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.

Treating the Opioid Crisis in Rural America

By now, we know the numbers about how the opioid crisis is devastating our nation and especially destroying our rural communities. While only 20 percent of Americans live in rural areas, a disproportionate number of rural communities are struggling with prescription opioids and illicit drug abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rural Americans are more vulnerable to prescription painkiller abuse and overdoses, and the rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in...

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The Impact of Real-Time Decision Support

During high-stress health care events, providers of all levels (doctors, nurses, and paramedics) need to navigate the steps of evidence-based care and make the right decisions under pressure. When every second counts, having instant access to step-by-step decision support helps providers deliver the best care possible.

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Delivering Rural Babies: Maternity Care Shortages in Rural America

The number of rural hospitals without an obstetrics unit or any obstetrics care is growing at an alarming rate, placing expecting mothers at risk. 18 million reproductive-age women live in rural communities across the United States, and half a million babies are born in rural hospitals every year.

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Rebuild Rural: The Importance of Health Care in Infrastructure

Last week, we received further details on President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan. We were happy to see that rural infrastructure investments are a key component of this Administration’s commitment to growing our national economy. It is essential that we build rural priorities into this massive investment in our nation’s future, and it is even more important that we recognize the special role that health care plays in our country’s infrastructure.  

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Recent Updates Show Potentially Damaging Reforms to Medicaid and Medicare in President’s Budget

We have serious concerns regarding proposed cuts to Medicaid and Medicare in order to reduce government spending in President Trump’s 2019 Budget. The proposed plan, as sent to Congress, includes hundreds of billions of dollars in savings through Medicaid and Medicare reforms, in addition to cuts to various discretionary programs.  

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Congress Finally Acts on Rural Commitments, But What’s Next?

Since Congress irresponsibly let critical rural provisions expire at the end of September, the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) has continuously requested that Members renew their commitment to rural Americans and reauthorize funding for Medicare Extenders and Community Health Centers. Last Friday, after a brief government shutdown, Congress finally acted on their promises to support rural providers and facilities. 

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Congress Ends Government Shutdown

The government shutdown ended yesterday evening after Senate Democrats and Republicans reached a deal on a short term funding package. The House quickly passed the legislation and sent it to the President's desk for a signature. The government shutdown began at midnight on Friday after members of the Senate could not break the 60-vote threshold necessary to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government open. 

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The Government Shuts Down Over Funding Bill

Last night at midnight, the United States Government shut down after the Senate failed to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government through February 16. The House of Representatives had passed the CR in a party line vote the day before, sending the bill to the Senate, where Members were unable to cross the 60-vote threshold necessary to pass the legislation.  

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Bipartisan Policy Center Releases Rural Health Report With Concerning Headlines

This morning, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) was joined by Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) to announce the release of a report on rural health titled, “Reinventing Rural Health Care: A Case Study of Seven Upper Midwest States.” The BPC worked with the Center for Outcomes Research and Education (CORE) to study the cost of care, the availability of care, and innovative payments methods for rural Midwest communities. We appreciate the work that the...

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NRHA announces newly-elected volunteer leaders

Leadership for the National Rural Health Association is secure for 2018 and beyond, thanks to recent elections for Board of Trustees and Rural Health Congress positions. NRHA members chose David Pearson as president-elect. Pearson, who recently joined the American Hospital Association as a regional executive representing members in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, will assume the duties of NRHA president in 2019.

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