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.

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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Leveraging Business Intelligence in the CAH Setting

With the advent of big data, and health care reform driving organizations to be more efficient and cost effective, business intelligence has become an increasingly popular way to harness the power of data analytics and process improvement. Most critical access hospital management and governing boards would agree that operational data is necessary in today’s environment. Getting to the next level of this discussion, however, is a bit more complicated.   

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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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House Agriculture Committee Releases 2018 Farm Bill

Just this afternoon, the House Agriculture Committee Majority Staff released the 2018 Farm Bill, legislation that is required every four years to reauthorize critical programs in agricultural, health, trade, and food policy. There are many programs and opportunities for rural health included in this legislation, and in the months leading up to the release of the legislation, NRHA’s Government Affairs Team met with key staff and other advocacy organizations to ensure the future of these...

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Red Tape Relief: NRHA Participates in Ways and Means Committee Roundtable

Today, NRHA Member Leslie Marsh, joined by NRHA’s Regulatory Counsel Diane Calmus, spoke at a bipartisan roundtable with Members of the House Committee on Ways and Means Health Subcommittee on regulatory relief for rural providers. NRHA was invited to join the small roundtable to present the key regulatory reforms needed to support rural communities and providers and ensure access to care. Entitled, “Red Tape Relief Initiative,” the roundtable provided members of the Ways...

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Opioid Crisis Legislative Update

In rural America, we have seen the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic since the beginning of this crisis. While only 20 percent of Americans live in rural areas, a disproportionate number of rural communities are struggling with prescription opioids and heroin 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 nonmetro counties is 45...

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NRHA announces 2018 Rural Health Award recipients

NRHA is proud to announce its 2018 Rural Health Award recipients, to be honored at the largest gathering of rural health professionals in the country, each introduced by a short award-acceptance video, May 11 in the Big Easy. “We’re extremely proud of this year’s winners,” says Alan Morgan, NRHA CEO. “They have each made tremendous strides to advance rural health care, and we’re confident they will continue to help improve the lives of rural Americans...

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National Minority Health Month: Health Disparities in Rural America

The Department of Health and Human Services honors the month of April as National Minority Health Month, an opportunity to highlight the unique needs of minority populations across the United States.  

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Innovation and Stabilization: Stopping the Rural Hospital Closure Crisis

Eighty-three rural hospitals have closed since 2010. Right now, 673 additional facilities are vulnerable and could close—this represents over 1/3 of rural hospitals in the U.S.  Today, 44% of rural hospitals operate at a loss, an increase from 41% just one year ago, and 30% operate below a -3% margin. In fact, the rate of rural hospital closures has steadily increased because of the sequester and bad debt cuts. Continued cuts in hospital payments have taken their toll, forcing more...

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Omnibus Bill Funds Government

Today both the House and Senate passed legislation to fund the government and various programs through the rest of Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18). This bill funds the government for the remainder of FY18 and follows the two-year bipartisan budget deal that was passed during the Policy Institute in February. That legislation funded critical rural Medicare Extenders and provided additional funding for opioids, while this legislation provides more specific details on how Congress plans to spend the...

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