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Rural Health Policy – Resources

Selected recent or important resources focusing on Rural Health Policy.

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: Funding for USDA Rural Broadband Programs
Provides an overview of funding included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (P.L. 117-58) for two rural broadband-related programs: the ReConnect Program and the Rural Broadband Program. Compares administrative provisions and requirements for the ReConnect Program with requirements for previous rounds of funding.
Date: 11/2021
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Congressional Research Service
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Improving Health in Rural Communities: FY 2021 Year in Review
Provides an overview of Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) programs and activities that have affected rural health and healthcare in fiscal year 2021. Focuses on 10 priority areas: COVID-19, Federally-facilitated and State Marketplaces; Medicare payment and policy; practitioner workforce; Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollment, payment, and policy; long-term services and supports; maternal health; mental health and substance use disorders; models and demonstrations, and quality and equity.
Date: 11/2021
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: CMS Rural Health Council
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Medicare: Information on the Transition to Alternative Payment Models by Providers in Rural, Health Professional Shortage, or Underserved Areas
Describes the participation of providers in rural and health professional shortage areas in Advanced APMs from 2017 through 2019. Discusses challenges providers in rural, shortage, and underserved areas face in transitioning to APMs, as well as actions CMS takes to help these providers transition to APMs. Includes data by practice and provider type.
Additional links: Full Report
Date: 11/2021
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Government Accountability Office
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Rural Emergency Hospital: Policy Brief and Recommendations to the Secretary
Describes the development of the Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) designation in response to rural hospital closures and issues accessing emergency care. Lists statutory requirements for hospitals wishing to become an REH, and offers policy recommendations related to participation conditions, quality reporting, reimbursement, and emergency medical transfer agreement.
Date: 10/2021
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services
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Caring for America: Legislation to Support Patients, Caregivers, and Providers
Recording of a U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing on legislation related to funding for behavioral and mental health services for the healthcare workforce; a loan repayment program for local, state, and tribal public health professionals; increasing diversity in allied health professions; improving health outcomes in underserved communities through the use of community health workers; and more. Includes testimony from the National Association of County and City Health Officials, Augusta University, Ballad Health, and others.
Additional links: Alan Levine, Ballad Health - Testimony, Brooks A. Keel, Augusta University - Testimony, Lisa Macon Harrison, National Association of County and City Health Officials - Testimony
Date: 10/2021
Type: Video/Multimedia
Sponsoring organization: House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health
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OIG's Top Unimplemented Recommendations: Solutions To Reduce Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in HHS Programs: October 2021
Annual report identifying the top 25 unimplemented recommendations from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) that, in OIG's view, would have the most substantial positive impact on Health and Human Services (HHS) programs. Positive impact may refer to cost savings, program efficacy and efficiency, and/or quality improvement. Primary areas of interest in the October 2021 edition include: ensuring nursing homes are protecting residents from the spread of COVID-19; reforming the hospital wage index system; ensuring that Medicaid managed care enrollees have timely access to behavioral health services; and developing and implementing a staffing program for recruiting, retaining, and transitioning staff and leadership to remote Indian Health Service hospitals.
Date: 10/2021
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Office of Inspector General (HHS)
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Health Workforce Strategic Plan
Provides a framework for health workforce improvements and addresses long-standing barriers to strengthening the health workforce. Focuses on recruiting and training health professionals from underserved communities to build a diverse, representative health workforce; ensuring equitable distribution of the workforce across geographic areas and health professions; strengthening the ability of the workforce to deliver high-quality care, including through strengthening cultural and linguistic competency of professionals; and using evidence and data to make better decisions about health workforce education and training investments. Mentions rural throughout.
Additional links: Comments from Federal National Advisory Committees
Date: 10/2021
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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State of Telehealth: Removing Barriers to Access and Improving Patient Outcomes
Presents a recording of an October 7, 2021, hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband. Examines the importance of access to telehealth services, telehealth utilization during the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of the pandemic on telehealth regulations, and the role of broadband access in the public health response. Features testimony from the American Academy of Family Physicians, Project ECHO, Avel eCare, and the Federal Communications Commission.
Additional links: American Academy of Family Physicians Testimony, Avel eCare Testimony, Federal Communications Commission Testimony, Project ECHO Testimony
Date: 10/2021
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
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HHS Draft Strategic Plan, FY 2022 – 2026
Draft strategic plan identifying strategic goals and objectives of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Includes information specific to meeting the needs of underserved communities, including rural and tribal communities.
Date: 10/2021
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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Rural Carve-out Funding
Policy brief discussing rural health funding inequities and the potential to target federal funding to rural and underserved communities to improve community-level health behaviors, workforce, technology, and financial resources. Offers policy recommendations to improve the equitable distribution of federal funding and promote best practices.
Author(s): Michael Meit, Crystal Barter, Sally Buck, Mark Woodring
Date: 09/2021
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: National Rural Health Association
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Last Updated: 11/23/2021