Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

Date: March 4, 2021

Resources from CDC National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) held a three-day event to promote the most effective strategies for building confidence and increasing access to the vaccine nationwide. Resources, including recordings of the forum’s sessions and a toolkit for community outreach, are now available. Learn more about the role of the Health Resources and Services Administration in the effort, including distribution of vaccines to 250 health centers nationwide.

New Telebehavioral Health Care Best Practice Guide. Telehealth.HHS.gov has added a new best practice guide to help mental health providers navigate changes to telehealth policy due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This official website from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services includes resources for getting started, developing a strategy, billing, preparing patients, and more.

ERS on Disparities in Educational Attainment in Rural America. The Economic Research Service (ERS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that, among all rural residents aged 25 years or older, the percentage who had completed a bachelor’s degree or higher rose from 15 percent in 2000 to 21 percent in 2019. Ethnic disparities persist in what is considered a leading social determinant of health, with Whites completing high school and bachelor’s degrees at much higher rates than those who are Black, American Indian, or Hispanic.

CDC on Changes in Suicide Rates. In its latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention report that more than 47,000 deaths were attributed to suicide in 2019. For the first time in a decade, the overall suicide rate from 2018 to 2019 declined. The lowest rate was found in large central metropolitan areas, and the highest in nonmetropolitan areas. Firearms were the most common mechanism of suicide in all county urbanization levels. 

Share Your Thoughts and Opinions on Health – Respond by March 15. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is seeking English-speaking people living in rural areas to participate in virtual discussions about health. The purpose of these discussions is to obtain consumer feedback on newly developed health materials. HRSA is open to speaking with individuals from diverse backgrounds. Sessions will be held in March and May via Zoom and will last approximately 90 minutes. All who participate will receive monetary token of appreciation. If you or someone you know may be interested, please have them contact Heidi.Palacios@SchlesingerGroup.com or call (972) 503-3100 x- 407. Feedback from rural populations will help HRSA create easy to understand health materials for everyone.