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.

We need more data on health in rural America

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a mass migration away from urban centers. While the new numbers are not in yet, we already know about 1 in 5 people live in rural areas. With remote working on the rise, this number could increase in years to come. This situation emphasizes the need to ensure health equity no matter where someone lives National Rural Health Day is just one day of the year, but we need quality health care all year everywhere.

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Is there a shortage of rural social workers?

Approximately 47 million adults 18 and older live in rural areas, along with 13.4 million children. A 2019 poll by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that one in every four people living in a rural area said they could not get the health care they needed – and this scarcity extends to lawyers, teachers, and social workers as well, with the social worker shortage likely concentrated in particular specialty fields.

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Real facts about the COVID-19 vaccine

You know better than anyone that vaccine hesitancy among rural Americans means COVID-19 will linger in rural communities for the foreseeable future – unless something more is done to increase vaccination rates. NRHA, in partnership with Legato Healthcare Marketing, has developed a grassroots initiative to help rural health stakeholders build vaccine confidence at the local level. We need rural health stakeholders to champion the initiative, inviting local business, nonprofit, and...

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Extending quality care into every American community

Facing physician stress and shortages alongside the larger, ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic, rural healthcare is at a crossroads as patients and care providers alike demand changes in terms of where and how care is delivered. What will the future of telehealth and extended care look like in the U.S.? Philips is committed to helping create this new reality. Extending care depends on understanding unique needs, employing creative thinking and building partnerships at all levels...

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HHS Announces the Availability of $25.5 Billion in COVID-19 Provider Funding

The Biden-Harris Administration announced today that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is distributing $25.5 billion in additional provider relief funds, via the $17 billion Provider Relief Fund Phase 4 General Distribution and the $8.5 billion ARP Rural Distribution.

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How rural hospital staffing can go global

One chilly morning in February 2016, Mary Rose and her family were greeted at a U.S. airport. The weather must have been shocking to the family who hailed from Quezon City, Metro Manila in the Philippines. They had been warned about Iowa winters and the need for proper clothing, but there’s something unsettling about saying farewell to family and friends in 90-degree heat and humidity only to deplane a few hours later to the foreign concept of wind chills.

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We are winning the COVID-19 fight, not the war

In the struggle against COVID-19, vaccines are our best weapon. We must continue the push to increase vaccination rates. Many people wonder if they need a vaccine if they already had COVID or if the infection itself makes them immune. These are reasonable questions – but a definite answer is not known. Here is what we do know.

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Top critical access hospitals announced

The 20 highest-ranked critical access hospitals (CAHs) in the country, as determined by the Chartis Center for Rural Health, were recently announced by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA). An awards ceremony will be held during NRHA’s Critical Access Hospital Conference in September in Kansas City, Mo. The determining factors for the Top 20 CAHs were based on the results of the Hospital Strength Index and its eight indices of performance: inpatient market share, outpatient...

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Rural COVID-19 relief summary as of April 2021

Throughout the fall and winter, rural America was disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the height of the pandemic more than 94 percent of nonmetropolitan counties were considered ‘red-zone’ counties, those with a new COVID-19 infection rate of 100 or more per 100,000 residents per week. Unfortunately, while rural America was addressing the pandemic head-on, relief stalled. From July until December 2020, rural providers were facing a disproportionate share of...

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NRHA outlines new Rural Emergency Hospital model

Rural hospital closures are at crisis levels with over 135 rural hospitals closing since 2010 and more than 450 identified as vulnerable to closure based on performance levels. Section 125 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 created the Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) model as a new Medicare provider type. NRHA believes the REH model will be an opportunity for vulnerable rural communities to maintain an essential access point for health services. It will be critical for...

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