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.

Meaningful use attestation: when is the best time?

Many hospitals and eligible providers maybe wondering when is the best time to certify for meaningful use? Louis Wenzlow of the Rural Wisconsin Health Coop provides a nice overview  of the factors to consider when making this decision.

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Update on Continuing Resolution

With the House of Representatives passing H.R. 1, a bill that would extend the 2011 Continuing Resolution to the end of the fiscal year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he intends to introduce a 30-day CR extension, given the drastic cuts included in the House bill. H.R. 1 eliminates roughly $100 billion in discretionary spending, including programs funded through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, making it the largest single discretionary spending cut in the nation’s...

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Negotiated Rulemaking - Progress

Another month, another meeting, but progress made… I am once again participating this week in the Health Resources Services Administration’s Negotiated Rulemaking Committee. This is the Committee that is reconsidering how the Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) and Medically Underserved Area (MUA) designations are constructed. The Negotiated Rulemaking committee was mandated by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. These methods (HPSA and MUA) are used to designate areas eligible for...

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Heavyweight Budget Fight: Entitlements Vs. The Deficit

From Kaiser Health News: By Christopher Weaver KHN Staff Writer It's a perennial contest. In one corner: health care entitlement programs, one of the biggest slices of the federal budget pie; in the other, the drive to tame the deficit, weighing in this week as the political talking point du jour. The latest venue is President Obama's 2012 budget, to be released Monday. According to many White House watchers, Obama is likely to pull his punches when it comes to entitlements such as...

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ONC director: "rural HIT is a priority for HHS"

In a blog posted by David Blumenthal, M.D., on Tuesday, he stated that rural HIT is a priority for HHS. Blumenthal cited his visit to NRHA's rural policy institute as a key source of learning about our unique challenges: capital financing, workforce and broadband connectivity. NRHA will continue its vigilance in ensuring against a rural-urban digital divide, however, we welcome ONC's commitment to this issue.

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Lifestyle affects life expectancy more than genetics

For many that have assumed that their "good genes" would get them to a ripe old age, or for those that have given up on good lifestyle choices because "it's all in the genes," an answer has come in from a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine recently. The study notes that  those who did not smoke, consumed moderate amounts of coffee and had a good socio-economic status at the age of 50 (measured in terms of housing costs), as well as good physical working capacity at the age of...

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NRHA CEO Alan Morgan Follows-Up with Dr. Berwick

[caption id="attachment_723" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Dr. Berwick, 2011 NRHA President Kris Sparks, 2012 President Lance Kielers"][/caption] NRHA CEO Alan Morgan met today with CMS Administrator Berwick's staff as a follow-up to last week's Policy Institute conference in Washington, D.C.  After a personal meeting at the conference with Dr. Berwick, NRHA President Kris Sparks, 2012 President Lance Kielers, and other NRHA staff,...

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Berwick: You have my attention, heart, commitment

The meaningful use era

David Blumenthal, MD, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (HIT), told nearly 400 NRHA Rural Health Policy Institute attendees “we’ve entered a new era in the U.S. health care system, the era of meaningful use.” “It’s more than a federal program and a statute, it’s a new way we’ll do business in the health care system,” he said. “I hope to convince you this isn’t a transient change but an enduring one.” Since...

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Brand: Rural health, we’ve got your back

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