Rural Health Information Hub

January 14, 2019

New Resources                                                         

Reimagine Rural Health in Missouri

Summarizes discussion and strategies regarding ten rural health issues explored at the 2018 Rural Healthcare Summit in Missouri. Covers topics such as expanded access to behavioral health services, primary care, substance use disorder treatment; social determinants of health; payment models; telehealth; and more.
Sponsoring organization: Missouri Hospital Association.

Rural Health Research Policy Center

January 16, 2019

The RUPRI Rural Health Panel, through the support of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) in the Department of Health and Human Services, has released a new Policy Brief, Assessing the Unintended Consequences of Health Policy on Rural Populations and Places.

The purpose of this paper is to illuminate the unintended consequences of health policy so that past is not prologue to future. The Panel explores a series of health policies that have affected, or had the potential to affect, rural people, places, and/or providers in ways counteractive to policy intent. Two realities drive the need for this analysis: 1) Rural health care systems are living with the legacy of policies having unintended consequences because the full impact of such policies on rural stakeholders was neither predicted nor understood; and (2) Policymakers have recognized the need to apply a rural lens to new and ongoing programs and policies to inform the pathways by which equitable rural health status and health care can be achieved, as articulated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Rural Health Council in its first explicit Rural Health Strategy. The Panel concludes with a framework for health policy evaluation that considers potential and unintended rural impacts.

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

January 31, 2019

What’s New

New Mobile Tool for Medicare Beneficiaries.  This week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new tool, to be used on mobile phones and devices, intended to help Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers understand what’s covered under their plan.  For those enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), the new “What’s Covered” app will allow users to quickly see whether Medicare covers a specific medical item or service. Medicare is public health insurance provided to Americans aged 65 and older, a population CMS expects to increase by almost 50 percent in the next decade – from 54 million beneficiaries in 2015 to more than 80 million beneficiaries in 2030. Medicare has a significant role in rural health care.  In addition to support for an older and sicker population living in rural areas, Medicare provides payment to physicians in Health Professional Shortage Areas, reimburses services at Rural Health Clinics and supports the financial stability of Critical Access Hospitals. Continue reading “Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements”

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

January 24, 2019

What’s New

CDC: Opioid Prescribing Higher in Rural Areas.  In the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed electronic health record data from 2014-2017 and found that patients in the most rural counties had an 87% higher chance of receiving an opioid prescription compared to patients in large metropolitan counties.  The report posits higher odds may be attributed to several factors, including higher prevalence of conditions associated with pain and limited access to alternative therapies. Continue reading “Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements”

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

January 17, 2019

What’s New

New Reports and Recommendations for Rural Health Policy.  Two new briefs from the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services are now viewable online.  During its September 2018 meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Committee took an in-depth look at two pertinent topics: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and oral health care services. The Committee examined the factors and impacts of these conditions in rural areas and sent its findings and recommendations to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Continue reading “Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements”