Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Expanding Career Paths for Youth and Adults on the Autism Spectrum

On Jan. 27 at 3:00 pm, the National Institute of Mental Health will host a free webinar on expanding career pathways and opportunities for youth and adults on the autism spectrum. This webinar will provide autistic youth and adults, caregivers and employers with information and resources to support access to workplace accommodations for individuals. Please click here for further information on how to access the webinar.

Report Lists State Workforce Incentive Programs

A new report by the University of Washington Center for Health Workforce Studies describes state incentive programs that provide loans, scholarships, and other incentives for allied health professionals in exchange for service in rural and underserved areas. This study examined the operation of these programs across the U.S., allied health professionals targeted, and efforts to gauge programs’ success in recruitment and retention through a review of publicly available information on state programs and interviews with program leaders in 27 states. Read the report.

100 Billion Opioid Doses Dispensed over Nine Years

The Washington Post reports that newly released federal drug data shows that more than 100 billion doses of oxycontin and hydrocodone were shipped across the nation in the nine-year period from 2006 through 2014. The data, which traces the path of every pill shipped in the U.S. from manufacturers and distributors, shows how the drugs flooded the nation and reaffirms that six companies distributed the vast majority of pills. Read more.

New Community Health Center Report Released

A new analysis examines the continued growth of America’s Community Health Centers. The authors analyze health center activity for 2018 and comparative years based on data from the Uniform Data System (UDS) and document the near tripling of health center capacity from 9.6 million patients served in 2000 to 28.4 million in 2018. While this growth is attributed to several factors, key among them is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion. Despite the significant growth in both health center capacity and scope, the authors caution that health centers are vulnerable to major federal policy decisions that directly affect the healthcare safety net, including uncertainty regarding the future of the Community Health Center Fund, the administration’s public charge rule, changes to the Title X family planning program, and Medicaid work requirement programs.  Download the report here.

CMS Issues Guidance on Avoiding 340B Duplicate Discounts

On Jan. 8, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new Information Bulletin, Best Practices for Avoiding 340B Duplicate Discounts in Medicaid. While the bulletin makes clear that the exclusion file is solely for fee-for-service Medicaid (not managed care), an issue on which the Department of Human Services had disagreed with PACHC, there are also provisions of the bulletin that might prove problematic. PACHC and NACHC are reviewing the bulletin and its implications.

State Seeks Flexibility in Federal Opioid Funding

In testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in Washington D.C. during the week of January 19, Jennifer Smith, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs, shared how federal funding has helped Pennsylvania have an impact on the opioid crisis.  She credited the contribution of $230 million in federal funding combined with state and local resources and the expansion of Medicaid with supporting an 18% drop in the state’s overdose deaths in 2018.  She also shared that a rise in stimulant use challenged the state in 2019 and the state was bound, in many cases, by drug-specific federal grants that couldn’t be shifted to address issues related to drugs like meth and cocaine. She urged shifting of funding to block grants to give states increased flexibility to address additional substances. Ms. Smith joined state officials from West Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Rhode Island in sharing how their governments have used federal funds earmarked to fight the opioid epidemic.

Uber Health Assists Health Centers

During the C-Suite Forum in the week of January 19, PACHC learned many community health centers are using Uber Health for patient transportation. The HIPAA-secure program allows patients to book rides at no charge to and from your health center as well as to clinician referral locations. The program limits your patient’s use of the ride share program to ensure you won’t be charged for rides beyond healthcare appointments. Your organization is billed monthly based on ride usage and you’ll receive a report with patient names and ride details. The system also offers integration directly into your organization’s EHR. Visit Uber Health’s website to learn more. Contact PACHC at to let them know if your organization is using the program or if you want to connect with one of the centers utilizing the ride share service.