Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Rural Community Health Initiative Best Practices Compendium  

Through the Rural Community Health Initiative, the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) aims to support and promote innovative community health programs in rural areas. As part of this initiative, NRHA is producing a compendium of best community health practices in rural communities. NRHA encourages Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Community-Based Division grantees (including network, planning, outreach, and rural communities opioid response) to complete the submission form for inclusion in NRHA’s compendium of best practices by June 18. This compendium will help share resources with key rural stakeholders across the country, providing accessible and creative practices to rural communities and their health care providers.

NRHA Releases New Toolkit to Help Rural Stakeholders Increase Rural Vaccine Confidence and Uptake 

Vaccinating rural communities to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic is no simple task and the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) understands the unique issues and viewpoints you face as a rural health stakeholder leading the way. Although many resources are currently available, we know materials focused for rural audiences will be most effective in reaching our communities. Because of this, NRHA has curated tools to assist you immediately and allow you to easily distribute and co-brand by adding your organization’s logo. Our resource library includes conversation starters and public service announcements developed in partnership with the COVID Collaborative, Health Action Alliance, and the Ad Council that can help rural employers, small business owners and public sector employers share vaccine facts and improve vaccination access for employees and families.

Bipartisan Group of Senators Reach Deal on Infrastructure Framework 

A bipartisan group of Senators announced they had reached a deal on the framework of an infrastructure package with the White House. President Biden endorsed the plan. However, House Democrats and some Senate Democrats are skeptical the deal will reach 60 votes in the Senate. The deal, as announced, totals roughly $1.2 trillion over eight years and includes $579 billion in new spending. Thus far, at least 11 Senate Republicans have agreed to back this plan. While the bipartisan group continues to sell the ‘physical’ infrastructure plan, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) continues crafting the ‘human’ infrastructure plan outlined by the President as the “American Families Plan.” President Biden, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hope to pass both bills simultaneously. NRHA will continue to monitor developments on these packages and provide updates to members each week. In the meantime, NRHA continues to advocate that relief for rural providers needs to be included in any infrastructure plan on Capitol Hill. You can find NRHA’s letter to Congressional leadership here.

New Payment Opportunity for RHCs and FQHCs under the DATA 2000 Waiver Training Payment Program 

HRSA is accepting applications for payment from rural health clinics (RHC) and federally qualified health centers (FQHC) employing buprenorphine waivered providers under a new program, the DATA 2000 Waiver Training Payment Program. RHCs and FQHCs have the opportunity to apply for a $3,000 payment for each eligible employed provider who attained a Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA 2000) waiver on or after January 1, 2019. The program is conducted in collaboration with SAMHSA. Waivers are issued by SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) and its Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) maintains the verified waivered practitioner database. There is no deadline to apply for this payment program, but available funds are limited and will be paid on a first-come, first-served basis. The Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, Section 6083, made $6 million available to FQHCs and $2 million available to RHCs under the DATA 2000 Waiver Training Payment Program. HRSA will accept applications for payment and process payments until all available funds are exhausted.

Dental Access Study in Health Centers

newly released study examines the role of dentist supply, need for care, and long-term continuity in HRSA-funded health centers in the United States. What it found was that even a small increase in dental workforce resulted in greater access to dental care among health center patients. Increases of 0.5 or 1.0 full-time employees could lead to a 5–10 percent increase in possible dental visits. Expansion of the dental workforce and infrastructure is important to increasing access to and use of oral health care. You can also read other articles about quality care delivered by health centers by clicking here.

Implicit Bias Harmful Effects

Implicit bias has harmful effects in many areas of life, from law enforcement to health care, to education. Read more about a National Academies’ workshop that explored its causes, its consequences, and ways to interrupt its damaging impacts.

Foster Children Face Barriers to Good Oral Health

According to a study that was recently published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, youths with a history of foster care are more at risk of having poor oral health and are less likely to see a dentist for a specific dental problem or for routine care than those who have not been in foster care.

Wearable Technology in Healthcare

The Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) recently completed a survey that revealed what has providers delighted and concerned about the possibilities for integrating wearable technology into healthcare practice. The benefit of wearable technology is important due to:

  • It is personal since they are present in moments of a patient’s life when other technology is not
  • It can be programmed to help wearers track their healthy decisions and set goals, hopefully helping impact development of chronic diseases sch as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease (as well as help those with the conditions to remain healthier.)
  • It provides just-in-time coaching that helps to create positive habits, such as step counting.
  • It is, for the most part, affordable.

Explore the results of the survey by clicking here.

Newer Apple iPhones and Implantable Device Potential Issues

According to an analysis recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, certain newer Apple iPhones are built with internal magnets that can significantly interfere with the function of cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs). During the small study it found that 11 of 14 CIEDs experienced interference when an iPhone 12 Max Pro was held within 1.5 cm to the cardiac device—even when in the manufacturer’s sealed package. These newer magnets are used to allow the phones to charge wirelessly and are stronger than magnets in earlier iPhones. Up until now, cell phones were found to pose little risk in interference with CIED function.

Medicare Drug Costs Soar Over 5-Year Period

According to the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee, the amount spent on Medicare drugs dispensed at pharmacies increased 26 percent from 2013 through 2018. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) is an independent congressional agency established by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 to advise the U.S. Congress on issues affecting the Medicare program. In addition to advising the Congress on payments to health plans participating in the Medicare Advantage program and providers in Medicare’s traditional fee-for-service program, MedPAC is also tasked with analyzing access to care, quality of care and other issues affecting Medicare. Read the report.