Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Addressing Diabetes Factors through School & Community Partnerships 

The National Nurse-Led Care Consortium and School-Based Health Alliance have created a resource, “Addressing Diabetes Factors in Elementary School Children Through School and Community Partnerships.” Health centers can play a powerful role in performing appropriate screening, prevention and management of elementary-aged children with obesity and other pre-diabetic indicators by collaborating with schools and other community partners.

96% of U.S. Counties See Decline in Share of White Population

Axios reports that America is more racially diverse than at any point in history, and racial minorities are becoming more geographically dispersed than ever before. Nationally, Hispanics and Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial minority groups, increasing by 18.6% and 27.4%, respectively, between 2010 and 2018, according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution demographer Bill Frey, whose 2018 book “Diversity Explosion” outlined the country’s majority-minority future. Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando, Dallas, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Seattle registered substantial growth in their black populations. The nation’s white population has grown only 0.1% since 2010 and is projected to decline over the next decade. Read more.

Check Out the Pennsylvania Health Insurance Exchange Webpage

Keep up to date on the creation and rollout of Pennsylvania’s state-based health insurance exchange on the Department of Insurance’s State-Based Exchange webpage. Pennsylvania has been a federally facilitated marketplace or exchange since 2013. For the 2020 enrollment period, Pennsylvania has moved to a state-based exchange (SBE) using the federal platform (SBE-FP) and will fully transition to a SBE in 2021. For 2020, this will allow Pennsylvanians to continue to choose plans and enroll into the marketplace using, but the state is responsible for performing all marketplace functions for the individual market and the Small Business Health Insurance Options Program (SHOP).


“Walmart Health” – A New Primary Care Venture

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is moving deeper into the primary care and mental health market, opening a new clinic called Walmart Health in Georgia. The company recently updated its website with a link to Walmart Health and also went online with the site “,” where patients can set up appointments. Walmart is testing the concept with this initial clinic that will give patients access to comprehensive and low-cost primary care, including for mental health issues. The website indicates that the company will offer primary care, dental, counseling, labs, X-rays and audiology, among other services. Walmart is already one of the largest pharmacy companies in the U.S., offering in-store sections for prescription drugs in almost all of its 4,700 locations across the U.S. The company said health and wellness, which includes pharmacy, clinical and optical services, accounted for about 9%, or $36 billion, of its roughly $332 billion in U.S. sales last fiscal year. Walmart’s distinct opportunity is that roughly 140 million people visit its stores every week, and it has about 1.5 million U.S. employees spread across cities of all sizes, including in rural areas where there’s a shortage of health-care services.

Comments Requested: Rural Access to Health Care Services

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) seeks information from the public about measuring access to health care in rural communities. This Request for Information (RFI) supports the ongoing work of the HHS Rural Health Task Force that is seeking to identify the needs of rural communities, how to meet those needs, and what HHS policy changes can address those needs. Questions for public comment specific to rural communities include: what are the core health care services needed, what types and numbers of health care professionals are needed, what factors are important to identify core health services, and how should access to health care services be measured. People in rural communities face a range of health disparities, including greater obesity and disease burden in children and adults, higher mortality rates, and shorter life expectancy. Rural areas also have fewer health professionals per person compared to urban areas.  Click here to access the RFI.  Comments are due on October 9, 2019.

The Latest from ERS on Rural Poverty and Well-Being

The Economic Research Service (ERS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture released data from its research on the economic, social, and demographic factors affecting rural poverty.  The ERS reports that there are 353 persistently poor counties in the United States, meaning that 20 percent or more of their populations were living in poverty over the course of several decades. Eighty-five percent of these counties are rural.  In 2017, more than one-third of non-metro families headed by a female with no spouse present were poor (33.8 percent), and nearly half of those with related children were poor (44.4 percent).

Pennsylvania Department of Health Earns National Public Health Accreditation

March 26, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health achieved national public health accreditation on Monday, demonstrating the department’s continued commitment to protecting and improving the health and safety of Pennsylvanians.

“This is a very important milestone in our continued efforts to promote healthy lifestyles, prevent injury and disease and to assure the safe delivery of quality health care to Pennsylvanians,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Each day, we are working to address health issues in a wide range of areas, including ensuring Pennsylvania has healthy moms and healthy kids, protecting seniors in nursing homes and addressing the opioid crisis. We are committed to working toward a healthy Pennsylvania.”

There are 34 states that have achieved their accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board since the national accreditation program launched in 2011 with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. More than 240 health departments nationwide have achieved the prestigious designation, including Allegheny County, Erie County, the Bethlehem Health Bureau and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health in Pennsylvania.

Accreditation also satisfies a goal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which identified accreditation as a key strategy for strengthening our nation’s public health infrastructure. A strong public health infrastructure is more important than ever in the constantly changing local, national and global health environment.

The department began preparing for this step several years ago. Before submitting its application, the department completed several crucial steps, including finalizing the state’s health improvement plan and its organizational strategic plan, addressing challenges identified in a self-assessment and strategy maps for health reform and health equity.

“Public health is an ever-changing landscape, with potential threats including Ebola, pandemic influenza and the misinformation regarding vaccinations,” Secretary Levine said. “We are committed to preparing for each of these concerns and also being aware of new potential issues that could affect the health of Pennsylvanians each day.”

For more information on the Department and the work being done to ensure the health of Pennsylvanians, visit or follow us on FacebookOpens In A New Window and TwitterOpens In A New Window.

MEDIA CONTACT: Nate Wardle, 717-787-1783 or