Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Pennsylvania Governor’s Administration Launches Overdose Prevention Program

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) has announced a new program, building on the impact of the Naloxone for First Responders Program (NFRP). The new program—the PA Overdose Prevention Program—will serve as a “one-stop-shop” for individuals and organizations seeking multiple formulations of naloxone and related harm reduction supplies, including fentanyl and xylazine test strips. It will also serve as a clearinghouse for information, training, and technical assistance to help groups involved in harm reduction work and others on the front lines of Pennsylvania’s evolving overdose crisis. Like the NFRP, the PA Overdose Prevention Program will focus on getting naloxone and harm reduction supplies into the hands of people who use drugs and those who serve and support them. Read more about the initiative.

Medicaid and CHIP Renewals Begin: Reaching Children and Families in School-Based and Early Education and Care Settings

 As pandemic-era protections for Medicaid coverage end, the Centers for Medicaid & Medicaid Services created materials and resources to help people with Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) take steps to renew their health coverage or find other coverage options. Education and early education professionals can use this toolkit to reach parents and families about what is happening right now with Medicaid and CHIP, and community groups are encouraged to use this slide deck and talking points for outreach.

A New Toolkit Has Been Created to Support Routine Vaccination Catch-Up in School-Aged Children

Kindergarten vaccination coverage in the United States is the lowest it has been in decades, placing children and their communities at risk for preventable disease outbreaks. The Public Health Foundation, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, developed an actionable toolkit containing evidence-based strategies, tools, and resources to support and address routine vaccination catch-up. Share and review the toolkit with your education partners.

Find Out How Many Older Adults in Employer Plans Can’t Afford Care

With premiums and deductibles outpacing income growth over the past decade, employer health plans are failing to protect many older adults from health costs or ensure access to affordable care, a new Commonwealth Fund study shows. Large shares of adults ages 50 to 64 in these plans, especially people with low or moderate income, can’t afford needed care and struggle to pay their medical bills. Learn what policymakers can do to expand coverage options for people in this age group. Read more.

Comments Have Been Requested on Requirements Related to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act 

In this proposed rule, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury propose several updates to strengthen the Mental Health Parity and Addition Equity Act of 2008 and better ensure that people seeking coverage for mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) care can access treatment as easily as people seeking coverage for medical treatments. In addition, this rule seeks public input on ways to improve the coverage of mental health and SUD benefits through other provisions of Federal law.  Sixty percent of rural Americans live in mental health professional shortage areas. Non-metro adults were more likely than metro adults (43.7% vs. 34.5%) to see a general practitioner or family doctor, as opposed to a mental health specialist for depressive symptoms, and among non-metro adults with depression, fewer than 20% received treatment from a mental health professional. Comments are due by October 2, 2023.