Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Analyzing Rural Enrollment in Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program Lags Behind Urban

The latest Report to Congress from the non-partisan Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) shows that the number of rural Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs) who also receive full Medicaid benefits stayed relatively the same between 2010 and 2021, while the number living in urban areas increased.  These “QMB plus” enrollees receive assistance from Medicaid with their Medicare premiums and cost sharing plus full Medicaid benefits through eligibility pathways, such as Supplemental Security Income benefits and the aged, blind, and disabled pathway for individuals who are low income and age 65 or older or who have a qualifying disability.  This growing disparity between urban and rural enrollment may indicate that there are opportunities for future outreach to enroll more eligible rural enrollees in this assistance program.  This report also provides recommendations to Congress to increase transparency in Medicaid and CHIP financing, tools that states can use to optimize state Medicaid agency contracts, and improvements to demographic data collection in Medicaid.

Examining Risk Factors for Poor Health Among U.S. Older Adults in Rural and Urban Areas: Injury, Food Insecurity, and Lack of Social and Emotional Support

rural health ClinicAmong key findings in this brief from the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center:

  • Nearly 30 percent of rural and urban older adults reported experiencing at least one of the selected risk factors (injury, food insecurity, or lack of social and emotional support).
  • Of the three risk factors, lack of social and emotional support was the most common, reported by over 18 percent of older adults from both rural and urban areas.
  • Injury was the second-most reported risk factor and was more commonly reported by rural than urban older adults.
  • Food insecurity was experienced by a slightly higher percentage of rural older adults than those in urban areas.

CRS Answers FAQs about Federal Funding for Health Care Facilities

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) compiles Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) with background information on federal programs, including those that may be available to support facilities during an emergency or natural disaster.  There are many references to rural throughout, describing facility types, payment models, and rural-specific funding.

White House Releases Factsheet Highlighting Efforts Toward Cybersecurity in Healthcare

Responding to recent cyber attacks in the health care sector, the White House outlined a number of actions to mitigate further disruption to providers and patients.  The factsheet notes rural providers such as Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Emergency Hospitals are particularly vulnerable and details commitments from leading technology companies to provide free and low-cost resources for rural hospitals across the country.

HRSA Makes Awards for the Rural Health Network Development Planning Program

The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, located in HRSA, awarded approximately $3 million to 30 awardees through the Rural Health Network Development Planning Program to support organizations in their efforts to develop integrated health networks to conduct planning activities over the course of one year, with the goal of expanding access and improving quality of care in the rural communities they serve.  The project period is July 1, 2024 through June 30, 2025.

HRSA Invests $11 Million to Expand Medical Residencies in Rural Communities

Today, HRSA announced awards of more than $11 million to 15 organizations to strengthen the health workforce in rural areas. Administered through the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, located within HRSA, the Rural Residency Planning and Development Program supports the planning and establishment of new residency training programs in family medicine, internal medicine, psychiatry, preventive medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and general surgery.  HRSA-funded research has found that more than half of rural U.S. counties lack hospital obstetric services. In response to the declining rural access to maternal health care, one of the awards will be used to create the first obstetrics and gynecology Rural Track Program in the country. Another six of today’s 15 awards will be used to develop new family medicine residency programs with a focus on enhanced obstetrical training in rural communities. Award recipients will each receive up to $750,000 over three years to establish new rural residency programs. They will use this funding to support accreditation costs, curriculum development, faculty recruitment and retention, resident recruitment activities, and consultation services to inform program development. These awards complement efforts by the Administration and by Congress to reform and expand Medicare payment policies for residency training.

Final Recommendation Statement: Implementing Interventions to Prevent Falls in Community-Dwelling Older Adults 

rural health Clinic

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released a final recommendation statement on interventions to prevent falls in community-dwelling older adults. The Task Force found that exercise can help prevent falls in adults 65 and older who are at increased risk. Additional interventions might be helpful for some older adults. To view the recommendation, the evidence on which it is based, and a summary for clinicians, please go here.

State Tobacco-Related Disparities Dashboard Released

The state tobacco-related disparities dashboard, available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, is an intuitive visualization platform. Use it to quickly explore cigarette smoking prevalence and related disparities in states by numerous factors. It can help you identify opportunities for improvement and action with your health center patients.