NRHA's Rural Health Voices blog offers informed commentary on the latest news in rural health care from NRHA staff and editorials from selected contributors.

CMMI Request for Information on New Payment Models

NRHA has responded to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s (CMS) request for information on potential new payment models to be implemented at the CMS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).  NRHA has long advanced the need for rural-specific and rural relevant models.  Rural populations and their providers of care are faced with challenges that cannot be ignored and are uniquely well suited for demonstration projects through the CMMI.  

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Congress Holds CHIP Extension Hearings

Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee both held markups on the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  The program expired on September 30th, and many states with rural communities will exhaust funding resources by early 2018 without an extension.

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HHS Secretary Tom Price Resigns

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price resigned from his position on Friday. Price had served in the position since February 2017 when he received Senate Confirmation on his appointment by President Trump. President Donald Trump has asked Deputy Assistant Health Secretary Don Wright to serve as acting HHS Secretary until a new HHS Secretary can be nominated and confirmed by the Senate.  

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Congress expresses bipartisan support for the 340B Program

This week more than 200 bipartisan House Members sent a letter to CMS administrator Seema Verma to support the 340B Drug Discount Program and encouraging CMS to abandon the “misguided” and “flawed” policy proposed in the Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM). NRHA supports the 340B Drug Payment Program which supports rural Americans access to local health care including affordable medications at eligible rural hospitals and...

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Senate no longer scheduled to vote on health care repeal bill.

The latest push to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham (SC) and Bill Cassidy (LA) will not receive a vote in the Senate, ending the current effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act using the budget reconciliation process that would have allowed a bill to pass with 50 votes. While NRHA does support empowering states to make their own decisions on the health care needs of their population, NRHA opposed the Graham-Cassidy bill because of the potential...

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Telemedicine: A boon to critical access hospitals

As rural health facilities continue to struggle, and many close, it's crucial for critical access hospitals to invest in technological advances. In preparation for the 2017 Rural Health Clinic and Critical Access Hospital Conferences, hosted by the National Rural Health Association Sept. 27-29 in Kansas City, Mo., we’ve broken down telemedicine basics: How beneficial such technologies can be for critical access hospitals and how to overcome barriers that may be keeping CAHs and...

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Senate to work on new health care repeal bill

The latest push to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is from Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham (SC) and Bill Cassidy (LA). The bill would end the current Medicaid expansion and ACA subsidies and instead utilize the money to provide block grants to the states. Additionally, the legislation changes Medicaid from an open ended entitlement to a per capita cap or block grants to the states.

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Rural quality takes a leap forward: NQF Rural Workgroup

NRHA is pleased that the National Quality Forum (NQF) announced the formation of a Measures Application Partnership (MAP) Rural Health Workgroup. This effort has long been a priority of NRHA and we support this important initiative to better measure the quality of care provided in rural communities. We encourage those interested and qualified to submit an Application for Workgroup membership by September 29, 2017. 

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NRHA applauds Senate Democrats for holding rural event

The U.S. Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee held a Rural Summit to discuss increasing access to health care and growing the economy in rural America.   “Losing a rural hospital is a disaster, not just in terms of emergency and trauma care, but keeping and attracting businesses to the area,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (IL), one of many Senators attending the summit.    Sen. Bob Casey (PA) said rural hospitals are the largest or second largest employer...

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Continuum of Care: Why rural health care may benefit the most from a new model

The evolution of how patients spend their final days of life has gone from quality care that enhances life to extending days without quality of life. The Care Continuum model focuses on quality of life by bridging medical advances with common medical sense. The Care Continuum is an answer to the over-use of medical technology, ensuring it is used only when appropriate, helping patients and their family members gain control over their medical journey.

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