Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

January 7, 2021

COVID-19 Taking Heavy Toll on Farmers’ Mental Health. The American Farm Bureau released a report showing that two in three farmers surveyed say that the pandemic has impacted their mental health. Farmers and farmworkers were 10% more likely than rural adults as a whole to have experienced feeling nervous, anxious or on edge during the pandemic (65% vs. 55%). Two-thirds of rural adults ages 18-44 say they are personally experiencing more mental health challenges than they were a year ago.

CDC Recommended Strategies for Initial COVID-19 Vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) produced a guide intended to assist state, tribal, local, or territorial immunization programs with planning for the first three phases of vaccination: Phase 1a, which includes healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities; Phase 1b, frontline essential workers and individuals aged 75 years and older; and Phase 1c, other essential workers, persons 65-74 years of age, and individuals 16-64 years of age with underlying medical conditions.

Share Your Thoughts and Opinions on Health – Respond by January 11. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is seeking English-speaking individuals to participate in upcoming virtual discussions about health from any of the following groups: 1) parents or guardians of children ages 6 months to 3½ years; 2) people with HIV; 3) people living in rural areas; 4) HRSA health center patients; 5) adults ages 45 years and older. Patient feedback will help HRSA create easy to understand health materials for everyone. We’ll hold 90-minute Zoom sessions in January, March, and May. Participants will receive monetary payment. If you or someone you know who may be interested, please have them email Heidi Palacios or call (972) 503-3100 x407.

AHRQ Hospital Utilization Trends. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) provides a series of data files on monthly hospital utilization. The tables include state-by-state data on hospitalizations due to COVID-19, influenza, and other respiratory conditions; normal newborns and deliveries; non-elective stays admitted through emergency departments; and elective inpatient stays. 

National Rural Health Day Events Archive. Where available, webinar recordings, PowerPoint slides, and transcripts for 2020 National Rural Health Day programming can now be accessed on the National Rural Health Day website. All links are free and accessible to the public. Event topics range from telehealth and COVID-19 testing to social determinants of health and substance use disorder. Participating organizations included the Department of Health and Human Service entities Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services, the National Association of Rural Health Clinics, and the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health.