Skip to content

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

July 1, 2014

Hot Off the Presses

  1. The Veterans Health Administration recently posted a solicitation for vendors to provide contracted primary/ambulatory care for veterans in the geographic region known as VISN 18, the “Southwest Health Care Network” (“Veterans Integrated Service Network”). Rural providers in the Southwest may be interested in viewing the contract opportunity as well as the geographic region comprising several market or service areas in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. The solicitation provides greater detail on the ability to apply for a specific market area, services required, and closing date (July 15th, 2014). You can find it at FedBizOpps.gov or www.fbo.gov Solicitation # VA79114R0072.
  2. Nemours, a foundation that operates an integrated children’s health system, prepared a Childhood Obesity Prevention Toolkit for Rural Communities. The toolkit provides a range of strategies and success stories to assist practitioners in child-serving sectors, including: early care and education, schools, out-of-school time, community initiatives and healthcare. The profiled communities were able to leverage their unique rural resources and benefited from close community bonds to improve children’s health. The toolkit also includes policy recommendations and an overview of the evaluation process. If you have questions, please feel free to contact Daniella Gratale, Senior Manager of Advocacy at Nemours, at daniella.gratale@nemours.org.
  3. Health centers provide a range of health care services in rural communities, with a particular focus on providing care in underserved areas. HRSA solicits applications for the Health Center Program’s Service Area Competition (SAC). Applications are due July 30th, 2014. For more information, please see the following FOAs:

Rural Research Highlights

  1. Support for Rural Recruitment and Practice among U.S. Nurse Practitioner Education Programs
    Pharmacists provide a range of health services and their loss can have serious implications for the provision of health care, especially in rural areas. Previous policy briefs from the RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis have documented the decline in the number of independently owned pharmacies in rural area, especially between 2003 and 2010. This update shows that the number of independently owned rural pharmacies has, with some minor fluctuations, continued to slowly decline. In addition, the number of rural retail pharmacies (including independent, chain, or franchise) that were the only pharmacy in the community has remained relatively stable since 2010.
  2. Update: Independently Owned Pharmacy Closures in Rural America, 2003-2013
    Pharmacists provide a range of health services and their loss can have serious implications for the provision of health care, especially in rural areas. Previous policy briefs from the RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis have documented the decline in the number of independently owned pharmacies in rural area, especially between 2003 and 2010. This update shows that the number of independently owned rural pharmacies has, with some minor fluctuations, continued to slowly decline. In addition, the number of rural retail pharmacies (including independent, chain, or franchise) that were the only pharmacy in the community has remained relatively stable since 2010.
    More recent rural research can be found on http://www.ruralhealthresearch.org/.

Webinars, Events, and Other Technical Assistance

  1. The Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment will be meeting August 25-26. CMS permits hospitals to participate by providing information on appropriate levels of supervision. Registration to attend this meeting in person will open June 30 and close August 1 although presentations and comments must be emailed to APCPanel@cms.hhs.gov by July 25. The Panel will make recommendations to CMS about the appropriate supervision level (General, Extended Duration, or Direct) for outpatient therapeutic procedures presented for consideration. At this meeting the panel will deliberate chemotherapy and complex drug delivery among other topics. For more information on the HOP Panel Summer Meeting, see the Federal Register Notice and the HOP Panel website.

Other Useful Information and Resources

  1.  MLNConnects would like to announce the release of three videos that have been created for PQRS, the Value Modifier, and HITECH Meaningful Use. They invite rural providers to view the following resources:
  2. As noted in a prior announcement, the comment period for the Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System 2015 payment update is open for public comment with comments being accepted through June 30th.  Several provisions of the rule have, or may have, a rural impact.  Specifically, the proposed rule:
    • Implements revised labor market areas based on OMB-updated metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) using 2010 Census data.
    • Modifies a policy adopted in last year’s IPPS final rule regarding the CAH 96-hour payment condition.
    • Requests comments on what would be a reasonable timeline for adopting Worksheet S-10 as the new data source for determining the amount of uncompensated care provided by hospitals for determining Medicare DSH payment.
    • Those interested in more information about the potential implications of the Worksheet S-10 for rural hospitals can refer to a recently released study from the University of North Carolina, Provision of Uncompensated Care by Rural Hospitals: A Preliminary Look at Medicare Cost Report Worksheet S-10.

     

  3. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the selection of 48 community-based organizations in 26 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for grants to promote economic growth, support rural business development and create jobs. “These grants will bring increased economic opportunities to rural residents and communities by strengthening the capacity of regional organizations to help small and emerging businesses,” Vilsack said. “They also will help organizations experienced in economic development create more job opportunities for rural residents across the country.” USDA is making the investments through the Rural Community Development Initiative Program (RCDI). It helps community-based development organizations, federally recognized Indian tribes and other groups promote economic growth in low-income, rural communities. Much of the RCDI funding is regional in nature and underscores USDA’s support of locally-based development strategies.
  4. Click here for the latest issue of MLN Connects, a weekly newsletter that gives provider news and updates that may affect how rural providers are impacted by CMS rollouts. Previous issues and a link to subscribe to MLN Connects are available in the archive
This entry was posted in Current Affairs, Funding, Health Care. Bookmark the permalink.