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Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

May 7, 2014

 Hot Off the Presses


  1.    The  Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new interactive search tool that can help consumers and other stakeholders navigate information about the types of medical services and procedures delivered by physicians and other healthcare professionals. Rural providers can check their publicly available data, and rural residents can use the tool to begin to compare their provider(s) to others. Users can search for a provider by  name, address, or National Provider Identifier (NPI). Once a user selects a provider, the tool returns information about the services the provider furnished to Medicare beneficiaries, including the number of services provided, the number of beneficiaries treated, and the average payment and charges for such services.


This new look-up tool makes it easier to use the large data set about physician information that CMS released on April 9, 2014 to look up specific providers. The look-up tool and downloadable data files are included in the database of Data Navigator data sources.


2.   Please join the Health Resources and Services Administration on Wednesday, May 7th at 1pm ET for a webcast highlighting Affordable Care Act Accomplishments to Date and Opportunities Moving Forward. Two rural ORHP grantees will be highlighted. This session will discuss the impact of the Affordable Care Act and enrollment numbers to date, HRSA Marketplace outreach and enrollment accomplishments, special enrollment periods and how consumers can qualify and enroll, and the role of assisters moving forward.  There will be designated time for questions and answers as well. Questions can be submitted during the webcast, or in advance to

Join the webcast:


Rural Research Highlights

 3.  Which Medicare Patients Are Transferred from Rural Emergency Departments?


This study analyzed transfers of Medicare beneficiaries who received emergency care in a CAH or rural hospital and were transferred to another hospital for care. Key findings include the following:


  •  Among Medicare beneficiaries who received same-day emergency care and inpatient care in 2010, the inpatient stay was in a different hospital for 76.1% of the Critical Access Hospital (CAH) emergency claims, compared to 9.0% for rural non-CAHs, and 2.1% for urban hospitals.
  •  The majority of transferred CAH and rural non-CAH emergency patients went to urban hospitals for inpatient care. By diagnosis, most transferred patients with intracranial injuries and cardiac-related diagnoses went to urban hospitals, while 42%-48% of patients with certain mental health diagnoses were transferred to other CAHs or rural non-CAHs.


More recent rural research can be found on



Other Useful Information and Resources

4.       CMS invites you to subscribe to the EHR Incentive Programs listserv to receive timely information and resources from CMS on program updates, including:


  • Reminders for upcoming deadlines and milestones
  • Resources to help you participate
  • New and updated Frequently Asked Questions
  • Guidance on program participation


As we approach the time of penalties for noncompliance for Meaningful Use, it’s important to stay abreast of all updates and changes as we move forward.  This resource will help you stay up-to-date on the EHR Incentive Programs.


Want more information about the EHR Incentive Programs?
Make sure to visit the EHR Incentive Programs website for complete information about the CMS Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.




Funding Opportunities


Open funding opportunities of interest to rural stakeholders include:

5.       Are you a regional cooperative interested in bolstering your use of patient-centered outcomes research in primary care? The Agency for Health Care Research (AHRQ) has issued two funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) aimed at increasing the use of patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) in primary care practices. The FOA will fund up to 8 regional cooperatives to assist primary care practices build capacity for the implementation of PCOR findings in clinical care. Initial efforts will support the use of PCOR findings to improve heart health.  AHRQ expects that the grants will be funded in early 2015. AHRQ will invest up to $120 million over three years supporting up to 8 grantees, a landmark investment for the agency. Letters of intent are due May 23 and applications are due July 3, 2014.


6.       In support of the White House Now is the Time initiative, the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) program for Paraprofessionals is supported by HHS’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).



7.   The Department of Veterans Affairs Grants for Transportation of Veterans in Highly Rural Areas (HRTG) Program has opened up the grant application process again beginning March 26th.  This grant application period is from March 26, 2014 to midnight May 27, 2014.   This program’s purpose is to provide grants to eligible recipients to assist veterans in highly rural areas through innovative transportation services to travel to VA medical centers and to other VA and non-VA facilities to assist in providing transportation services in connection with the provision of VA medical care.

  • Eligible organizations that can apply are Veteran Service Organizations and State Veteran Service Agencies recognized by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
  • Non-eligible organizations such as a local transportation providers would have to partner with the above organizations and provide the services as sub recipient.
  • Services will have to be provided in those counties that are considered “highly rural” (see attached document of highly rural areas).
  • Highly Rural is defined by the population density of less than 7 persons per square mile in county.  Twenty-five states have counties with highly rural areas.
  • Grantees can receive $50,000 for each highly rural area that they provide transportation services.  One grant may be awarded to a grantee per fiscal year for each highly rural area in which the grantee provides transportation services. Transportation services may not be simultaneously provided by more than one grantee in any single highly rural area.
  • A grantee will not be required to provide matching funds as a condition of receiving such grant.
  • Additional information and how to apply can be found on  For a copy of the Application Package: Download directly from
  •  Click on search for grants and on the left side type in 64.035 in the box that says CFDA Number or click on this link:

8.   The National Health Service Corps Scholarship (NHSC) Program:  HRSA is pleased to announce that applications for the NHSC Scholarship Program are now being accepted.  Candidates interested in serving in the health professions in rural communities may be interested in applying.


  • Eligibility is open to all students who are U.S. citizens or nationals and are enrolled in a fully accredited training program for Physicians (MD or DO), Dentists, Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse-Midwives or Physician Assistants at a U.S. accredited school.  The NHSC Scholarship Program is expected to be competitive. If there are more qualified applicants than available funding, the Program will continue to prioritize applicants who are from a disadvantaged background and applicants who demonstrate a commitment to continuing to serve high-need communities after their service to the NHSC is complete.
  • Apply by:  Thursday, May 15, 2014
  • Application and Program Guidance


9.   The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has issued two funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) aimed at increasing the use of patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) in primary care practices. Applications are due by July 3rd, 2014. The funding opportunity for up to eight regional cooperatives to help primary care practices build capacity for the implementation of patient-centered outcomes research in clinical care can be found here.


10.    The 2014 NURSE Corps Scholarship Program application cycle is now open.  Candidates interested in serving as nurses in rural or frontier communities may be interested in this scholarship. All completed applications must be submitted by May 22, 2014, at 7:30 pm, ET to be considered for an award.  Please refer to the Application and Program Guidance for all of the program requirements. Scholarship support includes tuition, required fees, other reasonable educational costs, and a monthly living stipend (all support is taxable) for up to four years. For each year of financial support, a NURSE Corps scholarship recipient serves one year at a NURSE Corps -approved facility in one of many high-need urban, rural, or frontier communities. The Program requires a minimum 2-year full-time service commitment (or part-time equivalent).



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