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.

Big rural health advocacy wins in FY23 appropriations bill

The FY 2023 appropriations bill was recently released as an omnibus bill. Overall, it includes several victories for rural health, due in part to the significant advocacy efforts of NRHA members at the association's 2022 Policy Institute and beyond. In all, NRHA is pleased with the provisions included in this year-end package. The funding levels for important rural health programs were either increased or maintained, and non-appropriations provisions were in line with NRHA's requests....

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On telehealth and the future of rural health care

The pandemic, higher patient acuity and staffing shortages have been a lethal combination for rural hospitals; one third of them face closure. Many hospital leaders are seeking higher payments, but proactive strategies for change are also needed. One key strategy is applying telehealth solutions throughout the patient stay, with specialists doing everything from screening in the ER to clearing disruptions in patient flow, all virtually. This frees up on-site staff to do the hands-on work.

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Partnership highlight: NRHA continues to expand its work with All of Us Research Program

  • Author: Lea Mann

Since 2018, the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) has been a proud partner of the National Institute of Health’s All of Us Research Program. From the beginning, NRHA has been an affiliate of the Community and Provider Gateway Initiative, a cross-section of grassroots organizations helping to build program infrastructure, raise awareness about the value of participation, and drive enrollment in populations historically underrepresented in biomedical research, including rural.

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National Rural Health Day proclamation

As we celebrate National Rural Health Day and reflect on the obstacles to providing health care in rural areas, the Rural Health Action Alliance urges Congress to continue investment in rural health infrastructure. As we look back on the challenges rural communities faced throughout the pandemic, RHAA urges Congress to create an Office of Rural Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as proposed in the Rural Health Equity Act (H.R. 5848 & S. 3149) introduced by Rep...

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CMS seeks to advance rural, tribal, and geographically isolated community health

Nearly 61 million Americans live in rural, tribal, geographically isolated areas, as well as U.S. territories that face similar but locally unique challenges regarding time and distance to health care facilities, health professional shortages, and other barriers. That’s why the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is working to advance health equity across the nation’s health system to enable people living and working in rural, tribal, and geographically isolated...

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How a rural hospital improved patient experience with imaging

Rural Americans have the same imaging needs as people in urban areas, but many rural hospitals don’t believe they have the patient volume or resources to purchase MRI or CT systems. This often leads rural hospitals to pursue other options, like contracting with a mobile MRI provider. While this arrangement helped West Feliciana Hospital meet the imaging needs of local residents, they noticed a decrease in provider referrals and volume over time. The reasons leading up to this were all...

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How the great resignation could help rural hospitals with staffing

In the world at large, our economy is shifting due to the effects of The Great Resignation. While many professionals are walking away from careers, others realize they can work non-traditionally – and in many cases, more efficiently – in a way, that better supports their personal lives. The national debate on the topic is centered on skepticism and fears of unpredictable productivity versus a reinvention of work.

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NRHA member response to devastating Kentucky floods

When catastrophic flooding hit eastern Kentucky in late July, NRHA member Nikki King sprang into action. The impact of the historic weather event has been nothing short of devastating, killing at least 37 people while others remain missing. To help out in her hometown of Neon, King has been driving supplies and working her phone tree to get supplies for the community.

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Attracting, retaining talent amid the travel nurse surge

As hospitals leaders scramble to secure nurses to care for patients, we have seen increased salaries and a bidding war over nurse talent that have driven the average nurse pay rate up. This has hit rural health care facilities particularly hard, where often budgets can no longer compete with larger health care systems. Learn four ways rural health care facilities can attract and retain nurse talent amid this staffing crisis.

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Telemedicine essential for addressing clinical, behavioral care access disparities

With a growing shortage of primary care providers and behavioral health specialists, telemedicine will be key to improving access and choice for residents of underserved and disadvantaged communities.

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