- EOP: Improving Rural Health and Telehealth Access
- HHS Awards Over $101 Million to Combat the Opioid Crisis
- Research Brief: Rural Areas Have Higher Individual Health Insurance Premiums and Fewer Plan Choices
- 'Like a Horror Movie': A Small Border Hospital Battles the Coronavirus
- Using Pharmacists to Provide Care in Rural Areas
- Trump Administration Proposes to Expand Telehealth Benefits Permanently for Medicare Beneficiaries Beyond the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and Advances Access to Care in Rural Areas
- President Trump Signs Executive Order on Improving Rural Health and Telehealth Access
- Rural Counties Playing Catch-up with 2020 Census Response
- FCC Extends 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window
- HHS Extends Application Deadline for Medicaid Providers and Plans to Reopen Portal to Certain Medicare Providers
- Rural and Community Hospitals – Disappearing Before Our Eyes
- Study Examines Telehealth, Rural Disparities in Pandemic
- Research Brief: Rural Nurse Practitioners Work with More Autonomy than Urban Nurse Practitioners
- Native Americans Feel Devastated by the Virus Yet Overlooked in the Data
- Helping America's "Forgotten Places" Amid a Pandemic
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.
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.
Are Rural Infants Benefiting from Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) Food Package Rule Changes? In 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 – 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.
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.
The Kaiser Family Foundation reports on changes in health insurer participation from 2014-2020 for all counties in the U.S. with charts, tables, and interactive maps.
GAO Report: Barriers to Medicaid Beneficiaries’ Access to Treatment Medications. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) identifies state and federal policies that can impose barriers to Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder. A 2018 study found that about 40 percent of states may not provide Medicaid coverage for some MAT medications as required by law. A 2016 study of rural physicians found that more than half of providers with waivers to prescribe medications to treat addiction were not accepting new patients.
February 6, 2020
Due March 6. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is requesting feedback from the public about a future funding opportunity for Telehealth Resource Center (TRC) Program. Specific questions pertain to use of TRC services and their effectiveness. HRSA may use the responses collected to inform policy development and program decision making, among other purposes. The responses and/or a summary of the responses will be shared with the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth in HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.
HHS seeks public comment on its draft 2020-2025 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan.
The plan focuses on health IT as a catalyst to empower patients, lower costs, deliver high-quality care, and improve health for individuals, families, and communities.
The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology led the development of the plan, which was coordinated with 25 federal organizations.
The deadline for comments is March 18 at 11:59:59 p.m. EDT.
In an effort to address health care workforce shortages, 54 bills from 30 states were enacted into law in 2019 related to behavioral health providers, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and oral health providers.
The National Conference of State Legislatures discussed the legislation in a recent blog post outlining scope of practice legislation. Their work is supported through HRSA’s cooperative agreement with National Organizations of State and Local Officials (NOSLO).