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Rural Health Policy – Resources

Selected recent or important resources focusing on Rural Health Policy.

Health Panel Comment Letter - Minimum Staffing Standards for Long-Term Care Facilities and Medicaid Institutional Payment Transparency Reporting Proposed Rule
Comments offered in response to a September 6, 2023, proposed rule regarding minimum nurse staffing standards for long-term care facilities. Discusses considerations for the implementation timeline and including licensed practical nurses in the proposed staffing ratios and standards, the definition of rural utilized in the proposed rule to identify rural facilities, and conditions for hardship exemption eligibility.
Date: 11/2023
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Rural Policy Research Institute Rural Health Panel
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Advancing Health Equity in Rural, Tribal, and Geographically Isolated Communities: FY2023 Year in Review
Summarizes Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) activities in fiscal year 2023 to advance health equity for people living in rural, tribal, and geographically isolated communities. Covers six priority focus areas: applying a community-informed geographic lens; increasing the collection and use of standardized data; strengthening and supporting healthcare professionals; optimizing medical and communication technology; expanding access to comprehensive healthcare coverage, benefits, and services and supports; and driving innovation and value-based care.
Date: 11/2023
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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HHS is Taking Action to Strengthen Primary Care
Describes the importance of primary care to improving access to healthcare, the health and well-being of individuals and communities, and health equity. Discusses challenges facing primary care and outlines actions taken by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to address these challenges. Covers primary care payment, workforce, access, health information technology, and research and practice improvement support.
Date: 11/2023
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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CY 2024 Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System Final Rule (CMS 1786-FC)
Fact sheet providing an overview of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) final rule regarding updates and changes to the Medicare payments for hospital outpatient and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) services for calendar year 2024. Summarizes provisions regarding changes to the community mental health centers (CMHC) Conditions of Participation (CoPs); payment for intensive outpatient program (IOP) services; payment methodology for Indian Health Service (IHS) and tribal facilities that convert to Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) status; the Hospital Outpatient Quality Reporting (OQR), Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality Reporting (ASCQR), and Rural Emergency Hospital Quality Reporting (REHQR) Programs; and more.
Date: 11/2023
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
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Environmental Scan on Encouraging Rural Participation in Population-Based TCOC Models
Presents results of an environmental scan regarding population-based total cost of care (PB-TCOC) payment models and encouraging rural participation in these models. Describes challenges affecting rural patients and providers; opportunities for alternative payment models (APMs) and PB-TCOC models to address challenges in rural areas; trends in rural providers' participation in APMs; driving care delivery transformation in rural providers, including models that include or target rural participants in their model designs; leveraging financial incentives to improve rural health care; adoption and use of health information technology, including telehealth and data analytics among rural providers; and the measurement of rural providers' performance in APMs.
Date: 09/2023
Type: Document
Sponsoring organizations: HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, NORC at the University of Chicago
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Sustaining Essential Rural Health Services Through Changes in Payment and Related Public Policies
Presentation slides that discuss payment policies and models, Medicare and Medicaid, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), commercial plans, value-based care, and more, with data and maps illustrating impacts in specific areas.
Author(s): Keith J. Mueller
Date: 09/2023
Type: Presentation Slides
Sponsoring organizations: Iowa Department of Health Management and Policy, Rural Policy Research Institute
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Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program in Rural America: Policy Brief and Recommendations to the Secretary
Provides an overview of issues related to the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) in rural areas. Discusses the history of home visiting and the MIECHV program, Tribal MIECHV, program structure, eligible models, and promising approaches. Highlights three evidence-based home visiting models in Oregon that receive MIECHV funding. Offers policy recommendations related to improving MIECHV for rural families.
Date: 09/2023
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services
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MedPAC Response to a Congressional Request for Information on Improving Access to Health Care in Rural and Underserved Areas
Letter to the House Committee on Ways and Means request for information on improving access to healthcare in rural and underserved areas. Covers MedPAC recommendations for policies to target payments to better support rural and vulnerable beneficiaries' access to care, including the Rural Emergency Hospital program and a proposed Medicare Safety-Net Index; changes to the hospital wage index to address geographic inequities; and the alignment of payment rates across ambulatory settings for certain services.
Date: 09/2023
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: Medicare Payment Advisory Commission
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The Pennsylvania Rural Health Model (PARHM): Third Annual Evaluation Report
Evaluates the third performance year of the Pennsylvania Rural Health Model (PARHM), an initiative designed to test if global budgets can help rural hospitals improve their financial viability, provide flexibility to meet locally defined community health needs, and reduce overall healthcare spending. Provides an overview of the model and describes the implementation experience of participating hospitals and payers. Presents a descriptive quantitative assessment of financial performance, spending and utilization, access to care, and quality of care outcomes from 2016, the model's baseline, through 2021. Includes three case studies discussing three themes: the recruitment and retention of system-affiliated hospitals, engagement and coordination with community organizations and providers, and exploring service line changes.
Additional links: Appendix, Findings at a Glance
Date: 09/2023
Type: Document
Sponsoring organizations: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, NORC at the University of Chicago
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Mental Health Matters: Policy Framework on Workforce Mental Health
Policy framework designed to support the development of workforce mental health policies. Discusses nondiscrimination, workplace supports, rural communities, workforce shortages and more.
Date: 08/2023
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: National Conference of State Legislatures
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Additional resources are available related to this guide. See the full list of resources by topic for:


Last Updated: 5/7/2024