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Rural Health
News by Topic: Legislation and regulations

USDA Promises New SNAP Flexibilities to Promote Self-Sufficiency
Dec 5, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will offer states greater local control over the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in an effort to promote self-sufficiency, integrity, and customer service. Specifics on these new flexibilities will be communicated to state agencies in the coming weeks.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
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CMS: Medicare Program; Cancellation of Advancing Care Coordination Through Episode Payment and Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive Payment Models; Changes to Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Payment Model: Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Policy for the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Payment Model Federal Register
Dec 1, 2017 - Final rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) cancelling the Episode Payment Models (EPMs) and Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) Incentive Payment Model. The rule also finalizes revisions to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) Model, making participation in CJR voluntary for all low-volume and rural hospitals, regardless of geographic location. Additionally, the included interim final rule provides flexibility when determining episode costs for providers located in areas affected by extreme circumstances, such as hurricanes, in 2017. Comments regarding provisions of the interim final rule must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern on January 30, 2018. Additional information is available on the November 30, 2017, CMS fact sheet.
Source: Federal Register
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CMS Finalizes Changes to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model, Cancels Episode Payment Models and Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive Payment Model
Nov 30, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented changes to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) Model. CMS also finalized the cancellation of the mandatory hip fracture and cardiac bundled payment models that were to be operated by the CMS Innovation Center. A fact sheet is available.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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CMS: Medicare Program; Contract Year 2019 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage, Medicare Cost Plan, Medicare Fee-for-Service, the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Programs, and the PACE Program Federal Register
Nov 28, 2017 - Proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that would revise Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Prescription Drug Benefit (Part D) regulations to implement certain provisions contained in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century Cures Act. The proposed rule also clarifies the "any willing pharmacy" requirement, which may work to support independent community pharmacies often found in rural areas, and improve rural beneficiaries' access to specialty drugs. Comments regarding provisions of the rule must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern on January 16, 2018. Additional information is available on the November 16, 2017, CMS fact sheet.
Source: Federal Register
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Industry Voices—the FCC's Rural Health Care Fund Is a Victim of Its Own Success
Nov 27, 2017 - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a proposal to increase the $400 million annual cap on the Rural Health Care Fund. Among other things, this proposal would target funding to rural and tribal healthcare providers and prioritize the distribution of grants based on remoteness, type of service requested, whether the funding will come from the Telecom Program or the Healthcare Connect Fund, and the economic need of the provider's population.
Source: FierceHealthcare
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North Carolina Seeks to Widen Medicaid Network by Paying Docs' Debt
Nov 27, 2017 - North Carolina has amended their pending Medicaid waiver request which would shift the program from fee-for-service to managed care by 2019. The amendment would allow the state to offer loan repayment to physicians who accept Medicaid patients, a move expected to improve access for Medicaid beneficiaries by increasing the number of physicians they can see. It would also require Medicaid enrollees to be employed or actively searching for work and would impose premiums of 2% of a beneficiary's income for those with incomes at or above 51% of the federal poverty level. (May require registration for full article.)
Source: Modern Healthcare
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CMS Updates Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model for 2019
Nov 22, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced updates to the Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model for 2019 to expand into an additional fifteen states, allow Chronic Condition Special Needs Plans to participate, and allow participants to propose their own systems or methods for identifying eligible enrollees.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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CMS: Medicare Program; CY 2018 Inpatient Hospital Deductible and Hospital and Extended Care Services Coinsurance Amounts Federal Register
Nov 21, 2017 - Notice from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announcing the inpatient hospital deductible, and hospital and extended care services coinsurance amounts for services furnished under Medicare Part A during calendar year (CY) 2018. The updated deductible and coinsurance amounts take effect January 1, 2018.
Source: Federal Register
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CMS: Medicare Program; CY 2018 Part A Premiums for the Uninsured Aged and for Certain Disabled Individuals Who Have Exhausted Other Entitlement Federal Register
Nov 21, 2017 - Notice from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announcing the calendar year (CY) 2018 Medicare Hospital Insurance (Part A) premium for uninsured enrollees who are not otherwise eligible and for certain individuals who have exhausted other entitlement. Effective January 1, 2018, the CY 2018 monthly premium for the uninsured aged and certain disabled individuals is $422, and the reduced premium for certain eligible individuals is $232.
Source: Federal Register
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Trump Administration Moves to Alter Drug Discount Program That Many Rural Hospitals Rely On
Nov 21, 2017 - Details the 340B prescription drug program that allows hospitals serving low-income patients to buy medication at a discount and sell it to local pharmacies in order to bolster their bottom lines. In rural areas, this program has prevented hospital closures. A final rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2018 would reduce funding for hospitals in the program. Includes commentary from both those who support and those who oppose the rule.
Source: KBIA
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