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.

Free Medication-Assisted Treatment Training Resources Help Clinicians Secure Loan Repayment Awards

Opioid-related drug overdoses claim more than 130 lives every day in the United States. Prevention and access to treatment for opioid addiction and overdose reversal drugs are critical to fighting this epidemic. This includes increasing the number of clinicians who are eligible to prescribe or dispense buprenorphine, a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat opioid dependency.  

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Capitol Hill Focuses on Expanding Broadband in Rural America

Washington, D.C.: Rural broadband is a hot topic on Capitol Hill this week. Both legislative bodies have seen proposals being floated to expand broadband focusing on rural America. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) put forth their own proposal, the Connected Care Pilot Program, which aims to appropriate $100M to support the infrastructure needed to use broadband for better health outcomes. The FCC’s program focuses on helping low-income and veterans access telehealth and other...

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NRHA Provides Comments on CMS Guidance for Hospital Co-location with Other Hospitals or Healthcare Facilities

Last month, CMS released their “Guidance for Hospital Co-location with Other Hospitals or Healthcare Facilities“. NRHA appreciates this draft guidance since it signals a positive step for co-location at non-CAH (Critical Access Hospital) rural hospitals. However, we have concerns about the continued delay of guidance for CAHs, especially due to the importance of visiting specialists. Rural communities with CAHs rely upon visiting specialists, and it is imperative that the guidance...

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Trump Administration Announces Five Pillar Approach to Make Health Care Costs More Transparent

Today, the Trump Administration announced an approach to make health care costs more transparent. “The President knows the best way to lower costs in health care is to put patients in control by increasing choice and competition,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar explained on a call promoting the new executive order. There are five main pillars to the executive order, and two of them are directly related to transparency of health care prices.

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Rural Health Appropriations Update

This week, Congress has focused on finalizing debates regarding FY20 appropriations, and NRHA is proud to report that both chambers are seeking to include funds for a variety of necessary rural health programs in their legislation.

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Rural Maternal Health Week

This week, NRHA dedicated its messaging to highlighting challenges and opportunities to improving maternal health in rural America. The NRHA social media platforms shared messages aimed at increasing awareness of the health disparities faced by rural moms throughout the week, and on Wednesday, NRHA leadership attended an event hosted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services titled, “A Conversation on Maternal Health Care in Rural Communities: Charting a Path to Improved Access,...

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NRHA Supports Changes to Improve Payments for Rural Hospitals

In April 2019, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma unveiled a proposal to increase Medicare’s reimbursements to hospitals in the bottom quartile of the wage index by decreasing payments to hospitals in the top quartile. This week, NRHA met with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and other key officials to discuss how to ensure this rule will impact rural Americans positively. NRHA strongly supports this change since it will decrease wage index...

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NRHA Supports Bipartisan Legislation to Eliminate Mileage Limitation for Critical Access Hospital Designation

NRHA strongly supports the bipartisan Rural Health Care Access Act introduced today by Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee’s 7th District and Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi’s 2nd District, which proposes removing the mileage limitation that restricts hospitals from receiving Critical Access Hospital (CAH) designation.

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Rural health care state of the union

NRHA’s Annual Rural Health Conference is back. Over a thousand rural health care leaders will convene May 7-10 in Atlanta to address some of the critical issues and emergencies facing rural hospitals, clinics, educators, and providers across the country. So what has changed since last year’s conference?

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House Appropriations Committee Releases FY2020 Labor-HHS Bill

The House Appropriations Committee released the text of its Labor and Health and Human Services (HHS) Appropriations bill last night. NRHA submitted testimony and requests to both the House and Senate Appropriators requesting robust support for rural health programs. While we understand the current federal budget situation, rural health discretionary spending is relatively small but is vitally important for maintaining access to care for individuals living in rural America. The rural healthy...

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