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.

HHS Announces the Availability of $25.5 Billion in COVID-19 Provider Funding

The Biden-Harris Administration announced today that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is distributing $25.5 billion in additional provider relief funds, via the $17 billion Provider Relief Fund Phase 4 General Distribution and the $8.5 billion ARP Rural Distribution.

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Rural COVID-19 relief summary as of April 2021

Throughout the fall and winter, rural America was disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the height of the pandemic more than 94 percent of nonmetropolitan counties were considered ‘red-zone’ counties, those with a new COVID-19 infection rate of 100 or more per 100,000 residents per week. Unfortunately, while rural America was addressing the pandemic head-on, relief stalled. From July until December 2020, rural providers were facing a disproportionate share of...

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Representatives Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) introduce the Rural Behavioral Health Access Act

Today, Representatives Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) announced the introduction of their bipartisan bill: The Rural Behavioral Health Access Act. This legislation would ensure that Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) retain important flexibility to provide behavioral health services through telehealth after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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NRHA Secures Big Wins for Rural Health in Latest COVID-19 Relief Package

Today, President Biden signed into law a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. Thanks to the advocacy of NRHA and its members, the package includes a number of provisions to protect and promote rural health.

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How will a virtual Rural Health Policy Institute work?

A raging pandemic, a new administration in Washington, the ongoing rural hospital closure crisis – the stakes are high for rural health in 2021. As individual rural health professionals and advocates, every day we work hard to ensure our community has access to essential care and resources – but our voices are louder together. Our next step as rural health stakeholders is NRHA’s virtual 32nd Rural Health Policy Institute Feb. 9-11. Here's how we'll make an impression...

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Nation’s leading rural health orgs unite

NRHA is proud to announce on National Rural Health Day the formation of the Rural Health Action Alliance (RHAA), a coalition of the nation’s leading health care organizations representing providers and facilities that provide millions of Americans with high-quality, evidence-based care – particularly those living and working in rural and underserved areas.

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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 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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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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