Long COVID’s Lingering Effects on Rural Health

The latest feature article in The Rural Monitor shares what’s known about the post-COVID illness that’s estimated to affect as many 3 million in rural areas. As of December 2022, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the top five states for self-reported symptoms are mostly rural: Montana, Wyoming, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Alaska.
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The Approaching End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and Its Implications for RHCs

The National Association of Rural Health Clinics first describes some of the COVID-related waivers and flexibilities that applied widely – such as those reducing barriers to telehealth – and then those that were specific to RHCs. These include relaxed requirements that physicians provide medical direction to nurse practitioners and justification to provide home nursing services, among others. These waivers will end with the public health emergency that is intended to end on May 11, 2023 as announcement by the Biden Administration.
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Overview of the Impacts of Long COVID on Behavioral Health

This literature review from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a summary of the behavioral health implications regarding Long COVID. It describes an overview of behavioral health disorders associated with Long COVID, neuropsychiatric causes of the behavioral health disorders, and future research needs.
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Free Home-Delivered COVID-19 Tests Available Once Again

Free COVID-19 test are once again available for order through the United States Postal Service for all community members. Residential households in the U.S. can order one set of 4 free at-home, individual rapid antigen COVID-19 self-tests after filling out a form online at
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HHS Proposes Major Changes to SUD Treatment Record-Sharing

The Department of Health and Human Services today issued a notice of public rulemaking to improve the exchange of patient records used in the treatment of substance use disorder. HHS proposes provisions to implement section 3221 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to ensure providers have more complete and timely information when treating patients with SUD, including updating patient consent requirements and aligning disclosure requirements with those under HIPAA regulations. AHA is among a host of organizations who have pushed for such changes, including one which would enable providers to get a patient’s consent just once to share substance use records for treatment and health care operations. HHS will accept comments for the next 60 days.
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Physician Response to COVID-19–Driven Telehealth Flexibility for Opioid Use Disorder

A July 2020 survey of more than a thousand physicians who provided treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) showed that many used telehealth for the first time during the pandemic, when regulations were loosened. More than half of respondents, 54 percent, found it more effective than expected. A significant majority – 85 percent – were in favor of the temporary telehealth flexibility being permanently extended.
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Use and Retention of Video, Telephone, and In-Person Buprenorphine Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In this cross-sectional study of 17,182 patients, patients who were younger, male, Black, unknown race, Hispanic, non–service connected, or with certain comorbidities were significantly less likely to receive telehealth; those who were older, male, Black, non–service connected, or experiencing homelessness and/or housing instability were significantly less likely to receive video compared with telephone-only telehealth. Telehealth was positively associated with retention.
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The Meaning of a Public Health Emergency

Last week, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) made this declaration for Florida, South Carolina, and Puerto Rico after determining that the devastation of Hurricane Iain required urgent response from the federal government
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