportion of Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions.

The Impact of COVID-19 Funding on Profitability of Critical Access Hospitals

Using data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) researchers report on the challenges faced by CMS-designated Critical Access Hospitals during the federal Public Health Emergency, and the impact of special funding on their financial performance. The report is the work of the Flex Monitoring Team, a consortium of researchers from the Universities of Minnesota, North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Southern Maine, funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to evaluate the impact of the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant Program (the Flex Program).

Research is Characterizing Social Insecurity in a Rural North Carolina Emergency Department

 From May-June 2018, researchers collected 312 survey responses from patients at a rural emergency department and identified three key determinants of social insecurity: 1) access to transportation, 2) food insecurity, and 3) exposure to violence.  Findings show significant differences among the three major racial/ethnicity groups represented – Native Americans (34.3 percent), Blacks (33.7 percent), and Whites (27.6 percent).

CDC Release Data About Overdose Deaths Related to Xylazine on the Rise

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data showing a significant increase – 276 percent in 21 jurisdictions from 2019 to 2022 – in overdose deaths involving Xylazine, a nonopioid sedative that’s been detected in illicitly manufactured fentanyl drug products.  Because of inconsistent testing, the numbers are likely underestimated; in 2022, the Drug Enforcement Administration reported 23 percent of seized fentanyl powder and 7 percent of seized fentanyl pills contained xylazine.