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Rural Health
News by Topic: Technology for health and human services

CMS Proposes Historic Changes to Modernize Medicare and Restore the Doctor-Patient Relationship
Jul 12, 2018 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released proposed rule changes to the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) and the Quality Payment Program (QPP) in an effort to increase the amount of time that doctors and other clinicians can spend with their patients by reducing the burden of paperwork and use electronic health records (EHRs) to document clinically meaningful information in addition to information related to billing. These proposals would also modernize Medicare payment policies to promote access to virtual care and make changes to quality reporting requirements to focus on measures that most significantly impact health outcomes, among other things.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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Bridging the Rural Technology Divide
Jul 9, 2018 - Opinion piece by Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and Greg Walden, a Republican congressman for Oregon's second district discussing rural, high-speed broadband access in Oregon and around the county. Includes actions undertaken by the FCC and the Energy and Commerce Committee to address the digital divide.
Source: East Oregonian
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FCC: Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment Federal Register
Jul 9, 2018 - Notice of final rule from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), effective August 8, 2018, publishing a Second Report and Order to outline several steps taken to accelerate the deployment of next-generation networks and services by removing barriers to infrastructure investment. See item 42 for the FCC's response to commenters related to the discontinuation requirements for carriers seeking to transition from legacy voice services to next-general replacement services and its effect on rural consumers.
Source: Federal Register
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Connections to Care: Combating Rural Homelessness — with Cell Phones
Jul 8, 2018 - Details the ways science-based cell phone apps are being used to connect homeless populations with services, including case management and transportation. Touches on Oklahoma to discuss how this could potentially be useful in rural areas where people may be more dispersed or where homelessness may present less typically.
Source: The Daily Ardmoreite
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CMS Aiding Small, Rural Practices Can Improve MIPS Participation
Jul 6, 2018 - Details a recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) which found that small and rural practices are more likely to struggle with Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) participation, because of challenges related to legacy program requirements, a lack of financial and staff resources, and technology issues.
Source: EHR Intelligence
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Penn State Researchers Seek to ID Gaps in Broadband Access
Jul 6, 2018 - Details a new state-funded study by Penn State researchers on rural broadband access in Pennsylvania. Federal estimates of access to internet of specific speeds are based on what is reported by the companies providing the services, but anecdotal evidence on the ground suggests those estimates may not be accurate. This study seeks to provide a more accurate data set to inform policy decisions.
Source: New Castle News
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Commissioner Carr Highlights FCC Focus on Telemedicine at UVA Health System
Jul 5, 2018 - At a visit to the University of Virginia Health System, the Federal Communications Commissioner (FCC) focused on telehealth and how high-speed broadband networks increase access to and lower the cost of healthcare, especially in rural and low-income areas.
Source: Federal Communications Commission
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CMS Takes Action to Modernize Medicare Home Health
Jul 2, 2018 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed significant changes to the Home Health Prospective Payment System. These changes aim to improve outcomes with remote patient monitoring technology and updates to the payment model for home health care. These updates include, among other things, allowing the cost of remote patient monitoring to be reported by home health agencies as allowable costs and implementing a new Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) for home health payments, with units of payment based not on the number of therapy visits but on 30-day periods of care.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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FCC: Connect America Fund Federal Register
Jul 2, 2018 - Notice from the Federal Communications Commission correcting errors in a May 1, 2018 rule that increased the amount of operating costs that carriers that predominately serve tribal lands can recover from the Universal Service Fund. This rule is effect July 2, 2018.
Source: Federal Register
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CMS Launches Data Element Library Supporting Interoperability
Jun 21, 2018 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new database that supports the exchange of electronic health information. Using the Data Element Library, the public can view the specific types of data that CMS requires post-acute facilities to collect as part of the health assessment of their patients. It also includes health information technology standards that support the collection of health information, with the ultimate goal of making it easier to share electronic health information between providers.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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