Behavioral Health in Rural America: Challenges and Opportunities

Behavioral Health In Rural America: Challenges and Opportunities

Principal authors: John Gale, MS; Jaclyn Janis, BSN, RN, MPH; Andrew Coburn, PhD; Hannah Rochford, MPH

Prepared by the RUPRI Health Panel: Keith Mueller, PhD; Andrew Coburn, PhD; Alana Knudson, PhD; Jennifer Lundblad, PhD, MBA; Timothy McBride, PhD

The prevelence mental health and substance use diagnoses and unmet treatment needs are not equally distributed, with rural residence being one factor associated with these differences. Moreover, the rural context has proven challenging for ensuring the availability of and access to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery services in rural areas. This paper reviews the prevalence of behavioral health disorders in rural populations, rural access to behavioral health services, promising program and policy strategies targeted to improving rural BH systems, and opportunities for policy and system changes to improve rural BH systems and outcomes.

Click to download a copy: Behavioral Health In Rural America: Challenges and Opportunities – Full document

340B Drug Discount Program: Increased Oversight Needed to Ensure Nongovernmental Hospitals Meet Eligibility Requirements

Provides an overview of the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) review of 258 nongovernmental hospitals that participate in the 340B Drug Pricing Program and their contracts with state and local governments. Evaluates the contracts to determine if they meet the eligibility requirement to serve low-income individuals. Outlines weaknesses in the Health Resources and Services Administration’s review of the hospital contracts and offers six recommendations to improve the contract review process.

Trump Administration Launches Presidential Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives

Jan 29, 2020 — The U.S. Department of Justice announced the White House task force on missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Native held its first meeting. Describes how the task force will work with tribal governments, develop protocols, and increase awareness to address the high rates of violence towards Native community members.

Policy Updates: Comments Requested: Proposed Changes to 2021 Health Insurance Marketplace

Comments Requested: Proposed Changes to 2021 Health Insurance Marketplace – March 2.   Last week, CMS posted its proposed changes to the Notice of Benefits and Payment Parameters and its draft Annual Letter to Issuers, which provide guidance to states and insurers for the administration of the American Health Benefit Exchanges (aka “the Marketplace”) in 2021.  Proposals address the cost of prescription drugs, determining eligibility for other public programs, the user fee rate, and the display of quality rating information on State-based Exchanges.  Application submission dates and requirements for Essential Community Providers (e.g., Rural Health Clinics, Critical Access Hospitals) are unchanged from 2020.   CMS has also extended for one year the policy allowing issuers to continue offering plans that do not meet all Marketplace reforms, if approved by the State.

Research: Variation in Use of Home Healthcare Among Fee-for-Service Medicare Beneficiaries by Rural-Urban Status.

Variation in Use of Home Healthcare Among Fee-for-Service Medicare Beneficiaries by Rural-Urban Status.  Despite incentive payments for home health care in rural communities, available data showed a significantly lower percentage of beneficiaries using home health in the most remote rural counties.  The brief is the work of the WWAMI Rural Health Research Center.

Research: Are Rural Infants Benefitting from Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) Food Package Rule Changes?

Are Rural Infants Benefiting from Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) Food Package Rule ChangesIn 2009, revisions were made to the WIC program to promote and support breastfeeding among those who are able and to improve infant feeding practices. This study compared breastfeeding initiation for rural and urban WIC participants, as well as changes in breastfeeding and infant feeding practices before and after the WIC Food Packages revisions.

Comments Requested: Proposed Research on Maternal Mortality

Comments Requested: Proposed Research on Maternal Mortality – February 21.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH)  request insight  on the needs of the maternal mortality research field.  NIH is considering a two-pronged approach researching disparities: 1) a multi-site community-based participatory research effort to evaluate and implement effective maternal mortality interventions; and 2) research opportunities to address risk factors, particularly in minority and underserved populations. 

2020 Census Response Rate Challenge

The U.S. Census Bureau created a toolkit designed to help local leaders improve their communities’ response rate in the upcoming national census. The toolkit is downloadable and contains ideas and resources for creating a local challenge, promotional materials, and general information about the 2020 Census.