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Rural Health
News by Topic: Legislation and regulations

HHS Approves New Healthy Indiana Medicaid Demonstration
Feb 2, 2018 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Indiana's Section 1115 waiver, the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP). The waiver has been expanded to include a work or community engagement requirement for able-bodied, working age Medicaid enrollees, as well as new funding authority to expand treatment options for substance abuse.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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CMS Proposes Medicare Advantage and Part D Payment and Policy Updates to Provide New Benefits for Enrollees, New Protections to Combat Opioid Crisis
Feb 1, 2018 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed changes to Medicare Advantage and Part D health and drug programs. These changes would redefine health-related supplemental benefits to include covering of non-skilled in-home supports, portable wheelchair ramps, and other assistive devices and modifications, and would ensure patient-doctor-plan communication regarding opioid use to give health plans additional tools to manage chronic overuse.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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CMS: Medicare, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Programs: Announcement of the Extension of Temporary Moratoria on Enrollment of Part B Non-Emergency Ground Ambulance Suppliers and Home Health Agencies in Designated Geographic Locations Federal Register
Jan 30, 2018 - In order to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended the statewide moratoria on the enrollment of new Medicare Part B non-emergency ground ambulance providers and suppliers of Medicare home health agencies, subunits, and branch locations in Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The extension takes effect January 29, 2018, and also applies to the Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in those states.
Source: Federal Register
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Indiana Healthy Indiana Plan Extended for One Month
Jan 29, 2018 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved an extension to Indiana's Healthy Indiana Plan through the end of February while CMS and the state work through final details. When the waiver is approved, Indiana will expand drug treatment options, among other things.
Source: Office of Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb
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CMS: Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Quarterly Listing of Program Issuances - October Through December 2017 Federal Register
Jan 26, 2018 - Quarterly listing of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) manual instructions, substantive and interpretive regulations, and Federal Register notices published from October through December, 2017. Also includes contact information for general questions or additional information about a specific section.
Source: Federal Register
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DEA Announces Step to Increase Opioid Addiction Treatment
Jan 24, 2018 - The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published a final rule that will allow more midlevel practitioners to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid addiction. This is in an effort to make it easier for people living in rural and underserved areas to access medication-assisted treatment.
Source: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
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DEA: Implementation of the Provision of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 Relating to the Dispensing of Narcotic Drugs for Opioid Use Disorder Federal Register
Jan 23, 2018 - Final rule from Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) expanding the categories of practitioners who may, under certain conditions on a temporary basis, dispense a narcotic drug for the purpose of treating opioid use disorders. In an effort to make treatment more accessible for rural patients, "qualifying practitioner" now includes physician assistants and nurse practitioners. The rule brings the DEA's regulations into agreement with provisions of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which was signed into law in 2016.
Source: Federal Register
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CMS Announces Additional Special Enrollment Periods to Help Individuals Impacted by Hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
Jan 17, 2018 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new special enrollment periods for Medicare health and drug plans and health insurance coverage through the Federal Health Insurance Exchange for individuals affected by the hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These enrollment periods will be open through March 31, 2018.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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Report: Hospitals Not Always Best Fit for Rural Communities
Jan 17, 2018 - Discusses a recent study which found that Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) may not be the best format to provide care in rural communities because of low patient volume and high fixed costs. Other models for how this care could be provided can be controversial because of the economic role CAHs play in rural communities. Also touches on alternate models which have been or will be presented to Congress for consideration. (May require registration for full article.)
Source: Modern Healthcare
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HHS: Regulatory Agenda Federal Register
Jan 12, 2018 - Semiannual regulatory agenda from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) outlining the rulemaking activities HHS expects to undertake in the foreseeable future. Includes abstracts for prospective HHS rules that are expected to have major economic impacts on a substantial number of small entities.
Source: Federal Register
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