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.

Dear rural hospitals: Where are your nurses?

Rural communities are struggling to retain qualified staff nurses. Are you limping by with travel nurses and understaffed units? Are your communities suffering like many other rural towns throughout the nation? You are not alone. Will you continue to swirl in the shortage whirlpool or speak up for better outcomes? Learn what you can do to lead the way in reducing the nursing shortage.

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How CMEs can qualify as MIPS improvement activities

Did you know that if you participate in CME activities, you could already be on your way to satisfying your Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) requirement? Because MIPS falls under the Quality Payment Program, CME can count towards your MIPS requirement if the activities are designed and executed in alignment with the QPP guidance. 91% of clinicians participated in MIPS in QPP’s first year. You could already be eligible to use CME to meet your MIPS requirements.

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6 ways to maximize your time at NRHA’s clinic, CAH events

In less than two weeks, NRHA will host not one, but two conferences in a city brimming with inspiration: the 2018 Rural Health Clinic Conference and Critical Access Hospital Conference are happening Sept. 25-28 in Kansas City, Mo., a gem of the Midwest where ideas flow in happening places. Whether you’re planning to attend both conferences or just one, here are some strategies to maximize your time at NRHA’s fastest-growing events and get the most out of your visit to Kansas City.

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From Refugee to Registered Nurse

Dawit Gebrezghi fled his native country of Eritrea to avoid being forced into military servitude. After living in a refugee camp, he made his way to the U.S. and began working. After overcoming incredible obstacles, Gebrezghi is now celebrating his graduation from Nightingale College as a nurse, and plans to return to the refugee camp to serve as a nurse. “Patients don’t just need medication,” said Gebrezghi. “They need kindness. They need hope.”

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Boom or Bust? Local nursing education in rural communities proving helpful in battling the nursing shortage

Across the country, the supply of nurses in rural hospitals is getting dangerously thin. Many don’t have enough staff to run their hospital, and their patients have nowhere else to turn. But for one hospital in the mountains of rural Utah, the supply of nurses provided by Nightingale College’s distance education model is critical for weathering the storms of the highly-unstable oil-based economy.  

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Senator Tester Introduces Restoring Rural Residencies Act

The National Rural Health Association applauds Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) for introducing S. 455, the Restoring Rural Residencies Act. This important bill will fix an unintended consequence of the Affordable Care Act by defining Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) as “non-provider settings” solely for the purposes of Medicare reimbursements for graduate medical education. This will allow Medicare to reimburse residency programs for the time residents spend at CAHs. 

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