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.

NRHA Submits Comment on Meaningful Use Stage 2 Regulations

NRHA submitted a regulatory comment letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Monday, April 30, 2012. Among other things, NRHA expressed concern over Computer Physician Order Entry metrics, the time constraints included in the new rule, "patient portal" requirements and a number of other modifications to the EHR incentive program.  A copy of the letter is available here: NRHA Meaningful Use Stage 2 Final. Please contact David Lee in NRHA's government...

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Rural Hospitals Provide Better Value

KANSAS CITY, MO, April 30, 2012 – According to data released by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), small, rural hospitals nationally have equal or better quality outcomes, and cost less per Medicare beneficiary than their urban counterparts. The intersection between cost and quality defines the value proposition that rural systems of care provide to the Medicare program. Despite the cost-effectiveness of rural hospitals, many may be forced to close if Congress does not reauthorize...

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House Leadership Makes Case for Budget Reconciliation

House Concurrent Resolution 112 (the "Ryan Budget") mandates that various committees submit plans for cutting spending over the next ten years.  This reconciliation process is designed to replace the 10 year sequestration that was implemented as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011.  Various committees, including those with jurisdiction over health care programs, have been considering various proposals for cutting spending. Today, Republican Leaders in the House of...

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NRHA and Partnership for Medicaid Submit Letter on proposed Medicaid cuts

NRHA, as a member of the Partnership for Medicaid, submitted a letter to the Committee on Energy and Commerce in response to proposed cuts to the Medicaid program proposed as part of budget reconciliation mandated by House Concurrent Resolution 112 (the “Ryan Budget”). Proposals under consideration by the Committee would cut Medicaid spending by more than $25 billion over the next ten years. Among the proposals put forward by the Committee are reductions in Medicaid...

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NRHA keynote’s advice: “We don’t have to wait for Washington”

[caption id="attachment_1648" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="T.R. Reid presents at NRHA Annual Conference"][/caption] New York Times-bestselling author T.R. Reid gave the keynote address at NRHA’s 35th Annual Rural Health Conference in Denver this week. Reid, who was a Washington Post foreign correspondent, has written books and articles and created documentaries about health care systems all over the world. “Every country is...

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Greenlee becomes first Administration on Aging leader to speak at NRHA event

[caption id="attachment_1642" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Brock Slabach and Kathy Greenlee"][/caption] Kathy Greenlee, U.S. assistant secretary for aging, gave the Reilly address during NRHA’s 35th Annual Rural Health Conference in Denver yesterday. “I believe most of America is rural America, and we are valuable partners,” she told 900 National Rural Health Association members. Referring to patient-centered medical homes...

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NRHA partners with Clinton Global Initiative to improve border health

The National Rural Health Association just announced our commitment to develop a National Rural Community Health Worker Training Network to help recruit and retain community health workers to rural and underserved areas along the U.S.-Mexico border. This effort is part of a commitment to action that stemmed from NRHA’s participation at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in 2011. NRHA is working with the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission as well as state and federal partners...

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CMS Announces 27 ACO Organizations

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced agreements with 27 organizations to participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) on Tuesday afternoon. These organizations, commonly called Accountable Care Organizations, have agreed to work to better coordinate care for their assigned beneficiaries and share the subsequent savings with CMS.  One of these organizations, the North County ACO, is based primarily in a rural area (northern New Hampshire and Vermont...

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CMS Delays ICD-10 Requirements

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule on Monday that would delay the mandatory adoption of new billing codes, known as ICD-10. The agency originally intended to require providers to start using these codes by Oct. 1, 2013, but many providers and provider associations complained that this was not enough time for a complete overhaul of current billing systems. The proposed rule calls for delaying implementation for one year. ICD-10 is thought to be more...

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NRHA announces 2012 Rural Health Award recipients

NRHA is proud to announce its 2012 Rural Health Award recipients. The organizations and individuals will be honored April 19 during the 35th Annual Rural Health Conference, which will attract more than 900 rural health professionals and students to Denver. “We’re proud of this year’s winners,” says Alan Morgan, NRHA CEO. “They have each already made tremendous strides to advance rural health care, and we’re confident they will continue to help improve the lives of rural Americans.” And...

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