Trends in Network Focus Areas Among Network Development Planning Grantees, 2003-2020

May 26, 2021

Click here to view the policy brief!

In this policy brief, researchers examine the focus areas of the networks funded by the Network Planning Grant program in order to determine if there are trends in the scope and substance of rural health networks. Researchers examined these network focus areas retrospectively in order to see how they have changed over time.

Contact Information:

Katie Rydberg, MPH
University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
Phone: 612.626.8401

Success Among Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Awardees: Barriers and Facilitators

May 25, 2021

Success among Rural Health Development

In this policy brief, researchers identify the barriers to and facilitators of success for rural organizations implementing the Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant. As the U.S. healthcare landscape looks increasingly at different ways of funding services, and focus shifts toward value-based payment systems and an emphasis on preventive care, the need for strong networks has become even more apparent. Understanding the challenges and opportunities grantees have faced in forming health networks will have implications for both future grant offerings, as well as other policies and programs that support health care and health in rural areas at the local level.

Contact Information:

Mariana Story Tuttle, MPH
University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
Phone: 612.626.8401

Changes in Provision of Selected Services by Rural and Urban Hospitals Between 2009 and 2017

April 19, 2021

During the past decade, access to healthcare services provided by rural hospitals has changed in two major ways. First, there has been a substantial increase in the number of rural hospitals that have closed or converted (provide some healthcare services but not inpatient care). Secondly, and less understood, many rural hospitals have reduced or terminated services historically considered to be essential hospital services. This brief describes and compares the changes in service provision for rural and urban hospitals between 2009 and 2017.

  • The percentage of rural hospitals that provided skilled nursing, obstetrics, labor and delivery, and home health services declined between 2009 and 2017.
  • The percentage of rural hospitals that provided orthopedic services, oncology services, hospital-based outpatient services, emergency psychiatric services, and chemotherapy services increased between 2009 and 2017.
  • Substantial differences in trends were observed between rural and urban hospitals. Across all selected services, there were no declines in the percentage of urban hospitals providing a service, with most services expanding in urban hospitals.

Click HERE to view the full brief.

Contact Information:

George H. Pink, PhD
North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center
Phone: 919.843.2728

Nationwide Study Shows Continued Rise in Opioid Affected Births

January 12, 2021

A new study conducted by researchers at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shows that the rates of pregnant women diagnosed with opioid use disorder and of babies born with withdrawal symptoms increased from 2010-2017. The study, published today in the Journal of American Medicine indicates that mothers with opioid-related diagnoses documented at delivery increased by 131%. Additionally, the incidence of babies born with withdrawal symptoms, known as neonatal abstinence syndrome or NAS, increased by 82% nationally over the same period. Increases were seen for nearly all states and demographic groups.

Read the release.

How to Design Value‐Based Care Models for Rural Participant Success: A Summit Findings Report

The Rural Health Value team recently released a Summit Findings report focused on design of value-based care models to support rural health organization participation and success.

How to Design Value‐Based Care Models for Rural Participant Success: A Summit Findings Report

Based on the input from a two-day virtual summit of rural participants in value-based care models and programs, this report summarizes themes and actionable recommendations that can be used by those designing and supporting value-based care models to improve the viability, relevance, and likelihood of rural health care organization participation and success.

Direct Link:

Top resources on the Rural Health Value website:

Medicaid in Missouri: Back to Basics

Medicaid is a safety net insurance program that allows Missourians to see a doctor when they are sick, get checkups, buy medications, and go to the hospital. Having health insurance allows people to maintain their health, go to work, and take care of their families. The Medicaid program, however, is intricate, with many different pieces and rules that can be tough to navigate.

This complexity is exactly why MFH releases an annual publication, Missouri Medicaid Basics, that unpacks the various moving parts of the program.


Population Health Toolkit

In cooperation with the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, the Population Health Toolkit provides visualizations of data from multiple sources that answer questions that rural hospitals and communities have about the health of their communities.

Are you looking for data to support an idea or story for your rural community?

Do you wonder about the relationship with poverty, preventable hospital stays, and access to mental health providers? Have you examined the socioeconomic status of your community related to well-being?

These are just a few questions you can explore in the Toolkit.

  • The Toolkit crosswalks multiple federal, publicly available datasets.
  • Data visualizations provide a concise and easy to understand story of your data.

Explore your data further by downloading the information to create your own analysis and graphs.

Compare Metrics From 12 Scenarios

The 12 scenarios listed below include benchmarks for hospital or county-level users to compare their metrics to state and national benchmarks. All scenarios include explanations, visualizations, and instructional videos on how to use and export the data. Be sure to view the introductory tutorial video on how to use the data in the Population Health Toolkit.

  • Diabetes Demographics
  • Discharge Instructions
  • Emergency Department Access
  • Injury Demographics
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Poverty, Preventable Stays, and Mental Health Shortage
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Socioeconomic Status and Well-being
  • Understanding of Care and County Race Demographics
  • Uninsured Rates, Behavior and Mental Health


Contact Tracy Morton, Director of Population Health, 218-216-7027

2019 National Survey of Children’s Health Data

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau released the latest data from the 2019 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) on October 5. The NSCH provides annual, national and state-level data on the health and health care needs of children, as well as information about their families and communities. The NSCH covers a broad array of health-related topics impacting children and families such as mental and behavioral health.

The survey data reveals that 13.2 percent of children aged 3-17 years in the U.S. (about 8 million children) had a current diagnosed mental or behavioral health condition. The most common condition was anxiety, which affected 8.5 percent of children, followed by behavior disorder at 6.8 percent and depression at 3.8 percent.

The data also shows that 66.5 percent of children aged 6-17 years met all criteria for flourishing, a term describing children who have positive health and are thriving.

Learn more about the 2019 National Survey of Children’s Health data and how it can provide information for program and policy decision-making, implementation, and evaluation.

HRSA Releases 2019-2020 Report on Health Equity: Special Feature on Housing and Health Inequalities

October 14, 2020

The Health Resources and Services Administration, through the agency’s Office of Health Equity, released the HRSA 2019-2020 Health Equity Report: Special Feature on Housing and Health Inequalities. The report indicates substantial progress has been made nationally for all Americans in vital indicators including life expectancy, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and influenza and pneumonia; while health inequities between population groups and geographic areas persist.

The report will help HRSA and others build upon the agency’s mission to improve health outcomes and address health disparities through access to quality services, a skilled health workforce and innovative, high-value programs.

“This remarkably comprehensive report captures a vast range of data on a wide array of health indicators which will help scholars and policy makers track and gauge our nation’s progress to improve the health and well-being of all Americans,” said HRSA Administrator Tom Engels. “HRSA is committed to continuing this research in order to build upon its efforts to build a healthier and more equitable future for all.”

Read the release.