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Category Archives: Current Affairs

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

August 3, 2015

WHAT’S NEW

1. On July 30, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced pre-publication of the Final Rule for 2016 Prospective Payment for Skilled Nursing Facilities. This annual update to the rule increases payments by 1.2% in FY 2016, though both hospital-based and freestanding rural facilities are projected to receive slightly less than their urban counterparts (0.6% vs. 1.4%, respectively). New this year, CMS has implemented requirements for data submission, including staffing information and a Quality Reporting Program (QRP), in which failure to report leads to a reduction of annual payment increases. Also new, CMS has outlined policies and one quality measure for a Skilled Nursing Facility Value-Based Purchasing (SNF VBP) program. Under the SNF VBP, 2% of payments would be redirected to pay higher-performing facilities beginning in 2019; more details are forthcoming in future rulemaking. Official publication is scheduled for August 4.

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Rural Assistance Center Health & Human Services Update

July 30, 2015

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.

Rural Health Research

July 30, 2015

Research Alert: July 22, 2015
Rural Medicare Advantage Enrollment Update, March 2015

Rural Medicare Advantage (MA) and other prepaid plan enrollment in March 2015 was nearly 2.08 million, or 21.2 percent of all rural Medicare beneficiaries. This one year increase of 6.8 percent in rural MA enrollment is lower than the increase in national MA enrollment (16.7 million enrollees, up 8.6 percent from March 2014).

Contact Information:
Keith J. Mueller, PhD
RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis
Phone: 319.384.3832
keith-mueller@uiowa.edu

Additional Resources of Interest:

Rural Health Research & Policy Centers

July 28, 2015

View the information here.

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

July 27, 2015

RURAL HEALTH RESEARCH

1. A new policy brief from the RUPRI Center for Health Policy Analysis finds that rural enrollment in Medicare Advantage (MA) Plans increased by 6.8 percent between March 2014 and March 2015, more than 21 percent of all rural residents eligible for Medicare.  In addition, enrollment in private fee-for-service (PFFS) plans continued to decline, both nationally (16 percent) and in rural counties (12 percent).  Only eight states showed an increase in PFFS plan enrollment.  Five states experienced decreases of 50 percent or more.  Continued research into rural enrollment in MA and other prepaid plans is important as the effects of the Affordable Care Act and the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 become more clear.

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Lactation Support Mini-Grant for Businesses

July 21, 2015

The Missouri Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite Program is a state-wide initiative to increase employer support for breastfeeding mothers.  The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is offering up to $500 to a limited number of Missouri employers to create or improve their lactation support policies and programs.

For example, funds may be used on:

  • Locks on doors
  • Privacy screens/partitions
  • Comfortable chair
  • Signs
  • Table or other flat surface to hold a breast pump

To be eligible to receive a mini-grant, the employer must submit their breastfeeding support policy which must be in compliance with the breastfeeding support requirements from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  To apply, complete the attached application and submit by October 1, 2015 to kathleen.gregory@health.mo.gov.  Please contact 573-522-2820 with any questions.

Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference on Oct 9

July 21, 2015

Conference Purpose:   Make quality continuing education available to behavioral health professionals about the particular practice issues involved in working with rural people and communities.  For a short summary of the conference, Click on this short video.

Rural practitioners continually adapt their work to the needs of rural people and communities, as well as to new practice models and research.  This conference will help you work with rural care’s ethical demands, rural disasters, rural indigenous people, and rural schools.  This program is designed for psychologists and other behavioral health professionals and is at the intermediate to advanced levels.

Date:  October 9, 2015 – Friday, see conference website for times in each time zone.

Locations:  Attend by individual webcast or at group webcast sites.  Origination at the University of Minnesota-Morris.

To register, get more information, or to sponsor/exhibit, click http://www.mnpsych.org/3786-2   Cost:  $110; $90 partner members; $20 FT students

Continuing Education Hours:  7.5 CEs from the Minnesota Psychological Association, an APA-approved CE sponsor*

Presentations:

  • Jeffrey Leichter & Jonathan Aligada, Keynote:  Navigating ethical challenges in rural integrated primary care settings: A primer for behavioral health therapists
  • Randal Quevillon, Disaster Mental Health in Rural Communities: Suggestions for Planning and Response
  • LaVerne Demientieff & Sam Demientieff, Historical Trauma, Historical Strengths: An Indigenous Perspective of Navigating Wellness Today
  • JP Jameson & Kurt Michael, Mental Health Practice in Rural Schools: The Assessment, Support, and Counseling (ASC) Center Model
  • Posters on cutting edge research in rural behavioral health

Please forward this conference information to your members, staff, faculty, and students and place it in any electronic newsletters and on email lists that you have available.  Attached is a flyer you can also use.  We would very much appreciate your assistance in letting professionals know about this opportunity to learn about advances in rural behavior health practice.  If you have questions about the conference, please contact Conference Coordinator Kay Slama, Ph.D., at slama@morris.umn.edu or 320-905-6051.