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Rural Health
News by Topic: Legislation and regulations

RUS: Policy on Audits of RUS Borrowers and Grantees Federal Register
May 24, 2018 - Correction to a link in the final rule from the USDA's Rural Utilities Service to amended regulations for its Policy on Audits to incorporate 2011 revisions to the Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS) adopted by the USDA on December 26, 2014. This rule also expands regulations to include grant recipients, amend its peer review requirements, reporting requirements, and other audit requirements. The rule will become effective on July 6, 2018 and is applicable for financial audits for period ending on or after December 15, 2018.
Source: Federal Register
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Senate Passes Udall, Tester, Hoeven, Isakson Bill to Combat Native American Veteran Homelessness
May 24, 2018 - Announces the senate passage of the Tribal HUD-VASH Act, which authorizes a joint tribal veterans housing initiative between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program, which provides rental and housing assistance to veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. This initiative allows tribes and tribal housing authorities to access veterans housing funds for Native American veterans.
Source: United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
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Senators Target Medicaid in Telehealth Bills Tackling Opioid Abuse
May 23, 2018 - Details four bills introduced in the U.S. Senate this week that aim to use telehealth to address the opioid epidemic and to reach more people on Medicaid and in rural areas. All of these bills have bi-partisan co-sponsors.
Source: mHealthIntelligence
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FCC: Connect America Fund; Universal Service Reform-Mobility Fund Federal Register
May 22, 2018 - Notice of ruling from the Federal Communications Commission regarding the reconsideration of certain aspects of the Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) challenge process procedures and modification of certain parameters for speed test measurements needed to file a successful challenge to an area that was previously deemed ineligible for MF-II support.
Source: Federal Register
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CMS Sends Clear Message to Plans: Stop Hiding Information from Patients
May 17, 2018 - Press release from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) detailing letters sent to companies that provide Medicare prescription coverage in Part D explaining that "gag clauses," or provisions in contracts between insurance plans and pharmacies which prevent pharmacists from telling patients when a prescription drug would be cheaper to pay for out of pocket than through insurance, are unacceptable. This is part of an effort to lower prescription drug costs.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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E&C Advances 57 Total Bills to Combat the Opioid Crisis, Clearing Path to House Floor
May 17, 2018 - The U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee advanced a total of 57 bills related to combating the opioid epidemic to the House floor for consideration. 32 of those bills were advanced this week, and 25 were advanced last week.
Source: The U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee
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Gov. Doug Ducey Signs Bill Allowing 'Dental Therapists' to Practice in Arizona
May 17, 2018 - Details a new Arizona law allowing dental therapists to work in certain circumstances, either under a collaborative agreement or the direct supervision of a dentist. Supporters believe that this will improve access to dental care in rural and tribal areas. Opponents argued that everyone deserves the same high level of care and that efforts should be made to encourage dentists to practice in rural and tribal areas.
Source: azcentral
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Health Center Program Statutory Changes: Frequently Asked Questions
May 15, 2018 - The Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA) Health Center Program has released frequently asked questions on statutory changes, including when further guidance will be issued and links to compliance resources, among other things.
Source: Health Resources and Services Administration, Health Center Program
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CMS: Medicare Program; Durable Medical Equipment Fee Schedule Adjustments To Resume the Transitional 50/50 Blended Rates To Provide Relief in Rural Areas and Non-Contiguous Areas Federal Register
May 11, 2018 - Notice of an interim final rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to increase fee schedule rates for certain durable medical equipment. Amends the regulation to resume a blended fee schedule rate for items furnished in rural areas and non-contiguous areas (Alaska, Hawaii, and United States territories) not subject to the Competitive Bidding Program from June 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018. Comments on the interim final rule are due by July 9, 2018.
Source: Federal Register
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