Trends in Preterm Births by Rural Status in the U.S., 2012-2018

April 27, 2021

Click here to view the Study

Trends in Singleton Preterm Birth by Rural Status in the U.S., 2012-2018

Rates of infant mortality and preterm birth in the U.S. are among the highest of any industrialized nation and significant disparities in rates exist by maternal characteristics. This study examines singleton* preterm birth rates from 2012-2018 by rurality and census region using birth certificate data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

The data showed preterm singleton birth rates were consistently higher in rural versus urban areas across all race and ethnic groups, payment sources for delivery, and persons participating in the Women, Infants, and Children program. The increased risk for infant and maternal mortality and morbidity in rural areas highlights the importance of health assistance programs for pregnant women, mothers, and children in these rural communities.

*A singleton birth is the birth of only one child during a single delivery with a gestation of 20 weeks or more.

Contact Information:

Maria Perez-Patron, PhD
Southwest Rural Health Research Center
Phone: 979.436.9490

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Daily Digest Bulletin

April 27, 2021

Building Strong Community Partnerships to Address Social Needs – Insights from the Accountable Health Communities Model

The Accountable Health Communities (AHC) Model encourages organizations to align community partners and health systems to address health related social needs. CMS recently released a case study, Building Strong Community Partnerships to Address Social Needs (PDF), that highlights how one organization, Health Net of West Michigan, leverages its advisory board and partnerships to achieve this goal. The case study includes successful strategies for engaging community members, partnering across sectors, structuring advisory board meetings, and taking evidence-based action.

Additional information about the AHC Model can be found on the Model’s webpage.

Influenza and Pertussis Vaccination Rates Among Pregnant Women in Rural and Urban Areas

April 27, 2021

Infants younger than 6 months old are highly susceptible to severe vaccine-preventable diseases. Immunization of mothers during pregnancy, in combination with childhood immunization without delay, offers the optimal opportunity to prevent severe infant morbidity and mortality.

This study evaluates the receipt of influenza and pertussis vaccines among pregnant women from 2012-2018 in the U.S. using data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System. The data showed the percentage of influenza vaccination among rural pregnant women was lower than their urban counterparts with significant differences in certain subgroups. The data, however, for pertussis vaccination in pregnant women across the urban-rural continuum showed similar percentages overall but with some differences observed in subgroups. This study suggests important gains have been made in maternal vaccination, but significant differences persist across the urban-rural continuum.

Click here to view the study!

Contact Information:

Annette Regan, PhD, MPH, MInfDis
Southwest Rural Health Research Center
Phone: 650.787.1687

Webinar: Two-Part Series on Substance Use Disorder (SUD)


Part 1: Harm Reduction for Health Care; May 5th at 11:00 PM – 12:00 PM CST

Part 2: Buprenorphine in New York State: A Clinical Overview; May 19th at 11:00 PM – 12:00 PM CST

Click here to Register for Part 1.

Click here to Register for Part 2.

HRSA Region 2 & the Hepatitis C and Drug User Health Center Excellence Presents a Two- Part Series on Substance Use Disorder

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Region 2 is inviting you to a two-part webinar series on Substance Use Disorder, in collaboration with the Mount Sinai Hepatitis C and Drug User Health Center Excellence.  This two course series aims to increase medical providers’ capacity to care for people who use drugs, and in particular individuals with opioid use disorder.  In part 1 of the series, the discussion will focus on the importance of having a harm reduction approach to medical care in order to decrease overdose risk, transmission of blood borne viruses, and other negative health outcomes associated with substance use.  In part 2 of the series, the discussion will focus on buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder and identify how it fits within a harm reduction framework.  Additionally, it will review federal and state requirements for prescribing buprenorphine, discuss perceived challenges regarding implementing buprenorphine and review strategies to overcome said challenges.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Daily Digest Bulletin

April 21, 2021

On April 16, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for bamlanivimab, when administered alone, due to a sustained increase in COVID-19 viral variants in the U.S. that are resistant to this antibody therapy. The FDA determined that the known and potential benefits of bamlanivimab, when administered alone, no longer outweigh the known and potential risks.

Medicare will cover and pay for bamlanivimab, when administered alone, for dates of service from November 10, 2020 – April 16, 2021.

