News Blog
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  • 25 Jun 2018 2:06 PM | Mary Reuter (Administrator)
    Suicide Rates Increasing Nationwide
    Increasingly, suicide is being viewed not only as a mental health problem but a public health one. Nearly 45,000 suicides occurred in the United States in 2016 — more than twice the number of homicides — making it the 10th-leading cause of death. Among people ages 15 to 34, suicide is the second-leading cause of death. The Washington Post recently covered the CDC's recent report on suicide rates, which showed a 43.2 percent increase in Idaho from 1999 to 2016. 

    WICHE Suicide Prevention Toolkit
    This Web-based Toolkit contains information and tools to implement state of the art suicide prevention practices and overcome the significant hurdles this life-saving work faces in primary care practices. The Toolkit offers the support necessary to establish the primary care provider as one member of a team, fully equipped to reduce suicide risk among their patients.

    The Toolkit is a collaborative project of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) and the Western Interstate Commission of Higher Education (WICHE), Mental Health Program. Although the tools are designed with the rural practice in mind, most are quite suitable for use in non-rural settings, as well. The materials offered may be reproduced for use within your practice. Further distribution without the express consent of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center is prohibited.

    To download a free copy, visit SPRC's website

  • 11 Jun 2018 11:34 AM | Mary Reuter (Administrator)

    Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a learning and guided practice model that revolutionizes medical education and exponentially increased workforce capacity to provide best-practice specialty care and reduce health disparities. The heart of the ECHO model is its hub-and-spoke knowledge-sharing networks, led by expert teams (hubs) who use multi-point video conferencing to conduct virtual clinics with community providers (spokes.) In this way, primary care doctors, nurses and other clinicians learn to provide excellent specialty care to patients in their own communities.

    ECHO uses a “learning by doing model” in bi-weekly one hour video conferences, where primary care providers present de-identified cases to their colleagues and specialists at the hub site. They then receive treatment suggestions from the entire community of practice. Each session lasts one hour, and includes a short presentation on a specific clinical topic. ECHO Idaho’s current Opioid Abuse and Treatment Clinic continues through September 2018. Enroll in the Opioid ECHO Clinic to receive emails with agendas, announcements, resources, and information needed to connect to clinic sessions and receive no-cost continuing education credit.

  • 21 Jan 2018 10:14 PM | Mary Reuter (Administrator)

    Two New Policy Briefs from the National Advisory CommitteeThe National Advisory Committee on Rural Health & Human Services is a citizens’ panel of nationally-recognized rural health experts that provides recommendations on rural issues to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services twice each year.  The latest policy briefs were written by the committee after a meeting last fall in Boise, Idaho, where the group focused on the impact of suicide in rural America and enhancing the Rural Health Clinics program to adapt to a value-focused health care environment.  Also, a new website for the rural health advisory committee provides a look back more than two decades into the past with recommendations for health policy issues such as provider payment reform, workforce development, and telehealth implementation.  Beginning in 2003, the committee expanded its focus to include human services and started addressing such issues as homelessness, intimate partner violence and social determinants of health.  

  • 16 Oct 2017 3:11 PM | Mary Reuter (Administrator)

    The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) is pleased to announce the release of its 2017 Compendium of Rural Oral Health Best Practices.

    Part of the National Rural Oral Health Initiative, a collaboration between the NRHA and the DentaQuest Foundation, the compendium’s specific purpose is to provide leadership with the intent to establish oral health care as part of primary care.

    This initiative is designed to enhance access to quality oral health care, a pressing need in rural communities, and is a crucial step in improving health care access for rural Americans.

  • 19 Aug 2017 9:13 AM | Mary Reuter (Administrator)

    GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health is happy to announce that they have again been chosen as the grantee to lead the Rural Health Research Gateway website.

    The website, funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), allows users free and timely access to all of the federally-funded Rural Health Research Center’s products. Products include policy briefs, factsheets, chartbooks, and more, all with the end goal of educating and informing health professionals, policy makers, and students.

    At users can:

    • Search for summaries of research projects, both underway and completed.

    • Subscribe to research alerts to receive the latest rural health research in their inboxes.

    • Access information about the Rural Health Research Centers, including contact information and areas of expertise.

    “We have a long history serving as the Rural Health Research Gateway, and we look forward to continuing our work with the Rural Health Research Centers, as well as numerous State and national partners, as we all strive to share rural health research,” said Dr. Shawnda Schroeder, PhD, Gateway’s principal investigator. “Having served as the Rural Health Research Gateway for over a decade, we are excited to continue sharing relevant and timely rural health research with diverse audiences.”

    For more information, like Gateway on Facebook, follow Gateway on Twitter, and subscribe to Gateway’s YouTube channel.

  • 19 Aug 2017 9:03 AM | Mary Reuter (Administrator)

    This Web-based Toolkit contains information and tools to implement state of the art suicide prevention practices and overcome the significant hurdles this life-saving work faces in primary care practices. The Toolkit is a collaborative project of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) and the Western Interstate Commission of Higher Education (WICHE), Mental Health Program. Although the tools are designed with the rural practice in mind, most are quite suitable for use in non-rural settings, as well.

    order a toolkit online now

    Hard copies of the toolkit are available for $25.00 (includes shipping) through WICHE Mental Health Program. A Pocket Guide for Primary Care Professionals is also available for $1 each. It reviews assessment and interventions with potentially suicidal patients and is also included in the toolkit. For more information, please contact

  • 28 Jul 2017 1:41 PM | Mary Reuter (Administrator)

    New Proposals for RHCs and FQHCs on Care Management Services and ACO Assignments Listening Session — August 1

    Tuesday, August 1 from 2 to 3:30 pm ET

    Register for Medicare Learning Network events.

