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Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

March 8, 2017

What’s New

National Committee Reports on Social Determinants of Health.  The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services delivered its most recent policy brief to the Secretary of HHS, reporting on the broad range of factors that affect health outcomes in rural areas.  The committee examined these factors – poverty, access to services, economic opportunity, rates of chronic disease, homelessness, domestic violence, life expectancy – and reports that there are distinct rural considerations that policymakers must keep in mind.  Members of the committee will discuss their report in a 60-minute webinar hosted by the Rural Health Information Hub next Tuesday, March 14.

CMS State Innovation Models.  The State Innovation Models (SIM) Initiative supports state governments with funding and technical assistance allowing them to design and test strategies that meet the goals of higher quality/lower cost health care delivery in a way that’s tailored to the needs of their state’s residents. Through two rounds of funding, the SIM Initiative has created federal-state partnerships with 34 states, three territories and the District of Columbia.  CMS has considered input from many rural stakeholders in shaping the initiative and earlier this year, announced the Pennsylvania Rural Health Model as one that potentially creates predictable funding to cover services for rural hospitals.

Rural Poverty and Well-being.  USDA’s Economic Research Service expands on its annual Rural America at a Glance with a more focused look at the economic, social and demographic factors that affect income and poverty of rural residents and their participation in Federal assistance programs.

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Wipfli Alerts & Updates: ObamaCare Replacement Bill Eliminates Taxes and Replaces Mandates With Incentives

March 7, 2017

View the updates.

FORHP, Rural Health Policy, and You – Feb 2017 update

March 7, 2017

FEDERAL OFFICE OF RURAL HEALTH POLICY (FORHP) UPDATES FEBRUARY 2017

Fact Sheet:  New Accountable Care Organization Model Opportunity: Medicare ACO Track 1+ Model

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released additional details on the Medicare Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Track 1+ model, which is one in a series of Innovation Center initiatives that will expand opportunities for clinicians to participate in Advanced APMs under MACRA. This ACO model incorporates more downside risk than is currently present in Track 1 of the Medicare Shared Savings Program and is designed to help small practices move toward performance-based risk and to allow small hospitals, including rural, to participate.

The Track 1+ ACO Model includes some aspects of the Track 2 and 3 models, such as prospective beneficiary assignment; the introduction of downside risk (although lower than Track 3); and the option to request a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) 3-Day Rule. ACOs would be able to share in savings up to a maximum 50 percent shared savings rate based on quality performance, and there is a fixed 30 percent loss-sharing rate. The maximum level of downside risk would vary based on the composition of ACOs, with lower levels of risk potentially available to qualifying physician-only ACOs and/or ACOs that include small rural hospitals.

Additional information about the application process is forthcoming, but organizations interested in applying should plan to submit the required Notice of Intent to Apply (NOIA) in May 2017.

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Rural Health Information Hub Webinar: Recording Now Available Online

March 6, 2017

Thank you for participating in the Rural Health Information Hub’s webinar, Rural Mortality and Preventable Deaths – Insights from the CDC MMWR Rural Health Series.

The video recording is now available on the RHIhub website and the transcript will be posted in the next couple of days.

We also ask that you please complete a short survey so that we may continue to enhance our webinars. The survey will take 3-5 minutes of your time, but the feedback that you provide is invaluable to us.

Once again, thank you for your participation.
Rural Health Information Hub

NRHA today

March 2, 2017

View the newsletter.

Rural Health Information Hub

March 2, 2017

View the Rural Health Information Hub updates.

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

March 2, 2017

What’s New

Healthy People 2020:  Progress Report.  The 10-year initiative for tracking and reporting on the nation’s health goals gets a report on progress made toward four overarching goals:  high-quality/longer life, elimination of health disparities, healthy social and physical environments, and healthy behaviors across all life stages.  Sleep habits and social determinants of health were among new areas of study added to the list of topics and objectives for this decade.  Data tables on page 16 of the midcourse overview show that populations in metropolitan areas meet 64% of health disparity objectives set by the HP2020 plan, while in rural areas that rate is 34%.  This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will focus on HP2020 health indicators for rural areas in a special series of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports.

Funding Opportunities

Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals – April 25.  Community organizations, local governments and Federally recognized  American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) tribes are among groups eligible to apply for funds to support coordination of behavioral health and housing services.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will make approximately 24 awards of up to $400,000 each for efforts that connect patients with substance abuse disorders with community systems that provide permanent housing and supportive services.

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