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 and coalition ask CMS to address wage index in IPPS rule

A coalition of the National Rural Health Association and state hospital associations is asking the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to address a Medicare wage index reform that would benefit individual states at the expense of others in the proposed Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) rule for fiscal year 2013. The hospital coalition group wants to reverse the health reform provision. Section 3141 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) modified the "rural floor...

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Senators send rural health funding letter to Appropriations Committee

Twenty-four senators sent a letter to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services this morning announcing their support for rural health programs.  The letter outlines the vital discretionary programs that help maintain the rural health safety net. Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) cosponsored the letter and NRHA applauds them for leading the effort to provide critical support to rural safety net providers. NRHA also congratulates all those that...

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Supreme Court Transcripts Available

Audio and text transcripts of the Supreme Court review of the Affordable Care Act are now available for the first two days of arguments.  You can access the transcripts here. The Supreme Court does not allow television cameras in its hearing room or chambers. The Court has considered two of their principle questions during the last two days: 1) Is the "individual mandate" an impermissible tax in violation of the Anti-Injunction Act? and 2) Can the Congress create the "individual mandate...

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House Votes to Repeal Independent Payment Advisory Board

On Thursday afternoon, the House passed legislation to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), established in the Affordable Care Act.  Under the Act, the Board is authorized to make cuts to the Medicare program if Medicare's growth exceeds certain baselines. The IPAB has been a major target of many legislators who feel it removes responsibility and accountability from Congress. The legislation also imposes caps on the amount of non-economic damages that can be collected in...

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Administration honors champions of health care

The National Rural Health Care Association was invited by the White House today to mark the two-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and to honor Champions of Change dedicated to health care reform. The 10 Champions of Change chosen by the Administration showcased how they help others in their community understand the impact of the health care law on the local, state and national level. The honorees included: Dr. John Casey, Sara Finger, JoAnne Fischer, Katherlyn Geter, Jan...

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Coalition for Health Funding releases statement on the Ryan Budget

The Coalition for Health Funding, of which NRHA is a member, released the following statement following the release of Chairman Ryan's budget: "In his budget blueprint released today, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan states, 'the safety and security of the American people is the first responsibility of the federal government.' The Coalition for Health Funding couldn’t agree more. But it takes more than just the Department of Defense to protect Americans. Federal public health programs...

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House Republicans release proposed FY 2013 Budget

Rep. Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, released his version of the House’s fiscal year 2013 budget on Tuesday. The FY 2013 budget proposes significant overhauls of the current Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP programs. Under Chairman Ryan’s Budget, current Medicare beneficiaries will be able to maintain their current service structure while future seniors will be given a choice of staying under a traditional Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) plan or joining a Medicare-approved...

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Senators prepare letter on rural health appropriations

There are a number of small but vital discretionary programs that help form the rural health safety net.  Especially in hard economic times, these programs play an important role in making sure 62 million rural Americans have access to critical primary, emergency and hospital services. Senators Kent Conrad and Chuck Grassley are sending a letter to appropriators in support of rural health care program funding in the Labor HHS Appropriations bill and the National Rural Health Association...

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2nd Annual RTT-TAP Conclave Assembles in Omaha

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural event, RTT program directors, rural residency site directors, individuals involved in developing RTTs and current NIPDD-R fellows, convened at University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha for the second annual Rural Training Track (RTT) Conclave. The Rural Training Track (RTT) Technical Assistance Program is a three-year national demonstration program, which began in September 2010. NRHA is currently a lead partner in the cooperative...

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National Rural Health Association Joins Effort to Repeal Wage Index ‘Manipulation’

The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) has officially joined with various interested parties in efforts to reverse the adverse national impact of Section 3141 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This section modified the "rural floor" adjustment for the Medicare reimbursement calculation of the "work component".  The "rural floor" and all calculations for the "work component" are done on a budget neutral basis; that is, when one hospital receives higher reimbursements, others...

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