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CMS Updates

January 13, 2015

Medicare Update: Open Payments – New Tutorial Available; Reminder: Jan. 15 Q&A; System Down Through Late Jan.
Program Overview Video Tutorial Now Available

The 2014 Open Payments Program Overview and Enhancements – Video Tutorial is now available on the Open Payments website on the Resources page.

This video provides an overview of the 2014 Open Payments program year, along with general guidance on navigating the Open Payments system. During this 20 minute video, viewers can reaquaint themselves with the reporting process and timeline, get an overview of system enhancements, and learn where to access resources and information.

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Great Plains Center Call for Grant Proposals

January 12, 2015

Funding up to $20,000 is available for two types of projects:

Community Outreach/Education Grants
The goal of the Community Outreach and Education Grant Program is to enhance capacity to deliver evidence-based agricultural health programs. Community projects are typically submitted by staff employed by non-profit community entities delivering agricultural safety and health programs. Community projects will be judged for feasibility and potential impact.

Academic/Scholarly Research Grants
The goal of the scholarly research grant program is to create new agricultural safety and health knowledge and to assess and promote best safety and health practices. Scholarly research projects are typically submitted by students, staff, and faculty of academic institutions. Basic and applied research projects will be judged for scientific merit.

Application deadline is April 1, 2015
More information at

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

January 9, 2015

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

The Affordable Care Act (ACA)

1. NOTE UPDATED INFORMATIONThe automatic HPSA designation attestation form lists an incorrect fax number for submission.  The correct number is provided below.  In addition, HRSA requests that RHCs submitting the attestation form also fax a copy of their sliding fee schedule to expedite processing.

For the 2016 Marketplace insurance plan year, CMS has released a draft list of Essential Community Providers (ECPs).  For the first time, the list includes many Rural Health Clinics (RHCs). ECPs are providers who care for predominantly low-income, medically underserved individuals.  Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers (called Qualified Health Plan issuers) must include a minimum number of ECPs within their provider networks for plans sold on the insurance Marketplaces.  Insurers can use the list to select ECPs to include in their provider networks.  The draft list of ECPs and a description of the list are available here.  Scroll down to the section titled “Other QHP Application Resources.”

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Missouri Information for Community Assessment Training

January 9, 2015

Health Data Training Opportunity at MOTEC
February 18-19, 2015

The Bureau of Health Care Analysis and Data Dissemination at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is offering two health data courses.  Twenty seats are available in each session.  These courses are designed for administrators, program managers, health educators, program planners, or other staff who need to understand and present data for community health assessment and grant writing or to inform policy or decision making related to priority health issues.  Course 2 material builds upon Course 1, so attendance on both days is required.

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Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) designation

January 9, 2015

Rural Health Clinics:
The Primary Care Office which submits applications for Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) designation, has requested that the State Office of Rural Health share the link below to encourage all Rural Health Clinics to apply for an Automatic HPSA designation, if they have not already.  While RHCs can use their county HPSA designation for state and federal programs, if the county designation is lost the RHC is without a HPSA designation.  The request for an Automatic HPSA designation is submitted directly to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) by completing the form provided on the website included below.

Please feel free to contact Lisa Eastman ( or Joyce Alexander ( by e-mail or by phone at 800/891-7415 with further questions.

CMS MLN Connects™ Weekly Provider eNews

January 8, 2015

MS MLN Connects™ Weekly Provider eNews – Deadline Extended to January 21 to Volunteer for ICD-10 End-to-End Testing in April.

Read the eNews

View the edition as a pdf


January 6, 2015

Dear USDA Friends and Partners:

Office of Advocacy & Outreach (OAO) recently released its USDA 1890 National Scholars Program. The National Scholars Program is a major effort of the USDA and nineteen 1890 Historically Black Land-Grant Institutions (HBCUs) to award scholarships to students to attend one of the nineteen 1890 Institutions in any field of study in agriculture, food, natural resource sciences or other related disciplines.

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