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Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

December 22, 2014

Hot Off the Presses

1.  The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy is pleased to announce several organizational changes.  We have established an Administrative Operations Division and have elevated the Policy Research Team to division status.  In addition, the word “Federal” has been added to the beginning of our name to reinforce the statutory charge in our authorizing language (Section 711 of the Social Security Act) to advise the Secretary and others in the Department on rural health issues.   For more information about the Office, please visit the FORHP website at http://www.hrsa.gov/ruralhealth/. For more information about the organizational changes, the Federal Register Notice can be found here.

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MOHEC Stakeholder Preview

December 17, 2014

Podcast Series Focuses on Transgender and Gender-Expansive Youth Health

Today we will release a podcast series regarding transgender and gender-expansive youth health.  MOHEC has developed the podcast in partnership with TransParent with support from the Missouri Foundation for Health. There is a 17 minute summary piece that accompanies the complete podcast (4 segments totaling about 60 minutes). All can be found at: http://www.mohec.org/Podcast.   I am reaching out to you as key stakeholders to help us spread the word. This series can be spread widely and is meant to be an educational tool and our hope is that it will raise awareness and promote health equity.

I would also like to and to extend a special invite to our feedback sessions. During these sessions we will look to our partners in health equity work to give insights as to how to make this tool even more effective. Register here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/new-podcast-series-focuses-on-transgender-youth-health-tickets-14947543505

Shannon Canfield
canfieldsm@health.missouri.edu

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

December 12, 2014

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Hot Off the Presses

1.  On December 8, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published the Medicare Shared Savings Program:  Accountable Care Organizations Proposed Rule in the Federal Register.  Comments are due by February 6th.  The rule includes the following proposals:

  • Changes to encourage ACO participation in risk-based models by:
    • Enabling existing ACOs under a one‑sided participation agreement (“Track 1” – shared savings, not losses) to continue for an additional 3-year period at a lower sharing rate
    • Adopting an alternative risk-based model (“Track 3”) that includes proposals for a higher shared savings rate and prospective attribution of beneficiaries.
    • Seeking comment on the waiver of Medicare payment rules and regulations related to telehealth, qualifying hospital stays for skilled nursing facility (SNF) admission, and qualifications for home health services and post-acute care referrals
  • Revisions to beneficiary assignment* that may be of interest to rural stakeholders include:
    • Including the claims from non-physician ACO professionals (NPs, PAs, and CNSs) in Step 1 of the beneficiary assignment rule.
    •  Clarifying how primary care services furnished in Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) will be considered in the assignment process.  CMS proposes that all primary care services furnished by FQHCs and RHCs would be considered in Step 1 of the beneficiary assignment method.
  • Streamlining ACO access to beneficiary claims data while continuing to enable beneficiaries to opt out from having their claims shared with the ACO.
  • Seeking comments on alternative methods for establishing, updating, or resetting ACO financial benchmarks for determining shared savings/losses, including using regional expenditures rather than national expenditures to set the benchmark.

*{Note: The existing method assigns beneficiaries to ACOs in 2 steps based on having the plurality of primary care services furnished 1) by primary care physicians; or 2) by specialists, nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs), and clinical nurse specialists (CNSs).}

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Rural Assistance Center Health & Human Services Update

November 25, 2014

The Rural Assistance Center is a collaborative effort of the University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health, and the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI); and is funded by a grant through HRSA’s Office of Rural Health Policy.  View the RAC Online newsletter.

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

November 13, 2014

Hot Off the Presses

1. ORHP is pleased to announce the release of the Rural Health Network Development Planning Program (Network Planning).  This is a one-year community-driven program targeted to assist in the planning and development of an integrated health care network.  Health care networks can be an effective strategy to address a broad range of challenges unique to rural communities by bringing together rural providers and other community organizations.  For grantees, this funding provides an opportunity to implement new and innovative approaches to adapting to a changing health care environment that may serve as a model to other rural communities to better align and coordinate local health care services.  The increasing focus on showing value in health care delivery creates incentives to develop regional systems of care that preserve local autonomy for rural communities while also ensuring access to the appropriate continuum of care for the local service population.  Previously funded projects supported efforts related to workforce, behavioral health, telehealth, care coordination, health information technology, and outreach and enrollment.  Network planning activities that model evidence-based frameworks or models that work are encouraged.

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Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

October 21, 2014

Hot Off the Presses

1. On October 8, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report examining Medicare beneficiaries’ payments for outpatient services at Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs). The report found that Medicare beneficiaries paid more in required coinsurance** at Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) than they would have if they received the same services at a prospective payment system (PPS) hospital, because cost sharing calculations are different in the two settings. As noted in some of the media coverage of the report, many people have Medicare supplemental insurance policies that cover the coinsurance, so many beneficiaries are not paying the higher cost sharing directly. For specific services investigated, beneficiary cost sharing averaged 2 to 6 times more at CAHs than at PPS hospitals. Since the method for calculating outpatient coinsurance at CAHs (20 percent of charges) is set by statute, it would require Congress to change the law to change the amount of cost sharing paid by beneficiaries. Additionally, any reduction in beneficiary payments due to lower beneficiary cost sharing would require an increase in Medicare payments to CAHs so that they continue to receive a total payment of 101 percent of costs (the sum of the Medicare payment and the cost sharing).

