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Though the Republican establishment is still unsure about the road forward in a Trump Administration, two establishment Republicans are singing the praises of the cabinet pick of Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) for HHS Secretary. Senate Finance Chairman Orin Hatch and Senate HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander applauded President-elect Donald Trump’s choice, saying Price will be crucial in their efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act and reform Medicare and Medicaid and signaling that a Senate confirmation may be smooth. Price, an orthopedic surgeon based in northern Atlanta, has served in the House over a decade and is the point person for crafting legislation...
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As my year as NRHA President closes out- I think President-elect Trump's advice is good. Every year I purchase my daughter a few Christmas ornaments. Usually a nice Radko or Waterford (we're Irish), and some fun ones representative of her hobbies, and the times. When I picked this out 5 years ago from Macy's annual celebrity ornament line- I never fathomed to think it would become political memorabilia. Life is like that- a surprise around every bend. NRHA is fortunate to have Alan Morgan’s leadership. Alan and his leadership team, and all of our staff have helped our organization be ready to work with the new administration, and the many new faces...
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Rural communities are wonderful places to live and work , which is why nearly 62 million people – nearly one in five Americans – call them home. National Rural Health Day is our opportunity to honor the selfless, community-minded, “can do” spirit that prevails in rural America. Across the United States, multiple national organizations and local community groups will celebrate this special day in multiple ways. The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health has a listing of many of these activities here . What can you do? I hope you will join me today in donating to the Rural Health Foundation,...
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued yesterday the final rule for the 2017 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS). One important piece of this rule relates to the implementation of a portion of last year’s budget deal, specifically Section 603 Site Neutral payment for new off-campus provider based department (PBD). This means the new off-campus PBD will be paid a lower reimbursement rate (either through the physician fee schedule or ambulatory surgical center fee schedule). While NRHA understands that the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 requires the change, we have been disappointed that the CMS rule was markedly...
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Rural providers already know they provide high quality care to a vulnerable patient population. Evidence already exists to back up this belief, yet more is always welcomed. A recent study from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shows that rural hospitals outperform their urban counterparts on Medicare’s value-based purchasing program and in reducing hospital-acquired infection. HHS officials attribute this in part to superior care coordination work on the part of rural providers, enabled by small referral and post-acute care provider networks that “can...
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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Mark Warner (D-Va) released a discussion draft to outline their bipartisan proposal to improve health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with chronic diseases. The plan includes 15 proposals with a focus on minor changes to existing programs to better serve Medicare beneficiaries with chronic diseases. A number of the proposals provide additional flexibility within the Medicare Advantage program including extending special needs plans and allowing tailoring for patients with chronic care needs. Other proposals expand the use of telemedicine...
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On Wednesday, October 19th, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) hosted a Rural Health Solutions Summit in their Baltimore, MD headquarters. More than 600 rural advocates (including NRHA leadership, staff, and members) participated in this meeting. The stated purpose of the event was to bring together stakeholders from all sectors of the health care industry to discuss opportunities to improve access to care in rural America and to support local solutions and innovations in care delivery. Additional information about the meeting itself, including videos from the event can be found HERE. For rural advocates,...
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The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) applauds Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS), John Barrasso (R-WY), Al Franken (D-MN), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) for introducing S.3435, the Craig Thomas Rural Hospital and Provider Equity Act (R- HoPE). This important bipartisan bill will provide regulatory relief for rural hospitals and extend important rural provisions that are set to expire or have expired. Rural hospitals are a critical link in serving rural Americans, who are more likely to be older, sicker and poorer than their urban counterparts. With 76 rural hospitals already closed, and 673 more on the brink of closure, regulatory relief, such as which is...
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Today, the National Rural Health Association is participating in a White House Rural Council Forum held in State College, Pennsylvania. The meeting’s focus is on both recent results in rural communities, and also a look forward for rural America. The White House Rural Council was established by executive order on June 9 th , 2011, to both identify and also to facilitate economic growth and recovery in rural America. The cornerstone of both of those objectives is quality rural health care delivery. Local and accessible health care is vital to the patients of rural communities and the vibrancy of the local economy, often representing as much as 20%...
