New 50-State Study on Non-Licensed Substance Use Disorder Workers

As barriers to treatment continue to serve as an issue to those seeking care for substance use disorder (SUD), one of those barriers is a shortage of SUD professionals. A new study discusses ways to better utilize non-licensed employees in the behavioral health and substance use disorder workforce. The study was conducted by the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) with support from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) through its cooperative agreement with the National Organizations of State and Local Officials.

New Study Assesses Factors Impacting Access to Reproductive Health for Low-Income Women

Beyond the Numbers: Access to Reproductive Health Care for Low-Income Women in Five Communities is a new study released by Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). In the spring and summer of 2019, KFF, working with Health Management Associates, conducted interviews with clinicians, social service providers, community-based organizations, researchers, and health care advocates, as well as a focus group with low-income women in five “medically underserved” communities, including Erie, PA. Based on the interviews and focus groups, the study addresses how national, state, and local policies, as well as cultural factors, shape access to contraceptive care, sexually transmitted infection prevention and treatment, obstetrical care, and abortion services. Read more.

The Geography of the Opioid Epidemic

In December 2019, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed paperwork authorizing the eighth extension of Pennsylvania’s emergency opioid declaration. Many key partners and stakeholders throughout Pennsylvania have worked hard to increase access to naloxone in case of an opioid related overdose. A new study by researchers at Syracuse University, Iowa State University and the University of Iowa indicates that although opioid overdose rates may be declining, the fight is still long from over. A study from the Atlantic’s CityLab focuses on how the opioid epidemic continues to impact urban and rural areas very differently. Both studies offer insightful perspectives for those working in the field.

Opioid-Related Hospitalization and Its Association With Chronic Diseases: Findings From the National Inpatient Sample, 2011-2015

This report provides the results of a study examining whether opioid-related hospitalization is associated with cancer, stroke, obesity, asthma, liver or spinal disease, and arthritis. Features demographic statistics with breakdowns by urban or rural location.

Author(s): Janani Rajbhandari-Thapa, Donglan Zhang, Heather M. Padilla, Sae Rom Chung
Location: Preventing Chronic Disease, 16
Date: 11/2019

CRS Report on Broadband Access in Rural Areas

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides objective policy and legal analysis to committees and members of the U.S. House and Senate.  For this report, researchers examine the characteristics of demand for fixed broadband in rural areas and how they affect private sector infrastructure investments.  Click here to read the full report.

Rural-Urban Differences in Access to and Attitudes Toward Care for Medicare Beneficiaries

Rural Medicare beneficiaries face particular hurdles in accessing care, including longer distances to health care facilities, lower median incomes, fewer private supplemental and Medicare Advantage plan options, higher disability rates (leading to greater need), and health care workforce shortages. In this brief from the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center, researchers describe the differences for Medicare beneficiaries in rural and urban areas.  Click here to read the full report.

Telehealth: An Opportunity for State and Territorial Health Agencies to Improve Access to Needed Health Services

Through support from our National Organizations of State and Local Officials cooperative agreement, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) published Telehealth: An Opportunity for State and Territorial Health Agencies to Improve Access to Needed Health Services in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.

The article describes the results of a 2019 telehealth survey ASTHO administered to all 59 state and territorial health officials, which assessed the landscape of telehealth activities, priorities, and technical assistance needed within state and territorial health agencies. It then provides strategies states can use, including leveraging partnerships and improving broadband access, to expand access to health care services and enhance population health through telehealth.

Study Finds Only One-Third of States Have Publicly Available Guidelines for Levels of Maternal Care

A recent study led by HRSA staff found differences in the number of states with publicly available guidelines for levels of maternal care, and the number of states incorporating maternal care criteria.

In 2015, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists developed a classification system for levels of maternal care. They introduced standardized criteria and uniform definitions to enable monitoring of risk-appropriate care and evaluate its impact on health outcomes. However, the current study found that only one-third of states have publically available guidelines that incorporate these criteria for levels of maternal care.

A system of risk-appropriate maternal care may have the largest potential impact on preventing pregnancy-related deaths in the United States. This study highlights the need for further dissemination and implementation of perinatal guidelines to ensure women receive care in facilities that align with their risk.

Read about HRSA’s work to address maternal care. Read the Journal of Women’s Health abstract.