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Rural Healthcare Quality – News

News stories from the past 60 days.

Aug 22, 2019 - The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) seeks public input regarding how to measure access to rural healthcare. Questions for public comment cover core rural health services, ratios of healthcare providers, methods of measuring care access and care quality, and other factors to consider. Comments are due October 9, 2019.
Source: Health Resources and Services Administration
Aug 20, 2019 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced nearly $107 million in quality improvement awards to rural and urban health centers across the nation today. Health centers will use the funding to improve the quality, value, and efficiency of the care they provide.
Source: Health Resources and Services Administration
Aug 19, 2019 - In 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will update its methodology for the Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings on its Hospital Compare website. The updated methodology incorporates comments from stakeholders and the public and is intended to inform hospital improvement efforts and consumer decisions.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Aug 16, 2019 - Notice of final rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to revise the Medicare hospital inpatient prospective payment systems (IPPS) for capital and operating costs of acute care hospitals, make changes to Medicare graduate medical education (GME) for teaching hospitals and payments to Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs). Also provides the market basket updated that applies to the rate-of-increase limits for certain hospitals excluded from the IPPS that are paid on a reasonable cost basis and updates payment policies and rates for the Medicare prospective payment system (PPS) for inpatient hospital services provided by long-term care hospitals for FY 2020, among other things. This rule is effective on October 1, 2019.
Source: Federal Register
Aug 16, 2019 - The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced a new funding opportunity for The Rural Health Network Development Program, which will support up to 46 applicants representing a network of at least 3 rural entities. Previous networks funded under this program have addressed chronic disease management, care coordination, telehealth, behavioral health, and other issues impacting rural communities.
Source: Health Resources and Services Administration
Aug 14, 2019 - Notice from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of a proposed rule. Rural specific provisions include: proposing to allow opioid treatment programs (OTPs) to use Medicare telehealth for substance abuse counseling; requesting information on rural access to opioid use disorder treatment; updates to several payment codes for Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers; proposed revisions to physician supervision of physician assistants to better align with state laws; a proposed Medicare ground ambulance data collection system that would include information on types of services provided in rural areas; proposed revisions to certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) to align pre-surgery evaluation and pre-discharge standards; request for feedback on small and rural practices participating in MVPs; a proposed update to the MIPS rural area definition correcting the file name; and requesting comments on Promoting Interoperability performance measures related to OUD prevention and treatment that would be applicable to clinicians in rural areas. Comments are due September 27, 2019.
Source: Federal Register
Aug 2, 2019 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services finalized policy changes to help deliver improved care and outcomes to patients at a better value. The final rule updates Medicare payment policies for hospitals and addresses wage index disparities by increasing the wage index for facilities, including rural hospitals, and ensures that rural Americans will have access to care.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Jul 22, 2019 - Request for comments from the Office of Personnel Management on the administration of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey for the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program. The survey is intended to evaluate consumers' experience with their healthcare, including access to healthcare services. Comments are due September 20, 2019.
Source: Federal Register
Jul 17, 2019 - The National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality will hold an open meeting on July 24, 2019. Agenda items include an update on AHRQ's budget, programs, and initiatives, as well as a discussion of AHRQ's strategic goals related to caring for people with multiple chronic conditions, data and analytics, and diagnostic error.
Source: Federal Register
Jul 11, 2019 - The Health Resources and Services Administration presented 2019 Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project Awards to 10 states having the highest reporting rates and levels of improvement in Critical Access Hospitals in the past year.
Source: Heath Resources and Services Administration
Jul 11, 2019 - The 2017 Quality Payment Program performance information is now available, allowing patients to find and compare Medicare clinicians in order to make informed decisions about their healthcare. The number of Qualified Advanced Alternative Payment (APM) Models in Advanced APMs nearly doubled from 2017 to 2018. Nearly 85% of small practices surpassed the scoring threshold for a positive payment adjustment, up from nearly 74% in 2017.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Jul 9, 2019 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced the formation of a Quality Summit, which will bring together industry stakeholders and government leaders to discuss how current programs can be adapted to deliver a value-based care model to improve outcomes for patients and access to care. The goal, as described in the Quality Summit fact sheet, will be to improve reporting on data and quality measures, in keeping with President Trump's Executive Order on price and quality transparency in healthcare. Nominations for participation in the Summit will be accepted via email to DeputySecretary@hhs.gov until July 21, 2019.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Jun 27, 2019 - Notice from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) of the availability of Common Formats for Surveillance—Hospital Version 0.3 Beta for review and comment. The common formats are intended to standardize the collection of patient safety information so that it is comparable across local, regional, and national levels. AHRQ previously released common formats for acute care hospitals, nursing homes, and community pharmacies. There is no deadline for comments; AHRQ seeks ongoing public input.
Source: Federal Register
Jun 27, 2019 - Executive order from the President directing the development of healthcare price and quality transparency initiatives. The order also directs the secretaries of several agencies to propose regulations requiring hospitals to publicly post charges; health insurance providers and others to facilitate access to information on out-of-pocket costs; development of a roadmap to align data and quality measures across government health insurance programs; and more.
Source: Federal Register
Jun 26, 2019 - The National Quality Forum 2018 Annual Activities Report to Congress and the Secretary, and the Secretary's comments on the report, are published by the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) in the Federal Register in accordance with the Social Security Act. The report includes summaries of the National Quality Forum's work on developing rural quality measures and addressing rural measurement challenges.
Source: Federal Register

Last Updated: 8/22/2019