Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

February 2, 2018

What’s New

NEMJ: The Challenging Quest to Improve Rural Health CareThe New England Journal of Medicine has a new article (subscription required) in its current edition that reviews the history of federal policy for rural health and examines current challenges that include widening disparities in life expectancy, sustainability of rural hospitals, tackling the opioid epidemic and the shortage of rural health workforce.

Teen Attitudes Toward Alcohol and Drug Use.  Last week was National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, an annual observance promoted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to foster a science-based understanding among teenagers of drugs, alcohol and addiction.  Since 1975, a NIDA-funded survey called Monitoring the Future has asked teens aged 12 to 17 about their attitude and behavior toward substance use.  The most recent survey showed that opioid misuse is at historic lows for teens but that vaping and marijuana use are more popular.  The findings on teen opioid use is similar to an October report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that showed a decline in past-month drug use among teenagers in rural areas.

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Read “The Rural Connection” Winter 2018 Issue

February 2, 2018

Innovative Health Technologies

This issue of “The Rural Connection” focuses on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) efforts to provide innovative health care technology options for Veterans, especially in the area of telemedicine.

This issue highlights the innovative ways VA is working to increase access to care for rural Veterans. As Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, M.D. emphasized, “We’re removing geography as a barrier so that we can speed up access to Veterans and really honor our commitment to them.”

In case you missed it, last quarter’s issue featured some of the ways VA is restoring trust with Veterans and ways they relate to increasing access to care for rural Veterans.

As you will read throughout these articles, ORH and its partners are committed to make a healthy difference in the communities in which Veterans work and live. Our ultimate goal remains to increase access to care and services for Veterans who reside in rural and highly rural communities.

New Medicare Card Webinars with Updated Information

February 2, 2018
New Medicare Card Webinars with Updated Material since 1/30/2018 webinar

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Kansas City Regional Office invites you to attend the New Medicare Card Webinars. Recent legislation requires CMS to remove Social Security Numbers from all Medicare cards to address the current risk of beneficiary medical identity theft, and to replace the cards with a unique number for each Medicare beneficiary. These webinars will address the new card design, the timeframe of the mailings and scenarios, what Medicare beneficiaries should do to ensure they receive their new card, and partner resources to help with education.

The goal of these free webinars is to educate those who serve people with Medicare and their caregivers so they can be a valuable resource on this initiative. Please share this invite with your partners.

There are multiple webinars so you can choose one that best works with your schedule. All webinars will provide the same information. CMS will host separate webinars and informational sessions for people with Medicare and their caregivers.

February 8, 2018 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

February 16, 2018 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

February 21, 2018 1:00 PM CST – 2:00 PM CST