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Rural Hospitals News

News stories from the past 60 days.

CMS: Medicare Programs: Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems and Quality Reporting Programs Federal Register
Dec 14, 2017 - Corrected republication of a final rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) revising the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and the Medicare Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System for calendar year 2018. Included in the rule is a provision that reduces Medicare Part B payments to Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSHs) and Rural Referral Centers (RRCs) for drugs acquired through the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Effective January 1, 2018, payments to affected facilities will be reduced from average sales price (ASP) plus 6 percent, to ASP minus 22.5 percent. Among others, Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and rural Sole Community Hospitals (SCHs) are excluded from this payment adjustment. Comments regarding provisions of the rule must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern on December 31, 2017.
Source: Federal Register
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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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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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CMS: Medicare Program: Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems and Quality Reporting Programs Federal Register
Nov 13, 2017 - Final rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) revising the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and the Medicare Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System for calendar year 2018. Included in the rule is a provision that reduces Medicare Part B payments to Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSHs) and Rural Referral Centers (RRCs) for drugs acquired through the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Effective January 1, 2018, payments to affected facilities will be reduced from average sales price (ASP) plus 6 percent, to ASP minus 22.5 percent. Among others, Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and rural Sole Community Hospitals (SCHs) are excluded from this payment adjustment. Comments regarding provisions of the rule must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern on December 31, 2017.
Source: Federal Register
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The Joint Commission Reports Increased Electronic Clinical Quality Measure (eCQM) Adoption and Reporting from U.S. Hospitals
Nov 7, 2017 - The Joint Commission's annual report, America's Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety found that an increased number of hospitals are adopting and reporting electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs). Reporting this data is linked with quality improvement and is voluntary.
Source: The Joint Commission
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CMS: Medicaid Program; Final FY 2015 and Preliminary FY 2017 Disproportionate Share Hospital Allotments, and Final FY 2015 and Preliminary FY 2017 Institutions for Mental Diseases Disproportionate Share Hospital Limits Federal Register
Nov 3, 2017 - Announces the final federal share Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) allotments for fiscal year (FY) 2015 and the preliminary federal share DSH allotments for FY 2017. This notice also describes the methodology used to determine amounts of states' FY DSH allotments.
Source: Federal Register
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Apply for 2018 AHA NOVA Award
Nov 2, 2017 - Blog post from the American Hospital Association (AHA) detailing their NOVA Award, which recognizes innovative collaborations hospitals engage in to better serve their patients. Applications for 2018 AHA NOVA Awards are due December 1, 2017.
Source: AHA STAT
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CMS Finalizes Policies that Lower Out-of-Pocket Drug Costs and Increase Access to High-Quality Care
Nov 1, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced two Medicare payment rules. The Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System and Quality Reporting Programs Changes for 2018 rule is using the 340B Program to reduce the cost of Medicare Part B drugs for hospitals in order to pass those savings on to beneficiaries. It also places a two-year moratorium on the direct physician supervision requirements for rural hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals. The Home Health Prospective Payment System rule will move towards a more patient-centered model.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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Partnerships Between Rural Hospitals and Academic Surgery Departments Can Reduce Costs and Patient Transfers
Oct 25, 2017 - A research team from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center has developed a new methodology to reduce rural area surgical costs, improve quality of care, and increase revenue for rural hospitals and academic surgical programs. By establishing partnerships between rural hospitals and academic surgery departments, each entity can benefit from the other's resources. The study, which was presented at the 2017 American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress, focuses on improving patient satisfaction through reduced costs, fewer transfers, and quality local service.
Source: American College of Surgeons
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Rural Hospital Closures Hit Poor, Minority Communities Hardest
Oct 25, 2017 - Details the results of a study from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program (NC RHRP) tracking "financial distress indicators" for rural hospitals, focusing in large part on a map displaying the distribution of the 122 rural hospital closures since 2005. 60% of rural hospital closures have been in the South, and these hospitals tend to serve minorities and lower-income areas.
Source: The Daily Yonder
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Hospital Closings Likely to Increase
Oct 19, 2017 - Discusses recent hospital closures and indications that they are likely to continue because these hospitals continue to have insufficient patient populations, high rates of uninsured patients, dwindling cash flow, and physician shortages. It is estimated that 9% of rural hospitals are at high risk for financial trouble, and these hospitals often serve vulnerable populations with significant health disparities. Also touches on programs designed to help these hospitals improve quality and track their viability.
Source: Health Resources and Services Administration
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Last Updated: 12/13/2017