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Category Archives: Current Affairs

Rural Matters

October 28, 2014

View the Rural Matters: An Online Event and 3 New Features

2014 Missouri Rural Health Champion

You Vote, You Decide.

The nominations are in!  Here you will find the nominations for the Rural Health Champion of 2014.  You have one week to vote so please do so now!  Voting will be open until 5:00 pm, Friday, October 31, 2014.  

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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Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

October 10, 2014

Hot Off the Presses

1. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have a contract with the  National Quality Forum (NQF) to convene a multi-stakeholder committee to provide recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services regarding performance measurement issues for rural and low-volume providers, which include; critical access hospitals, rural health clinics, community health centers, and the clinicians who serve in these types of facilities. These providers often face unique issues, such as low payment volume and scarcity of resources, that make measurement difficult. The committee will consider how to mitigate these challenges in payment incentive programs for those providers; identify which measures are most appropriate for those programs; and recommend how future development resources are best directed to address particular measurement gaps areas.  The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) will serve as the lead for this project under CMS’s larger work with NQF.

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New from LHC: Rural Childhood Obesity Prevention Toolkit

October 9, 2014

Leadership for Healthy Communities, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, recently released an exciting new resource for policymakers and community leaders in rural America. The toolkit, Rural Childhood Obesity Prevention, provides a comprehensive menu of policy options to promote healthy eating and active living in rural towns, counties, tribal lands, and schools.

We believe these strategies can help improve the health of rural communities nationwide and hope you will use the toolkit and share it with your networks.

Click here to download the toolkit!

Share on Twitter using the hashtag, #RuralObesity:

  • New toolkit from @LHCommunities highlights strategies to reduce obesity in rural America: bit.ly/LHCRuralToolkit #RuralObesity
  • Living in rural America increases your risk for obesity. Learn more in @LHCommunities #RuralObesity toolkit: bit.ly/LHCRuralToolkit
  • Rural health problems are directly influenced by poverty. Learn more in @LHCommunities #RuralObesity toolkit: bit.ly/LHCRuralToolkit
  • 20% of rural counties are considered food deserts. Learn more in @LHCommunities #RuralObesity toolkit: bit.ly/LHCRuralToolkit

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

October 6, 2014

Hot Off the Presses

1. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have a contract with the  National Quality Forum (NQF) to convene a multi-stakeholder committee to provide recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services regarding performance measurement issues for rural and low-volume providers, which include; critical access hospitals, rural health clinics, community health centers, and the clinicians who serve in these types of facilities. These providers often face unique issues, such as low payment volume and scarcity of resources, that make measurement difficult. The committee will consider how to mitigate these challenges in payment incentive programs for those providers; identify which measures are most appropriate for those programs; and recommend how future development resources are best directed to address particular measurement gaps areas.  The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) will serve as the lead for this project under CMS’s larger work with NQF.
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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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