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NYS Association for Rural Health Appoints Liz Urbanski-Farrell as its First Employed Executive Director, Marking a New Era for Rural Health in New York

Historic Appointment Signals Enhanced Leadership and Commitment to Rural Health (Albany, N.Y.) — The New York State Association for Rural Health (NYSARH) proudly announces the appointment of Liz Urbanski-Farrell, MBA, MS, as its first employed Executive Director. This landmark hiring marks a pivotal transition from a volunteer-driven organization to one poised for even greater impact under experienced leadership. Liz Urbanski-Farrell brings a wealth of expertise in health care management, policy, and leadership, having earned dual master’s degrees in healthcare leadership and healthcare research and policy from Cornell University. Her diverse experience spans various roles where she has significantly contributed to health care initiatives and strategies, particularly within rural settings....

High Suicide Rate Among American Farmers Sparks Rural Community Action

In 2023, the United States witnessed a tragic milestone as more than 50,000 Americans took their own lives, marking the highest yearly rate of suicide on record. Among the most affected are farmers, who face unique challenges that often go unnoticed. According to the National Rural Health Association, farmers are 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population. Special correspondent Megan Thompson sheds light on this issue, reporting from Wisconsin, where farmers grapple with immense pressure and isolation. Brenda Statz, who runs a 300-acre farm with her family, recounts the struggles her husband, Leon, faced. Leon, like many farmers, battled depression, feeling the weight of financial burdens and the demands of farm life. The story of the Statz family is not uncommon. ...

Legislative Commission on Rural Resources Releases Fall 2023 Edition of Rural Futures Newsletter

The Legislative Commission on Rural Resources is excited to present the Fall 2023 edition of *Rural Futures*, a newsletter that underscores their unwavering commitment to advocating for rural communities in New York State. This newsletter reflects a year of significant accomplishments, raising awareness of the importance of rural New York within state government. In 2023, they have spearheaded collaboration across various levels of government, marking a turning point in their mission. Highlights of the 2023 Edition: 1. LCRR: 2023 Updates: Delve into the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources’ most notable achievements and initiatives in 2023. These accomplishments include increased funding for rural healthcare, vital infrastructure projects, and several other measures aimed at enh...

Construction Industry Hit Hard by Opioid Epidemic

New York, NY- The opioid epidemic has claimed over a million lives since 1999, with 2021 seeing 106,699 drug overdose deaths, 75.4% of which were opioid-related, according to the CDC. An alarming trend is evident in the construction industry. Recent data from the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) reveals that construction workers face the highest opioid-related overdose death rates. In 2020, nearly 70,000 opioid-related overdose deaths were recorded, a 36% increase from the previous year. Construction workers endure a 77% higher injury rate than the national average, often lacking modified duty options and facing pain, job loss, and financial stress. These factors lead to increased depression and opioid usage among this group. The industry also ranks second in suicides, ...

Vice President Alison Coates with NCP Radio on Rural Improvement

Our Vice-President  Alison Coates, has been at the forefront of advocating for improvements in rural healthcare. In a recent conversation with David Sommerstein at North Country Public Radio , she shed light on the specific challenges faced by rural communities in accessing quality healthcare. Urban-Centric Healthcare According to Coates, the healthcare system in our country was primarily built with urban areas in mind, leading to a mismatch when applied to rural regions. This “one size fits all” approach doesn’t account for the distinct needs of rural communities. Scaling Down Isn’t the Solution The fundamental issue arises from the payment model, which is based on the volume of services provided. In rural areas, where patient numbers are lower, this model doesn...

Transform Rural Health: Bridging the Gap for a Healthier Tomorrow

At the core of the Transform Rural Health campaign lies a fundamental belief: everyone, regardless of their geographical location, deserves access to the resources and support required to attain good health. Sadly, many rural communities across New York State have been left behind due to a long history of economic disinvestment, under-resourcing, and systemic factors that have resulted in subpar health outcomes. Rural residents often face daunting challenges, such as limited or unaffordable healthcare coverage, the closure of healthcare facilities, a shortage of physicians and healthcare professionals, inadequate transportation options, limited access to healthy food, a lack of career opportunities, and housing shortages. These barriers not only impact individual health but also hinder the...

Request for Applications (RFA) for the Making Care Primary Model Now Available

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has taken a significant step towards enhancing healthcare with the release of a Request for Applications (RFA) outlining model payment, care delivery, quality, and other policies for the eagerly awaited Making Care Primary (MCP) Model. This promising initiative aims to elevate the standards of primary care, enabling participants to offer patients comprehensive, high-quality, whole-person care. As the Application Portal prepares to open later this month, CMS invites interested applicants to explore the comprehensive details provided in the RFA. A dedicated announcement will be made once the Application Portal becomes accessible. Making Care Primary Model – A Glimpse into the Future CMS introduced the groundbreaking Making Care Pri...

Housing Quality by Disability, Race, Ethnicity, and Rural-Urban Location: Findings From the American Community Survey

Housing quality plays a crucial role in determining the health and well-being of individuals and communities. A recent policy brief sheds light on this issue by exploring the relationship between housing quality indicators and factors such as disability, race, ethnicity, and rural-urban location. The brief, based on data from the American Community Survey, reveals important insights into the disparities in housing conditions across different populations. One of the key findings of the study is the disparity between rural and urban housing conditions. It was discovered that a higher proportion of rural residents live in substandard housing, with incomplete plumbing and incomplete kitchen facilities, compared to their urban counterparts. Shockingly, this amounts to over 368,000 rural residen...

CMS Announces Multi-State Initiative to Strengthen Primary Care

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a new primary care model called the Making Care Primary (MCP) Model. This model will be implemented and tested in eight states through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. The MCP Model aims to enhance the primary care infrastructure in the United States, particularly for safety net organizations and smaller or independent primary care providers. By expanding care management, care coordination, and community-based connections, the model seeks to improve patient care and outcomes. The MCP Model has three main goals. First, it aims to ensure that patients receive integrated, coordinated, person-centered, and accountable primary care. Second, it aims to provide a pathway for primary care organizations, especially...

Health Foundation for Western & Central New York Launches Initiative to Promote Rural Health Equity

The Health Foundation for Western & Central New York made a groundbreaking announcement today, unveiling a new initiative aimed at advancing rural health equity in multiple counties across the state. This significant undertaking will focus on strengthening regional rural health networks, raising awareness of healthcare needs in rural central and western New York, and advocating for systemic changes to address funding cuts and reduce health disparities in rural counties. With a commitment to improving the health and well-being of individuals residing in underserved rural communities, the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York has allocated a generous sum of $450,000 in grants for this initiative. These grants will empower local organizations and support their efforts to co...

Wider Access to Narcan Helps Rural Communities Fight Overdose Deaths

Source: PBS NewsHour (https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/wider-access-to-narcan-helps-rural-communities-fight-overdose-deaths In a compelling effort to combat the rising tide of overdose deaths, rural communities across the nation are making significant strides with wider access to Narcan. According to a recent report by PBS NewsHour, the expanded availability of this life-saving medication is proving instrumental in saving lives and providing critical support to those affected by the opioid crisis. The PBS NewsHour report highlights the growing success of Narcan distribution programs in rural areas, where access to emergency medical services may be limited. The easy-to-use nasal spray, which contains the drug naloxone, can swiftly reverse the effects of opioid overdose, offering a vital wi...

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