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Category Archives: Legislation

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

December 8, 2014

The Affordable Care Act

1. As the ACA’s second open enrollment period continues, a new tool from the Kaiser Family Foundation maps marketplace enrollment by state and at local level to compare the number of people eligible for a marketplace plan with the share who signed up.

The resource, Mapping Marketplace Enrollment, calculates by local area the percentage of potential ACA marketplace enrollees that signed up for a health plan in a federally-based exchange by mid-April 2014. It also displays the number of potential enrollees and the number of plan sign-ups in 100,000-resident statistical geographical areas associated with a zip code. Rural assistors and stakeholders may be interested in using this local data to target special enrollment efforts to areas where a relatively low percentage of possible enrollees were enrolled during the last open enrollment period. Stakeholders may also be interested in the most recent the Medicaid Enrollment Report for September 2014.

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Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

April 10, 2014

Rural Research Highlights

  1. Widening Rural–Urban Disparities in Life Expectancy, U.S., 1969–2009
    This study by HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau examines the trends in life expectancy disparities between rural and urban areas in the United States between 1969 and 2009. The article finds that the disparity has increased since 1990, because life expectancy has grown more rapidly in urban than in rural areas. The disparity in life expectancy of urban over rural areas stood at 2.4 years during 2005-2009. Furthermore, the study’s findings indicate that mortality from cardiovascular diseases, injuries, lung cancer, and COPD is much higher in rural than in urban areas.
  2. Nursing in 3D: Workforce Diversity, Health Disparities, and Social Determinants of HealthThis special report explores the intersecting goals of increased workforce diversity, fair and equal access to quality health care and health care resources, elimination of health disparities, and achieving health equity. In August 2012, HRSA hosted a summit titled, “Nursing in 3D: Workforce Diversity, Health Disparities, and Social Determinants of Health.” This resulting special supplement includes 11 articles authored by 3D Summit speakers who are content experts in the fields of nursing workforce diversity, health disparities, and the social determinants of health. 

More recent rural research can be found on http://www.ruralhealthresearch.org/.

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Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

April 4, 2014

Hot Off the Presses 

  1. The following notice of extension has been posted by the Veteran’s Administration, and may be of interest to family physicians in highly rural areas for their U.S. veteran patients. The Veteran’s Administration announced today that it is extending the application deadline to midnight eastern standard time on May 27, 2014, to allow applicants additional time to apply for funds available under the Grants for Transportation of Veterans in Highly Rural Areas program. For more information, please review the posted Notice of Funds Availability at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-03-26/pdf/2014-06630.pdf.

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Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

March 27, 2014

Hot Off the Presses

  1. The Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) is pleased to announce the release of the evidence-based  mental health toolkit.  As mental health and substance abuse continues to be a challenge in rural communities, this toolkit provides valuable and proven methods on ways to address the issue, make an impact in rural communities, be replicable and sustainable.This toolkit, located on the Rural Assistance Center, Community Health Gateway, is the 5th in a series of evidence-based toolkits released within the last two years.  The gateway, launched in 2012, was developed in response to the President’s Rural Healthcare Initiative, which identified evidence-based as a priority area for ORHP, and has allowed ORHP an opportunity to focus on demonstrating program outcomes.  The easy-to-use toolkits have been developed through extensive literature reviews, and in partnership with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) and the Rural Assistance Center (RAC), and serve as a resource for rural communities looking to develop and implement a similar program.  Rural communities also avoid having to reinvent the wheel, as proven models have been studied and evaluated, and highlighted as replicable models on the Gateway.  ORHP encourages you to visit the Community Health Gateway http://www.raconline.org/communityhealth/ and explore the website to learn about the various tools and resources available.  For further questions, please contact: Nisha Patel, Director, Community-Based Division/ORHP, npatel@hrsa.gov. (more…)

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Funding Opportunities

1. The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy has released a funding opportunity in support of the rural Access to External Devices Grant Program. The purpose of this program is to: (1) purchase automated external defibrillators; (2) provide defibrillator and basic life support training in automated defibrillator usage; and (3) place automated external defibrillators in rural communities.
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Rural health saved from fiscal cliff

View the NRHA today article on “Rural Fiscal Cliff Averted”.

Supreme Court upholds health care reform bill

At 10 a.m. today, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in its entirety (with the exception that the federal government’s power to terminate states’ Medicaid funds is narrowly read). The Court could have struck down all or part of the bill as unconstitutional, but instead, upheld each of four distinct legal challenges.

What does the court’s decision mean to rural America?

Whether you support of oppose the health care bill, it is important to know that many provisions were included in the bill that benefit both the rural provider and patient. During the health reform debate, NRHA’s message was clear: Improve rural America’s access to health care providers by resolving the workforce shortage crisis in rural areas, and eliminate long-standing payment inequities for rural providers.

NRHA fought for and won key rural workforce and payment improvements in the bill. Each of these decisions will remain intact in light of today’s decision. However, complete funding for several of the provisions will likely continue to remain challenging. (Many programs “authorized” in the ACA, must actually be funded through a separate act of Congress.) Click here for a complete list of the positive rural provisions in the ACA. (more…)