American Health Care Act is Pulled from Consideration

Our rural health care voices were heard today as the Republican plan to repeal and replace the ACA was pulled from consideration by the House of Representatives. CCRHI appreciates the efforts of all rural health care leaders who reached out to their Members of Congress and shared their thoughts about why this plan was not the right answer for our rural communities. Read more on this in coverage from the news media.

Regional Convenings to Discuss Health Care 2017 for Rural California

A coalition of organizations focused on rural health care in California is sponsoring three regional convenings to discuss the policy landscape for rural health, reflect on impact of the ACA on rural health systems and identify strategies to navigate potential changes. The event dates are:

  • Central Valley: March 16, 2017
  • Northern California: March 20, 2017
  • Southern California: Date TBD

Visit the CCRHI events page for more information and to register today.

Download the registration flyer to share.

Rural Americans at Higher Risk of Death from Five Leading Causes

On January 12, 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the results of a study that demonstrates rates of the five leading causes of death are higher among rural Americans:

  • heart disease,
  • cancer,
  • unintentional injuries,
  • chronic lower respiratory disease, and
  • stroke
“We have seen increasing rural-urban disparities in life expectancy and mortality emerge in the past few years. CDC’s focus on these critical rural health issues comes at an important time,”  said Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Acting Administrator, Jim Macrae, in a press release.

According to the CDC, gaps in mortality can be addressed by the following:

  • Screen patients for high blood pressure and make control a quality improvement goal. High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
  • Increase cancer prevention and early detection. Rural healthcare providers should participate in the state-level comprehensive control coalitions. Comprehensive cancer control programs focus on cancer prevention, education, screening, access to care, support for cancer survivors, and overall good health.
  • Encourage physical activity and healthy eating to reduce obesity. Obesity has been linked to a variety of serious chronic illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.
  • Promote smoking cessation. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States and is the most significant risk factor for chronic lower respiratory disease.
  • Promote motor vehicle safety. Rural healthcare providers should encourage patients to always wear a seat belt and counsel parents and child care providers to use age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats, and seat belts on every trip.
  • Engage in safer prescribing of opioids for pain. Healthcare providers should follow the CDC guideline when prescribing opioids for chronic pain and educate patients on the risks and benefits of opioids and using nonpharmacologic therapies to provide greater benefit.

View the CDC News Release for more information.

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps Webinar

Today CCRHI hosted a successful webinar with staff from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. Thank you to all of our CCRHI collaborative members who participated. This is the first in what we hope will be many webinars that explore strategies to improve the health of your rural communities. To view the meeting recording and slides visit the CCRHI Events page.

Shasta County Physician Workforce Assessment Released

The Shasta Health Assessment and Redesign Collaborative (SHARC) released a Shasta County Physician Workforce Assessment last week. Prepared by Health Alliance of Northern California (HANC) on behalf of the collaborative, the paper is the culmination of a year-long collaboration between Shasta County’s hospitals, clinics, county agencies, Partnership HealthPlan of California and many other healthcare leaders to research and analyze the current physician supply in the county.

Read the full report.

New Financial Analysis of Rural Health Center Sustainability

Capital Link, in collaboration with Health Alliance of Northern California, prepared an analysis of key financial and operational indicators for rural community health centers in a 10-county region of Northeastern California. Some of the key findings of the report include:

  • Health centers in the region experienced growth in the Medi-Cal patient population, increasing from 27% of total patients in 2011 to 38% in 2014. This shift is financially significant, however the region has a relatively smaller Medi-Cal population compared to other more urban areas in the state (CA FQHCs overall had an average of 56% Medi-Cal), which puts these health centers at a comparative financial disadvantage.
  • The median payer mix for health centers in the region also differs from statewide averages in terms of higher Medicare and privately insured patient populations (Medicare made up 19% of patients for Rural health centers v.s. 5% CA FQHCs overall). Medicare patients represent an older demographic, which is typically a more clinically complex and expensive population to manage.
  • Health centers in the region experienced a recent improvement in patient growth of 4.3% in 2014, exceeding even the median growth rate for their statewide peers (3.6%).
  • In 2014, the median operating margin for the group of rural health centers in Northern California was 1.0%, or just above a break even performance level (as compared to 2.8% for peers in CA).

View the full report on the Resources page.