The FDA indicates that alternative monoclonal antibody therapies remain appropriate to treat COVID-19 patients, and health care providers may continue using these authorized therapies when administered together:

  • Casirivimab & imdevimab
  • Bamlanivimab & etesevimab

More Information:

Monoclonal Antibody COVID-19 Infusion webpage

New Webinar: Critical Access Hospital Response to COVID-19

On April 19, 2021, the Flex Monitoring Team hosted a webinar presenting their results from a survey of Critical Access Hospital (CAH) CEOs about their hospitals’ capacity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics covered in the webinar included federal funding bills, federal policy waivers, capacity for treatment, workforce, and partnerships. In the second half of the webinar, the FMT answered questions from attendees and discussed future directions for evaluating CAHs’ response to COVID-19 and preparedness for future public health emergencies.

A recording of the webinar and the slides presented can be found here.

FORHP Announcements

April 22, 2021

What’s New?

Awards for the Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program. The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy awarded more than $12.7 for this four-year program for improved health services tailored to the specific needs of local communities. For the first time, awarded funding includes more than $3.7 million to the Healthy Rural Hometown Initiative to address the underlying factors related to the five leading causes of avoidable death (heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury/substance use, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke). Program funding will also support improving social determinants of health, chronic disease management and prevention, care coordination, telehealth, dental care, and behavioral health, among other areas. Visit the Rural Health Information Hub online to learn more about successful program models and evidence-based toolkits that have come from the work of FORHP-funded projects.

Facts About COVID Care for the Uninsured. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) helps uninsured individuals find no-cost COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccines. The HRSA Uninsured Program provides claims reimbursement to health care providers generally at Medicare rates for testing, treating, and administering vaccines to uninsured individuals, including undocumented immigrants. There are at-a-glance fact sheets for providers and for patients in English and Spanish.

ACL Strategies for Helping Older Adults and People with Disabilities Access COVID-19 Vaccines. The Administration for Community Living (ACL) offers examples and promising practices for states, municipalities, community-based partners and anyone else working to ensure access to vaccination. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services released an issue brief on potential barriers to vaccination for homebound older adults.

CDC Launches New Website on Racism and Health. On April 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a new Racism and Health website that will be a hub for CDC’s activities on disparities and the factors that cause them.

Celebrating One Year of Today marks the one-year anniversary of the website, a one-stop resource on telehealth for patients and providers. Visit to get the latest information, including telehealth tips (in English and Spanish) for patients, to telehealth best practice guides for health care providers.


NARHC-News 2021 Spring Edition

April 23, 2021

HRSA Loan Repayment

HRSA’s National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has awarded scholarships and loan repayment to health care providers dedicated to working in areas with limited access to care for nearly 50 years. This award year will be the largest one in HRSA’s history and clinicians are encouraged to apply even if their organization’s health professional shortage area (HPSA) score has not been competitive for awards in the past. Additionally, the NHSC Loan Repayment Program will dedicate $15 million for awards to clinicians working at Indian Health Service facilities, Tribally-Operated 638 Health Programs, and Urban Indian Health Programs.

The NHSC opened its application for three loan repayment programs: the NHSC Loan Repayment Program, the NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program, and the NHSC Rural Community Loan Repayment Program. The application closes on Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Read More

Telling the Story of Rural Health Clinics: One Survey at a Time

It seems like everyone wants you to fill out a survey in today’s day and age. After almost every interaction with an organization or company, we are prodded (sometimes not so subtly) to fill out a survey or provide a 1-to-5-star rating. Healthcare is no exception as many of you probably do the same thing with your patients!

We all probably have survey fatigue at this point, but it remains an important and useful tool for organizations to gather data and figure out how to improve. NARHC is no exception to this rule, and needs you to fight the survey fatigue to help tell the Rural Health Clinic story in Washington D.C. & across the country. Read More

Providers Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine for Workers

The Houston Methodist hospital system is hoping to “lead by example” by mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for all of its workers.

“At Houston Methodist, we’ve made a commitment to offer our patients unparalleled safety, quality, service and innovation. When we choose to be vaccinated against COVID-19 we are prioritizing safety by helping stop the spread of this deadly virus and keeping our patients, visitors and colleagues safe,” Houston Methodist President and CEO Dr. Marc Boom said in an email to managers. Read More

NARHC has the Answers You’re Looking For!

Have you ever found yourself searching high and low for answers? What are the definitions of service? What exactly are the staff responsibilities according to RHC regulations? Where can you find guidance specific to RHCs? NARHC has the answers at the click of a button!

Take a moment to check out the Newly Redesigned RHC Federal Statute, Regulation, and Guidance pages under the Resources tab of our website.

Please note, updates from the Medicare payment reforms recently made have yet to be made. NARHC expects to receive updates shortly and will announce when the website has been updated.