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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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Conference Opportunity — Missouri Location!

January 5, 2015

2015 Annual Critical Access Hospital and Rural Health Clinic Conferences with a conference location in Branson, Missouri.

See Conference Brochure, Registration Form, Conference Speaker Bios, & more….

Help Promote the Coalition Conference

December 31, 2014

Registration is now open for the 2015 Oral Health Policy Conference!

Visit the Coalition website to learn about the conference and register:
Register online now. <>

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Rural Health Information

December 31, 2014

It was learned that some CAHs billing Method II are not aware of the Feb. 28, 2015 deadline for PQRS reporting.  Here’s a link to a presentation:   and here’s the main PQRS page: .

Secondly, HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce began rolling out the Shortage Designation Management System in 2014, a new online system for shortage designation applications.  The Health Professional Shortage Area and Medically Underserved Area/Population designations determine access to additional reimbursement, participation in targeted programs and a threshold for grant applications.  Join Bureau of Health Workforce officials for this important webinar at 2 p.m. CDT Jan. 7 to learn about the data sources used and how the new application system works.  FYI, it is my understanding that this is a tool the State Bureaus of Primary Care will be using to submit shortage area designation applications to HRSA.

I hope this information is beneficial and that you’re having a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year!

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

December 31, 2014

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Rural Research Highlights

1. Rural-Urban Differences in Continuity of Care among Medicare Beneficiaries

In response to the Affordable Care Act and other reforms in the health care market, new models of care are being tested and implemented across the country. Care and payment models such as patient-centered medical homes, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), and bundled payments depend on linkages between different types of health care providers to ensure continuity of care. To address concerns that health care in rural areas may be more fractured and thus a difficult place for these models to succeed, this brief from the  North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center measures continuity of care using detailed data on a sample of Medicare beneficiaries from 2000-2009.

More rural research can be found on

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Rural Health Works December 2014 Newsletter

December 23, 2014

View the December 2014 Newsletter from the National Center for Rural Health Works.

CMS Update

December 23, 2014
  • CMS Updates Open Payments Data
  • Open Payments System Unavailable in January
  • Mark Your Calendars: Attend Open Payments Question & Answer Session on January 15
  • Questions—Contact Live Help Desk

CMS Updates Open Payments Data

Today, CMS has added approximately 68,000 payment records—valued at more than $200 million—to the Open Payments dataset. With this new data, Open Payments now reports information on $3.7 billion in payments and transfers of value made to up to 546,000 individual physicians and up to 1,360 teaching hospitals in the last five months of the 2013 calendar year.

Every year, CMS will update the Open Payments data at least once after its initial publication. The refreshed data will include updates to data disputes and other data corrections made since the initial publication of this data documenting payments or transfers of value to physicians and teaching hospitals, and physician ownership and investment interests. This financial data was submitted by applicable manufacturers and applicable group purchasing organizations (GPOs).

The approximately 68,000 records added today to the Open Payments dataset were not published in the initial release on September 30 for one of the following reasons:

  1. The record was still under dispute at the end of the physician and teaching hospital review period (September 11, 2014); or,
  2. Records attested to on the last day of the data submission period for the 2013 program year (July 7, 2014) were inadvertently excluded from publication (however, they were still included in the full 45-day review and dispute process).

CMS will publish the full calendar year of 2014 financial data by June 30, 2015. In addition, CMS plans to include and publish the missing identification of the de-identified data from 2013 by this date (June 30, 2015).

Note: Due to the ongoing actions taken by applicable manufacturers and applicable GPOs, such as deletions, additions, and corrections within the Open Payments system, the data shared here are subject to change. Information shared is reflective of Open Payments data as of December 19, 2014.

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