In an effort to inform and promote local discussions and strategic planning for transforming health and health care in rural communities, the Maine Rural Health Research Center, with support from the Maine Health Access Foundation, produced five issue briefs profiling innovative approaches to rural health. The briefs present innovative approaches from Maine and other parts of the United States to the provision of behavioral health services, recruitment and retention of health care workers, service delivery, governance, and health care payment and financing in rural areas. FMI: Andrew Coburn, PhD, Director, Maine Rural Health Research Center.
New Research Shows Inequality in Mainers' Access to Health Care
On October 17, 2016, the Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) released a new research brief developed with the University of Southern Maine that found significant inequality in the ability of people in Maine to access quality health care. The authors, Barbara Leonard from MeHAF and Erika Ziller from the USM Muskie School, found that income, age and education are all closely associated with Maine people’s ability to receive appropriate and timely health care. Specifically, they found that among Maine adults 18 and older, those with family incomes less than $25,000 a year, young adults, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with less education are much more likely to:
-Delay seeking health care even when sick;
-Be unable to afford prescription medication;
-Lack access to preventative check-ups and screenings or have a regular health care provider.
In addition, their analysis also found that Maine people, of all income groups, have reported difficulties in paying medical costs. The brief is available for download on the Maine Health Access Foundation website.
New article on EMS Performance Measures by Rural Health Research Center staff
Developing Program Performance Measures for Rural Emergency Medical Services has been published online in Prehospital Emergency Care, and is available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10903127.2016.1218978.
The authors are John Gale, Andrew Coburn, Karen Pearson, Zach Croll, and George Shaler.
Building on national efforts to develop EMS performance measures, the authors sought to identify measures relevant to the rural communities and hospitals supported by the National Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex Program). The measures are intended for use in monitoring rural EMS performance at the community level as well as for use by state Flex Programs and the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to demonstrate the impact of the Flex Program.
Working with an Expert Panel, the authors identified 17 program performance measures to support EMS services in rural communities. These measures monitor the capacity of local agencies to collect and report quality and financial data, use the data to improve agency performance, and train rural EMS employees in emergent protocols for all age groups.
FMI: John Gale
Gale presents on rural opioids at United Nations meeting in Vienna
John Gale, Research Associate at the Maine Rural Health Research Center, was invited to present at a three-day meeting of the Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section of the United Nation's Office on Drugs and Crime, held in Vienna, Austria the first week of June.The focus of the meeting is the development of a model program for drug prevention and treatment in rural areas. Gale's current research on rural opioids provided the context for his presentation, "The Overall Situation of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Prevention and Treatment in Rural Settings."
Rural Center staff present at National Rural Health Association Annual Meeting
Erika Ziller, Deputy Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center, and John Gale, Research Associate, each presented findings from their current research portfolio and both contributed to a panel discussion on the rural opioid crisis. For more information, visit the National Rural Health Association webpage at: http://www.ruralhealthweb.org/go/left/programs-and-events/nrha-conferences/nrha-annual-conference
MEPRI Research on Proficiency-based Diploma Systems & College Remediation Cited in Bangor Daily News
March 14, 2016 Bangor Daily News editorial board referenced MEPRI's analysis of school districts' implementation of Maine's Proficiency-based Diploma legislation as well as a report examining college remediation trends.