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.

Locum tenens model bridges a gap in psychiatric care

Mental health staffing shortages exist in urban and rural health care settings, but the problems are even more challenging in rural areas. Locum tenens psychiatrists are helping to combat the shortage of mental health providers in rural areas. In some cases, locum tenens physicians face large backlogs of patients in need of quality mental health care. With changing dynamics of health care and mental health care needs, locum tenens providers help fill the need.

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Addressing Regional Health Differences: Border Communities

As we continue to discuss regional variance in addressing population health care needs and creating innovative new models, we must consider the unique conditions of border communities. Almost 30% of the estimated 30 million people living in the border region live in rural areas, and no different from other rural populations, they are on average older, sicker, and poorer than those in urban areas. The average median income in the border region is less than $15,000.  

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Challenges for Physical Therapists in Critical Access Hospitals

Physical therapists (PTs) are often front and center at critical access hospitals (CAH). In these rural settings, PTs must have expansive knowledge and a vast skill set to best meet the needs of patients and caregivers. A PT must know how to function in nearly every setting at a CAH: outpatient, acute, subacute, nursing home, home health, acute rehab facility, inpatient and outpatient psychiatric, emergency rooms, and more while addressing the needs of individuals across the life span.

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House Appropriations Committee Releases Labor-HHS Bill

The House Appropriations Committee released the text of its Labor and Health and Human Services (HHS) Appropriations bill this morning. 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...

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NRHA on rural health innovation

Innovation has been essential to sustaining providers of care in rural communities, and as the single largest payer for rural care, Medicare has been the primary driver of innovation.  However, from the program’s inception in 1965, the vicious cycle of Medicare payment policy has forced rural hospitals to find creative solutions to keep operating. Accordingly, NRHA enthusiastically supports the Pennsylvania and Maryland Global Budget Programs.

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Senate Finance Committee Holds Hearing to Discuss Rural Health Policy

The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) applauds the Senate Finance Committee for holding a powerful hearing today discussing the state of health care in rural America. The hearing, entitled “Rural Health Care in America: Challenges and Opportunities,” focused on the difficulties providers face in rural communities, as well as the innovative ways in which they are working to ensure continued local care. As Senate Rural Health Caucus Co-Chair Pat Roberts said, this hearing is ...

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Senate Finance Announces Rural Health Hearing on May 24

NRHA is excited to share that the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing discussing the state of health care in rural America next week. The hearing, entitled “Rural Health Care in America: Challenges and Opportunities,” will focus on the difficulties providers face in rural communities, as well as the innovative ways in which they are working to ensure continued local care.  

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Preventing unnecessary CEO turnover in rural and critical access hospitals

In many rural communities today, hospital CEO turnover rates are exceeding 20 percent. The exact cause for such a high rate is unknown, but it is certain that the overall health of rural communities is jeopardized. State and local health organizations, community leaders, and health care board members are becoming deeply concerned. In a national study, Yaffe and Company is seeking the opinions of current and prior CEOs and board leadership, as we search for causes and solutions.

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USDA Opioid Misuse Roundtable Reaffirms Importance of ‘Community’ Solutions

NRHA Member and Administrative Director for Education and Research at St. Claire HealthCare (Morehead, Kentucky) discusses his work combatting the opioid crisis in his home state and his recent experience participating in a USDA Rural Development Opioid Crisis Roundtable. 

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CMS Releases Rural Health Strategy

We are excited to have CMS announce the agency’s first Rural Health Strategy during our Annual Conference this week in New Orleans.

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