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Rural Health Conference Registration

NEW!  Register for the 7th Annual Rural Health Conference.

FY15 Rural Health Care Services Outreach Grant Program

September 8, 2014

The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) is pleased to announce that the FY15 Rural Health Care Services Outreach Grant Program funding opportunity announcement (announcement number: HRSA-15-039) is now available. To access the application package and learn more about the funding opportunity announcement, please click on: http://www.grants.gov/view-opportunity.html?oppId=264030 (look under ‘application package’ tab)

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Save The Date

August 25, 2014

7th Annual Missouri Rural Health Conference, Wednesday November 19, 2014

Registration opens September 15th.

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

August 18, 2014

Hot Off the Presses

1. On Friday, September 19th, 2014 from 2-3 PM ET, Mark Holmes, PhD and George H. Pink, PhD from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Center will host a webinar entitled “Change in Profitability and Financial Distress of Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) from Loss of Cost-Based Reimbursement.” Information and registration for the webinar is available at: http://www.ruralhealthresearch.org/webinars/critical-access-hospitals. The webinar will focus on the financial distress of Critical Access Hospitals, and will present summaries of three recent reports:

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Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

July 22, 2014

Hot Off the Presses

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the White House Rural Council today announced the award of eight grants, totaling $815,051.50, which will improve access to health care for Veterans living in highly rural areas. The grants will assist over 11,000 Veterans in 7 states and 56 counties by providing up to $50,000 per highly rural area to fund transportation services for Veterans to and from VA medical centers and other facilities that provide VA care.  The grants are part of a program authorized by Congress to help state Veterans Service Agencies and Veterans Service Organizations operate or contract for transportation services to transport Veterans to VA medical centers and other facilities that provide VA care. If you want to reach out to a grantee in your area, the list of grantees is as follows:
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Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Conference

July 1, 2014

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders: Building a Community Based System of Support. I am attaching the flyer for the conference scheduled for August 1st, in Columbia.

This is a one day conference for anyone who provides services or comes in contact with pregnant and post partum mothers.  The purpose is to increase the awareness and the recognition of post partum depression (and other disorders) and to begin a discussion about how to address the issue of health and support services for these mothers in our local communities.

The attached flyer lists the registration cost ($30) and provides the link to the March of Dimes website for registering online.

For your convenience the link to registration is:   http://www.eventbrite.com/e/perinatal-mood-anxiety-disorders-building-a-community-based-system-of-support-registration-11700036123?aff=rss

Conference info:
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders: Building a Community Based System of Support
Friday, August 1, 2014
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Hilton Garden Inn — Columbia, Missouri

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

April 10, 2014

Rural Research Highlights

  1. Widening Rural–Urban Disparities in Life Expectancy, U.S., 1969–2009
    This study by HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau examines the trends in life expectancy disparities between rural and urban areas in the United States between 1969 and 2009. The article finds that the disparity has increased since 1990, because life expectancy has grown more rapidly in urban than in rural areas. The disparity in life expectancy of urban over rural areas stood at 2.4 years during 2005-2009. Furthermore, the study’s findings indicate that mortality from cardiovascular diseases, injuries, lung cancer, and COPD is much higher in rural than in urban areas.
  2. Nursing in 3D: Workforce Diversity, Health Disparities, and Social Determinants of HealthThis special report explores the intersecting goals of increased workforce diversity, fair and equal access to quality health care and health care resources, elimination of health disparities, and achieving health equity. In August 2012, HRSA hosted a summit titled, “Nursing in 3D: Workforce Diversity, Health Disparities, and Social Determinants of Health.” This resulting special supplement includes 11 articles authored by 3D Summit speakers who are content experts in the fields of nursing workforce diversity, health disparities, and the social determinants of health. 

More recent rural research can be found on http://www.ruralhealthresearch.org/.

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Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

April 4, 2014

Hot Off the Presses 

  1. The following notice of extension has been posted by the Veteran’s Administration, and may be of interest to family physicians in highly rural areas for their U.S. veteran patients. The Veteran’s Administration announced today that it is extending the application deadline to midnight eastern standard time on May 27, 2014, to allow applicants additional time to apply for funds available under the Grants for Transportation of Veterans in Highly Rural Areas program. For more information, please review the posted Notice of Funds Availability at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-03-26/pdf/2014-06630.pdf.

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Save the Dates! NURSE Corps Scholarship Program Application Cycle Conference Calls

March 27, 2014

SAVE THESE DATES!

NURSE Corps Scholarship Program Application
Technical Assistance Conference Call
Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
8:00 – 10:00 pm ET

NURSE Corps Scholarship Program Application
Technical Assistance Conference Call
Saturday, May 17, 2014
1:00 – 3:00 pm ET

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