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Category Archives: Current Affairs

CMS Region 7 Update

April 23, 2018

View the update.

Rural Health Research & Policy Centers

April 23, 2018

Free Webinar this Thursday: Diminishing Access to Rural Maternity Care and Associated Changes in Birth Location and Outcomes

Date: Thursday, April 26, 2018
Time: 10:00 am Pacific, 11:00 am Mountain, 12:00 pm Central, 1:00 pm Eastern
Duration: Approximately 60 minutes

This webinar, presented by Carrie Henning-Smith, PhD, MPH, MSW, Deputy Director of the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center, will describe recent work from the Center on loss of hospital-based obstetric care in rural areas, including the overall change in availability of care and the county-level socio-demographic correlates of losing services. It will also include information from a study published in JAMA in March 2018, describing changes in birth location and outcomes following obstetric services loss in rural areas.

Connection Information

The webinar is free, no registration is required, but participation is limited to the first 200 to log-on that day. If the webinar reaches capacity, you will be able to access the recording, archived on the Gateway website.

Questions? Contact:
Brenda Haugen
Rural Health Research Gateway

Additional Resources of Interest:

State Variations in the Rural Obstetric Workforce

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

April 19, 2018

What’s New

Experts Meet to Discuss Rural Health.  The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health & Human Services convenes this week for its first meeting of 2018.  This panel of experts from both public and private sectors will conduct site visits and hold discussions on two subjects: the challenges to rural health insurance markets and the impact of adverse childhood experiences.  Policy briefs, with recommendations to the Secretary of Health & Human Services, typically come out about three months after each meeting.  See the events section below for a webinar discussion of the committee’s December 2017 brief on suicide in rural America.

Medicaid Spending on Overdose Treatment.  Policy researchers at the Urban Institute looked at state-by-state Medicaid spending on prescription drugs for opioid use disorder.  They found that the average annual spending increase on these drugs between 2011 and 2016 was 19 percent.  Most was spent on buprenorphine, a drug that reduces cravings, for which spending increased 98 percent in that time period.  More dramatic spending increases went to naltrexone, which blocks the effects of opioids (up 1,072 percent) and naloxone, a drug that reverses overdose effects, for which spending increased 90,205 percent in that five-year period.  The report includes spending tables for each state and comparison charts for states with the five highest drug overdose mortality rates, including the mostly rural states of West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio.

Burden of Disease Among US States.  New research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined state-level data on factors affecting health, life expectancy and mortality and found that, while overall death rates declined between 1990 and 2016, the likelihood of dying young increased in some states.  The primary risk factors for morbidity and mortality were those most common in rural areas – poor diet, smoking, high blood pressure and obesity.  One significant change was found in the metrics for disability-adjusted life years, or DALYs, defined by the World Health Organization as years of healthy life lost due to disease or disability.  The two leading causes of DALYs for 1990 and for 2016 were ischemic heart disease and lung cancer. The third leading DALY cause in 1990 was low back pain; in 2016, it was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, something that’s more common in states with large rural areas.


Upcoming HRSA Event

April 16, 2018

HRSA will be completing a Grant 101 event in Branson, MO. Please see attached registration information. HRSA will also provide a telehealth discussion. Please see the following information:

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), in partnership with the Taney County Health Department, would like to invite you to a Telehealth Discussion on Wednesday, April 25th, at the Taney County Health Department.  The meeting will include a Telehealth 101 presentation and an overview of HRSA’s telehealth investments and resources.  There will also be a listening session/discussion where we will talk about barriers/challenges, champions/innovators, local best practices, and identify telehealth resources and technical assistance needs of participants.  Representatives from the Missouri Telehealth Network, Heartland Telehealth Resource Center, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services/Office of Primary Care and Rural Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture/Rural Development, and the Missouri Foundation for Health will be in attendance.

For more information, please contact Richard Overcast at (816) 426-5227 or

REGISTER TODAY! USDA Rural Utilities Service Distance Learning & Telemedicine Grant Workshops

April 16, 2018

Rural Utilities Service Distance Learning & Telemedicine Grant Workshops

Please plan on joining USDA for a Distance Learning & Telemedicine Grant Workshop.

The Distance Learning & Telemedicine (DLT) Grant program helps rural communities acquire the technology and training necessary to connect educational and medical professionals with the teachers and medical providers who serve rural residents at the local level.

These DLT Grant Workshops are open to telephone and electric coops, local units of government, current and potential grantees, consultants, and any interested organizations!

Topics covered will include program compliance and eligibilities, application requirements, program resources, application process examples, and guidance toward submitting a complete application.

Three workshops are being held across Missouri.  The content will be the same, but please select the location most convenient to you:

  • April 19th 9am – 12pm – Columbia, MO
  • April 23rd 1pm – 4pm – Kirksville, MO
  • April 26th 9am – 12pm – Springfield, MO

The registration form, attached below, must be completed and emailed to Chris Collins at by April 18th if you plan on attending any of the sessions.

If you have any questions about the workshop, please email Chris at or call (573) 208-0574.

USDA Seeks Applications for Technology Grants

April 12, 2018

USDA Seeks Applications for Technology Grants to Expand Access to Health Care and Education in Rural Areas

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is accepting applications for grants to use broadband e-Connectivity to improve access to health care and educational services in rural communities.

“Under Secretary Perdue’s leadership, USDA is tackling e-Connectivity as a foundational issue for rural communities because it affects everything from business opportunities to adequate health care access,” Hazlett said. “These grants are one of many tools USDA provides to help ensure that people who live and work in rural areas can use broadband to gain access to essential services and economic opportunities.”

USDA is awarding grants ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program. Grants can finance projects such as those to provide job training, academic instruction or access to specialized medical care.

Proposals for projects whose primary purpose is to provide opioid prevention, treatment and recovery will receive 10 priority points when applications are scored. USDA is approaching the opioid misuse crisis with a dedicated urgency because it impacts the quality of life, economic opportunity and rural prosperity.

USDA also will provide priority points for grants that offer access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) courses.

Grants are available to most state and local governmental entities, federally recognized tribes, nonprofit groups, for-profit businesses or a consortia of these.

The application deadline is June 4, 2018. Applications can be submitted via paper or electronically. For details on how to apply, see page 14245 of the April 3 Federal Register.

In South Dakota, Horizon Health Care used a $238,303 DLT grant in 2015 to develop a video-based mental health network for the central and southwest regions of the state. The video network was launched last year. It covers more than one-third of the state.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

April 12, 2018

What’s New

Rural Communities Opioid Response Funding Opportunity – Coming Soon.  HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy plans to award up to 75 grants to rural communities as part of a new Rural Communities Opioid Response initiative that will support treatment for, and prevention of, substance use disorder with a focus on the 220 counties identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as being at risk, as well as other high risk rural communities.  Successful awardees will receive $200,000 for one year to partner with at least three other entities and develop plans to implement opioid use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery interventions designed to reduce opioid overdoses among rural populations.  It is anticipated the Notice of Funding Opportunity will be available on later this Spring 2018.  Please note that the process for registering for federal grants can take up to 30 days to complete. Learn more about how HRSA is addressing the opioid crisis with funding, resources and technical assistance.