    During this call, CMS experts review proposals for Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in the Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule on requirements and payment for Care Management Services, which includes Chronic Care Management (CCM), General Behavioral Health Integration (BHI), and Psychiatric Collaborative Care Model (CoCM) services. Learn about the CMS CCM Campaign and the proposed new process for using RHC and FQHC claims to assign beneficiaries to Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

    A question and answer session follows the presentation. We will open the lines for feedback. Note: feedback received during the listening session will not be considered formal comments on the rule. See the proposed rule for information on submitting these comments by the close of the comment period on September 11, 2017.

    Visit these CMS websites for more information: RHC Center, FQHC Center, and Connected Care: The Chronic Care Management Resource.

    Target Audience: RHCs, FQHCs, and other interested stakeholders

  • 05 Jul 2017 7:28 AM | Mary Reuter (Administrator)

    National Rural Health Association CEO Alan Morgan says the organization will oppose the Senate’s health care bill because the legislation will hurt rural America. “In its current form, this bill is anti-rural,” Morgan says. The Better Care Reconciliation Act contains several provisions that would hit especially hard in rural areas, Morgan says, including deep cuts in Medicaid spending and an end to Medicaid expansion. According to NRHA, the Senate version does nothing to improve insurance marketplaces for rural areas and could make them worse by cutting tax credits for insurance purchases. NRHA implores Congress to act now to protect rural health care across the nation and for its constituents to demand that their representatives make health reform work for rural America.

  • 06 Jun 2017 9:12 PM | Mary Reuter (Administrator)

    Mental health, substance use coverage could roll back to pre-ACA levels if AHCA becomes law

    A new report finds that the American Health Care Act (AHCA) could cause millions of Americans to lose insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorders, and limit “parity” protections that ensure benefit criteria for mental health and substance use disorders cannot be stricter than those for other medical care. Prepared by researchers at the Urban Institute, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the report author concludes that the AHCA could reverse decades-long efforts to reduce inequities in coverage for mental illness and substance use disorders. 

    Congress established parity protections for mental health and substance use disorder benefits in piecemeal fashion. The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) of 2008 required parity in large employer-sponsored plans and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) extended those parity protections to certain Medicaid plans and individual and small group health plans.

    Prior to the MHPAEA, nearly two-thirds of people with employer-sponsored insurance had special limits on inpatient behavioral health coverage, and three-quarters had limits on outpatient behavioral health coverage. The ACA then provided coverage and parity protections for mental health and substance use disorder treatment to millions of Americans, many of whom were previously uninsured.

    “The ACA closed a significant coverage gap by extending parity for behavioral health coverage to the individual insurance market,” said Katherine Hempstead, senior adviser at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Proposed reforms threaten access for millions, at a time when the need for substance abuse treatment in particular is critical.”

  • 02 Jun 2017 10:34 AM | Mary Reuter (Administrator)

    Trump FY 2018 budget proposes slashing public health funding, environmental protection and programs for low-income Americans 

    On May 24, President Donald Trump submitted his full FY 2018 budget proposal to Congress. The budget proposes to cut $54 billion in nondefense discretionary funding in FY 2018 and increase defense spending by the same amount. The American Public Health Association (APHA) issued a statement condemning the proposal and urging Congress to reject it. The budget would cut $1.2 billion from the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compared to current year funding. The budget contains a host of proposed cuts to CDC programs, including a nearly $25 million cut to the National Center for Environmental Health, including the elimination of the agency’s climate and health program. The budget would also cut more than $220 million from chronic disease programs that seek to prevent heart disease and stroke, diabetes and obesity among other conditions. Other proposed cuts and eliminations include: the elimination of the $51 million Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program, which helps states address serious disparities in infant mortality, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and immunizations; elimination of the $160 million Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant; a $138 million cut to occupational health and safety programs; and a more than $139 million cut to CDC’s public health preparedness and response programs that help state and local health departments prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. You can view the full FY 2018 Congressional Justification for the budget proposal on the CDC website. 

    The proposal outlines massive cuts to Health Resources and Services Administration programs that train and diversify our nation’s health workforce, which are critical for addressing future shortages of health professionals. And as the U.S. population continues to grow and become increasingly diverse, the need for a diverse workforce becomes ever more important. The proposal also cuts about 50 percent of funding for rural health programs designed to support the more than 46 million people living in rural America who struggle with accessing health care. Additionally, the president’s budget proposes to eliminate multiple maternal and child health programs including Autism and Other Developmental Disorders, Universal Newborn Hearing Screening, Emergency Medical Services for Children and a program that supports screening, follow-up and health care services to newborns and children who have or are at risk for heritable disorders. Overall, the proposal would cut $674.5 million from HRSA’s discretionary budget authority. You can view the full FY 2018 Congressional Justification for the budget proposal on the HRSA website. 

    The proposal would also cut an astounding 31 percent from the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency in FY 2018, cut more than 25 percent from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides low-income Americans with assistance to purchase food for their families, and cut more than $610 billion from the Medicaid program over 10 years, on top of the more than $800 million that would be cut from Medicaid under the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. APHA and APHA Affiliate members are encouraged to contact their members of Congress urging them to reject the president’s budget and to instead work in a bipartisan manner to develop spending bills that prioritize public health. 

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