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Category Archives: Current Affairs

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

June 27, 2016

What’s New

Comments Due on Quality Payment Program Proposed Rule – June 27. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will accept comment at FederalRegister.gov until 11:59 pm ET on Monday, June 27. The proposal first issued on April 27 would change the way clinicians are paid under Medicare, aiming to lower costs while raising the quality of health care delivery.  Change in payments is the first step toward implementing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), consolidating three existing payment programs under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS):  the Physician Quality Reporting System, the Physician Value-based Payment Modifier and the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program.

Considerations are being made for low-volume providers.  Currently, Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers would be excluded from MIPS reporting because they are paid differently under Medicare.  CMS has asked for comment on whether these safety net providers should have the option to voluntarily report on measures with no penalty in order to remain in alignment with broader efforts under Delivery System Reform.  For the final rule, they will need to better understand the challenges that are unique to rural areas and how these changes would affect your practice.

This week, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced $100 million over the next five years to help individual and small practices in rural areas succeed in the Quality Payment Program. In order to receive funding, organizations must demonstrate their ability to strategically provide customized training to clinicians, helping them evaluate options for joining an Alternative Payment Model and quality measures appropriate for their practices’ needs.  Most importantly, organizations that receive this funding will provide education and consultation at no cost to the clinician or their practice.  Visit FedBizOpps.gov for more information on how to apply as a contractor, and attend a pre-proposal conference at 1:00 p.m. EST on June 30, 2016. Register early to receive an email confirmation with instructions for joining the session.

Until that technical assistance becomes available, you can refer to  online resources about the Quality Payment Program and sign up for email updates on the CMS website.

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‘HPSA Designation Process’ Webinar Now Available

June 27, 2016

The Office of Primary Care and Rural Health has uploaded a new ‘HPSA Designation Process’ webinar to their website at:  http://health.mo.gov/living/families/ruralhealth/webinars.php  for you to use as a reference.

If you have further questions regarding HPSA Designations, please contact the Lisa Eastman in the Primary Care Office at (573) 751-6219, or by email to: Lisa.Eastman@health.mo.gov.

6th Annual Substance Abuse Prevention Conference

June 23, 2016

View the June 28th conference information.

Opportunity to Test New CMS Portal for the Quality Payment Program

June 23, 2016

CMS is looking for rural clinicians to help test a new portal/website for the Quality Payment Program that will be used, in part, to help clinicians determine if they qualify for the program.  If you or your colleagues are interested in providing feedback on this new portal/website, please contact Corey Henderson  at Corey.Henderson@cms.hhs.gov.  At this time, there is no set timeframe for when the portal will be rolled out to the public.  Also, attached is a new Quality Payment Program newsletter that CMS launched this week.  You can subscribe to this newsletter at https://public-dc2.govdelivery.com/accounts/USCMS/subscriber/new?topic_id=USCMS_12196.

Models: charity dental clinic, outpatient addiction treatment, and collaboration on quality-of-life; more

June 22, 2016

Rural Health Information Hub

View the 6.22.16 updates.

Research Alert: Free Webinar August 9! Geographic Variation in Health Insurance Marketplaces: Rural and Urban Trends in Enrollment, Firm Participation, Premiums, and Cost Sharing in 2016

June 22, 2016

Rural Health Research & Policy Centers

View the Research Alert.

Hospice Quality Reporting: Annual Payment Update

June 21, 2016

Open Door Forum

CMS is mailing notifications to hospices that are not in compliance with Hospice Quality Reporting requirements; all notifications will be mailed by June 29. For CY 2015 (FY 2017) and after, CMS considers both Hospice Item Set (HIS) and Hospice CAHPS® survey data from January 1 through December 31 to determine the Annual Payment Update (APU) compliance threshold. If you receive a notice of non-compliance, you have the opportunity to submit a request for reconsideration on quality data submissions affecting your FY 2017 APU. See the instructions in your notification letter and on the Reconsideration Requests webpage.