Study Published: Education in Rural Areas Increases Tendency to Practice There

A study by researchers from the Cecil Sheps Center for Health Services at the University of North Carolina and the National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network (3RNET) analyzed survey data from licensed clinicians working in rural safety net practices across 21 states from 2015 to 2022. They found that nearly two-thirds of the 778 survey respondents had, during their formal education, experienced medically underserved populations in rural counties. This clearly links educational opportunities in rural areas with clinicians’ likelihood to eventually practice in rural areas. These results support the integration of clinicians within these communities for longer retention in rural safety net practices. Read more on preparing behavioral health clinicians for success and retention in rural safety net practices.

New Research Explores Influences of Online Information for Aspirin Use

The Heterogeneous Influences of Online Health Information Seeking on Aspirin Use for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention

Authors: Jingrong Zhu, PhD; Yunfeng Shi, PhD; Yi Cui, PhD; Wei Yan, Ph.D., Penn State

Making decisions related to health and healthcare is an important part of life for most consumers. As sources of health information have expanded explosively, consumers’ information seeking and processing in the context of health decision making have also become increasingly complicated.

Previous research has shown that online health information seeking is associated with medication adherence. However, less is known about the factors that moderate such a relationship. This study examines four different sources of health information jointly and their interactive roles in consumers’ decisions on using aspirin for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention: the advice from health care providers, prior CVD diagnosis, CVD risk factors due to co-morbidities, and online health information.

Our results indicated that online health information seeking had heterogeneous influences on aspirin use for CVD prevention, depending on other factors such as provider advice, prior CVD diagnoses, and CVD risk factors, and potentially leading to both overuse and underuse.

Find more details about the article here.

Preparing Behavioral Health Clinicians for Success and Retention in Rural Safety Net Practices

The researchers of this study analyzed survey data from licensed clinicians working in rural safety net practices across 21 states from 2015 to 2022. They found nearly two-thirds of the 778 survey respondents had formal educational experiences with medically underserved populations in rural counties. These results support the integration of clinicians within these communities for longer retention in rural safety net practices.

Read the full report here.

Unrelenting Pressure Pushes Rural Safety Net into Uncharted Territory

America’s rural health safety net has been in crisis mode since 2010. Rural hospital closures, decreasing reimbursements, declining operating margins, and staffing shortages have all coalesced to undermine the delivery of care in communities whose populations are older, less healthy, and less affluent. The mission of the safety net to serve under-resourced communities is unraveling.

The latest research conducted by the Chartis Center for Rural Health points to a startling new phase of this crisis as rural hospitals fall deeper into the red, “care deserts” widen throughout rural communities, and the increasing penetration of Medicare Advantage could further disrupt rural hospital revenue.

Click here to read the report.

New Report: U.S. Banking Deserts on the Rise

A new report shows banking deserts — neighborhoods with no bank branches nearby — are on the rise. From 2019 to 2023, the total number of U.S. bank branches declined by 5.6 percent, the number of banking deserts increased by 217, and the number of Americans living in banking deserts grew by 760,000.

Despite the overall trend toward online banking, older, disabled, and lower-income communities often rely on in-person banking. For people facing other barriers to banking services, having no bank branches nearby could limit opportunities to foster financial health and build wealth.

The report also examines how financial institutions in some communities are working to address the decline of retail bank branches.

Read the report.

Just Released! 2024 Progress Update on Pennsylvania Oral Health Plan Outcomes

PCOH recently published “2024 Progress Update on Measurable Outcomes for the Pennsylvania Oral Health Plan 2020-2030.” This resource tracks the efforts of 22 measurable outcomes across three priority areas including in the Pennsylvania Oral Health Plan 2020-2030. The resource identifies a baseline data point, the current status, and 2030 goal for each outcome. Check it out to see how Pennsylvania is doing with improving oral health!

Click here to download the resource.

NIH Study Shows Higher Mortality Rates for Patients on Respiratory Support in Rural Care

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) published a study finding rural patients receiving ventilator life support in intermediate care units had significantly higher death rates than patients in the same type of unit at urban hospitals.  Data was collected from 2010 to 2019 on 2.75 million hospitalizations of Medicare patients who were on respiratory support at rural and urban hospitals across the country.

Read the full report here.

New Medicaid Model for Treatment of Rare Diseases Introduced

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) Access Model, an initiative that aims to improve the lives of people with Medicaid living with rare and severe diseases by increasing access to potentially transformative treatments. Initially the model will focus on increasing access to gene therapy treatment for sickle cell disease, a genetic blood disorder that disproportionately impacts Black Americans. CGT is a multi-year payment model with state Medicaid agencies and pharmaceutical companies acting as participants, with optional grant funding available for states to provide an increased level of support for patients receiving gene therapy. CMS expects to release a Request for Application (RFA) to manufacturers in early spring 2024 and an RFA and Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to states in summer 2024.

Read the full article here.

AHRQ Requesting Public Input: Severe Maternal Morbidity Measurement – Comment by March 4

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) needs assistance with data on state-level rates of severe maternal morbidity, that help inform HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau Title V Block Grant.  Among the questions AHRQ has for stakeholders representing consumers – including but not limited to state and local health departments, accountable care organizations, and providers such as Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics – is what quantitative data would you need to make maternal health service improvements.  The comment period closes on March 4th and comments should be sent to askahrq@ahrq.hhs.gov.  Recently, the Government Accountability Office cited several factors that pose additional risks and challenges for pregnant women in rural areas.

Read the full report here.