NRHA's Rural Health Voices blog offers informed commentary on the latest news in rural health care from NRHA staff and editorials from selected contributors.

NRHA's Slabach on the crucial merits of wearing a mask

From the outset, face covering as a measure of protection against SARS-CoV-2 virus infection seemed to brew controversy. Even today rural populations appear less compelled to wear masks and this may in part explain the rapid increase in both Covid infections and fatalities. These trends are even more disconcerting as we look ahead to the holidays with increased risk of exposure and illness.

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Case study: Rural municipal COVID-19 research leadership

As the nation’s fight against COVID-19 continues, health policy researchers will be dependent on national and state-level metrics to understand rural community impacts. Most rural health research centers will access data from institutions with big data servers, such as the Center for Disease Control or National Center for Health Statistics – but meaningful indicators of how COVID-19 has transformed daily life are at the municipal level.

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NRHA grant partnership offers rural pediatric telehealth stipends

NRHA has partnered with the American Academy of Pediatrics and HRSA’s Maternal Child Health Bureau to provide technical assistance for the Supporting Providers and Families to Access Telehealth and Distant Care Services for Pediatric Care project via a short, two-page application process. The goal of this grant is to support telehealth access and infrastructure for the provision of comprehensive care to children and adolescents by practices with pediatricians, nurse practitioners, ...

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Unique challenges of universal mandated reporting of rural child abuse

Being a mandated reporter is often the first point of contact a layperson or even a professional may have with the child protection system. Universal mandated reporting (UMR) in these states extends beyond the requirements of medical professionals, teachers, and social workers to include every adult citizen of the state. Such mandated reporter laws pose a unique challenge for rural child welfare professionals, particularly in rural states such as Idaho, Mississippi, Wyoming, and Oklahoma...

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Cochran-McClain Named as National Rural Health Association Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy

Today, the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) announced that Caroline Cochran-McClain, MPA, will join the organization as vice president of government affairs and policy.

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NRHA President Pat Schou on community hospital best practices

2020 NRHA President Pat Schou can attest personally, and professionally, that NRHA’s Rural Health Clinic and Critical Access Hospital Conferences are a great source of guidance for community hospitals and more. Schou will kick off the virtual event at 1 p.m. CDT Sept. 22 and conclude Sept. 25, hosting over 70 sessions with over 100 speakers to spark conversation among health care leaders trying to overcome the challenges facing rural America.

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NRHA Applauds the Trump Administration’s New Rural Action Plan

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the Rural Action Plan, the first HHS-wide assessment of rural healthcare efforts in more than 18 years and the product of HHS’s Rural Task Force, a group of experts and leaders across the department first put together by HHS Secretary Alex Azar in 2019. The plan features a strategy with four main points: building a sustainable health and human services model for...

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How health partnerships can help rural communities prep for COVID

With stark images of urban hospitals overrun with patients, the national media coverage of COVID-19 has focused largely on cities. Less discussed and less understood is the impact on rural communities, which have been grossly underprepared for a pandemic. As we contemplate an additional wave of the virus, now is the time to assess how rural communities can achieve greater resilience.

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Trump Administration Announces Details of New Rural Health Model

Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) unveiled the details of the Trump Administration's long-awaited, new rural health payment model, the Community Health and Rural Transformation (CHART) Model. The CHART Model aims to, "[Unleash] innovation through new funding opportunities that will increase access and improve quality," by allowing a limited number of rural health providers to participate in one of two tracks, the Community Transformation Track and...

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NRHA Continues to Win Fight to Protect 340B Drugs for Rural Providers

Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed to cut Medicare Part B payments to hospitals for 340B-purchased drugs next year and in subsequent years by 6.2 percent below the current rate. However, as in the past, Critical Access Hospitals and rural Sole Community Hospitals were exempted from the cuts and will continue to be paid at reasonable cost and the default ASP plus 6 percent rate in the proposal. CMS made the announcement in its Hospital Outpatient...

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