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Rural Health Policy News

News stories from the past 60 days.

Committee Continues Efforts to Prevent Opioid Epidemic from Harming More Americans
Feb 7, 2018 - Blog post from the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means detailing the Health Subcommittee's second hearing on the opioid crisis this year. Subcommittee members heard from Vermont Governor Phil Scott as well as from several healthcare professionals about successful public-private partnerships in the Medicare program and steps that Congress can take to protect Medicare beneficiaries who are most at risk of opioid addiction.
Source: U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means
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CMS Proposes Medicare Advantage and Part D Payment and Policy Updates to Provide New Benefits for Enrollees, New Protections to Combat Opioid Crisis
Feb 1, 2018 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed changes to Medicare Advantage and Part D health and drug programs. These changes would redefine health-related supplemental benefits to include covering of non-skilled in-home supports, portable wheelchair ramps, and other assistive devices and modifications, and would ensure patient-doctor-plan communication regarding opioid use to give health plans additional tools to manage chronic overuse.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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CMS: Medicare Program; Request for Nominations to the Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment Federal Register
Jan 26, 2018 - Notice from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requesting nominations to fill vacancies on the Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment. The Panel advises the Secretary of HHS and the Administrator of CMS on the clinical integrity of the Ambulatory Payment Classification (ACP) group and their associated weights, and supervision of hospital outpatient therapeutic services. Panel members must be full-time employees of hospitals, hospital systems, or other Medicare providers that are subject to the OPPS. Some of the panel members must be from rural regions and/or represent Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs). Two vacancies will occur in calendar year 2018 and nominations are accepted on an ongoing basis.
Source: Federal Register
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DEA Announces Step to Increase Opioid Addiction Treatment
Jan 24, 2018 - The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published a final rule that will allow more midlevel practitioners to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid addiction. This is in an effort to make it easier for people living in rural and underserved areas to access medication-assisted treatment.
Source: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
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Report: Hospitals Not Always Best Fit for Rural Communities
Jan 17, 2018 - Discusses a recent study which found that Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) may not be the best format to provide care in rural communities because of low patient volume and high fixed costs. Other models for how this care could be provided can be controversial because of the economic role CAHs play in rural communities. Also touches on alternate models which have been or will be presented to Congress for consideration. (May require registration for full article.)
Source: Modern Healthcare
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EOP: Supporting Broadband Tower Facilities in Rural America on Federal Properties Managed by the Department of the Interior Federal Register
Jan 12, 2018 - Official memorandum from the Executive Office of the President (EOP) outlining the Administration's intent to use all appropriate and available tools to accelerate the deployment of modern, affordable, and reliable high-speed broadband connectivity in rural America. The memorandum also directs the Secretary of the Interior to develop a plan to support these efforts by increasing access to tower facilities and other infrastructure assets managed by the Department of the Interior (DOI).
Source: Federal Register
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HHS: Regulatory Agenda Federal Register
Jan 12, 2018 - Semiannual regulatory agenda from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) outlining the rulemaking activities HHS expects to undertake in the foreseeable future. Includes abstracts for prospective HHS rules that are expected to have major economic impacts on a substantial number of small entities.
Source: Federal Register
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Kentucky Gets OK To Require Work From Medicaid Recipients
Jan 12, 2018 - Kentucky's request to add work requirements to their state Medicaid program has been approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). These new requirements only apply to "able-bodied" adults; people with disabilities, children, pregnant women, and the elderly are exempt. ( other states have submitted similar requests.
Source: NPR
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EOP: Streamlining and Expediting Requests To Locate Broadband Facilities in Rural America Federal Register
Jan 11, 2018 - Executive order designed to improve access to broadband internet service in rural America by reducing barriers to capital investment, removing obstacles to broadband services, and more efficiently employing government resources. The order also directs the Administrator of General Services to review and streamline the process for expediting requests to locate broadband facilities on federal property.
Source: Federal Register
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Hogan Administration, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Announce Extension of Maryland’s All-Payer Hospital Model
Jan 8, 2018 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the state of Maryland announced a one year extension of Maryland's All-Payer Hospital Model Contract to allow CMS to complete its review and to consider additional data through the end of 2017.
Source: Office of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan
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Hospitals In States That Expanded Medicaid Less Likely To Close
Jan 8, 2018 - Highlights a study published in the journal Health Affairs that found that hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid were approximately 6 times less likely to close than hospitals in non-expansion states. The study found that because rural hospitals tend to operate on thinner margins, about half of the rural hospital closures in non-expansion states could have been prevented through expansion.
Source: NPR
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Secretary Perdue Presents Agriculture and Rural Prosperity Task Force Report to President Trump
Jan 8, 2018 - Includes USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue's statement on the Interagency Task Force on Agricultural and Rural Prosperity's Report, which was presented to President Trump at the 2018 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention. Also touches on the key indicators of rural prosperity as identified by this task force: E-Connectivity, Quality of Life, Rural Workforce, Technology, and Economic Development.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
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CMS Approves First 10-Year Section 1115 Demonstration Extension
Dec 28, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved a demonstration extension for Mississippi's Medicaid program. This extension will extend eligibility for family planning services to people aged 13-44 who are not enrolled in Medicaid, Medicare, or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and with incomes up to 194% of the federal poverty level (FPL). This 10-year extension, the first of its kind, is intended to reduce the burden of the state continually obtaining approvals from CMS.
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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Last Updated: 2/8/2018