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NRHA president testifies before Congress on rural health.

The U.S. House Committee on Small Business’ Subcommittees on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade and Health and Technology held a joint hearing today on the importance of rural health and telehealth to help and support rural communities. NRHA President David Schmitz, MD, testified on how federal investments in rural health care help ensure that rural health care thrives leading to healthy communities and sustainable their communities .

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Health Care Reform Update.

The Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) does not appear to be moving forward. As of last night, four Republican senators - Mike Lee (Utah), Jerry Moran (Kansas), Rand Paul (Kentucky) and Susan Collins (Maine) - publicly stated they would oppose the revised version of the BCRA, leaving the bill short of the 50 votes required to proceed. .

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Rural pilot smoking cessation program proves beneficial.

Prior to the implementation of Beat the Pack, a pilot smoking cessation program introduced last year at Carle Clinic in Mattoon, Ill., rural Coles County had no formal smoking cessation program. Beat the Pack helps take the burden off busy providers who don't always have time for smoking cessation counseling at patient appointments..

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Secretary Price seeks NRHA input.

NRHA CEO Alan Morgan just spoke with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price regarding proposed regulations just released by HHS for the Hospital Outpatient, Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System. In this conversation, Secretary Price made a commitment to prioritize rural hospitals and health care. .

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New Senate Health Care Bill, Same Problems for Rural.

The Senate released their revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA) today. While the National Rural Health Association is pleased the bill includes an additional $100 billion to help low-income Americans buy coverage and to combat the opioid epidemic, we are disappointed that the BCRA still falls woefully short in making health care affordable and accessible to rural Americans. The bill maintains some of the provisions that led to NRHA's....

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House Appropriators release draft Labor-HHS funding bill.

The House Appropriations Committee released its draft Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill. The draft bill is funded at $156 billion, $5 billion below the Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) enacted levels. The HHS portion of the bill is $77.6 billion, $542 million below FY17 enacted levels, but $14.5 billion above the President’s budget request. A summary of the bill is available here, and full bill text is available here. .

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Rural health champions honored in San Diego.

The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) honored its 2017 Rural Health Award recipients on May 11 during NRHA’s 40th Annual Rural Health Conference in San Diego, Calif., before an audience of more than 800 rural health professionals and students..

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Working to improve health care access for rural veterans.

Out of 9 million veterans enrolled in Veterans Affairs (VA) for health care, 3 million live in rural areas. For this reason, and many more, the Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee (VRHAC) makes annual recommendations to the VA secretary on health care issues affecting rural veterans. .

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Oral health advocate works to train rural communities, physicians.

Research shows that dental caries, the scientific term for tooth decay and cavities, is the most common chronic disease of childhood and has potentially severe consequences if untreated..

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Rural grant program combats opioid overdose epidemic.

At a recent naloxone training session in Alamosa, Colo., a man in the crowd stood up. “It doesn’t matter if you get it from a dealer in a dark alley or a pharmacist in a well-lit hospital, it’s the same drug, same problem, same withdrawals,” he said. The man was speaking of opioids, a class of drugs that has been associated with high incidences of addiction, overdose and death across rural America..

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