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Join NRHA’s Virtual March for Rural Hospitals on Wednesday, September 14. Call, Tweet and Facebook your members of Congress , and ask them to save rural hospitals. Tell your member of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 3225 , the Save Rural Hospitals Act, introduced by Reps. Sam Graves (R-MO) and Dave Loebsack (D-IA), and ask your senators to introduce a companion bill. Seventy-six rural hospitals have closed since 2010 , but if the 114th Congress acts now there is still time to save the 673 additional facilities (representing 1/3 of rural hospitals in the U.S.) that are vulnerable to closure. Rural hospitals provide essential, lifesaving local access...
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CMS released to the public on July 27, 2016 Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings on the Hospital Compare website for short-stay acute hospitals in United States. This follows the trend of quality data transparency at CMS as part of their Value Based Purchasing (VBP) effort, for example Star Ratings for home health, nursing homes and dialysis. Of course, data transparency isn’t new. CMS has been posting on the Hospital Compare website quality data for individual hospitals for years. What is very different now is reducing 64 measures into a single score (stars) between 1 and 5. The analogy here is TripAdvisor.com . Reducing the complexity of hospital quality...
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Earlier this month, Pioneer Community Hospital of Scott in Oneida, Tenn. closed its doors, becoming the 76th rural hospital to close since 2010. Even more concerning are the 673 additional vulnerable rural hospitals, which equate to 1/3 of all rural hospitals in the U.S., at risk of closure. These closures are a result of continued Medicare cuts in hospital payments. Rural hospitals are especially critical because the 62 million Americans who call rural America home are older, sicker, and poorer than their urban counterparts. These hospital closures have devastated rural communities like Oneida, and left residents with inadequate access to essential...
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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid wants to hear from Critical Access Hospitals on the President’s budget proposal to change CAH reimbursement from 101 to 100 percent and what that would mean to your facility and your community. NRHA has provided the below sample letter for your review, but please take the time to personalize the letter to tell CMS about your community! We need the CAH community to share with CMS the impact the reduction would have on the ability to provide care to your local community. NRHA asks that you outline the following issues in your letter. Financial Impact – how would this affect hospital operations and the bottom...
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Yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee, the most powerful committee in the House of Representative, introduced the H.R. 5273, the Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act of 2016 . While NRHA appreciates the efforts of the Committee to focus on hospital concerns, especially the extension of the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Program, the Committee once again missed a critical opportunity to address the escalating rural hospital closure crisis. Seventy-three rural hospitals have closed since 2010. The most recent closed yesterday. These closures leave 1.2 million rural Americans without access to their local emergency room...
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The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported today “among Medicare beneficiaries undergoing common surgical procedures, patients admitted to Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) compared with non–CAHs had no significant difference in 30-day mortality rates, decreased risk-adjusted serious complication rates, and lower-adjusted Medicare expenditures, but were less medically complex.” The study reviewed four common surgical procedures performed in CAHs: appendectomy, cholecystectomy, colectomy, and hernia repair. The study also took a look at cost. It was discovered that Medicare expenditures adjusted for patient factors and procedure type...
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NOSORH invites you to participate in Rural Public Health Learning Collaborative: Issues in Meeting Rural Health Obstetrical Needs – A Family Medicine Collaborative Approach in Western North Carolina on Monday, May 23 rd at 2:30 pm (Eastern). Objectives of the webinar are: Review and discuss the number and type of health care and maternity care providers in rural Western North Carolina. Describe the financial, demographic and liability issues and geographic factors impacting rural hospitals decisions to provide such services. Discuss the concerns of families in seeking care during pregnancy Describe...
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The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) met today to discuss preserving access to emergency care in rural America. Slides will be available in the next few days on the MedPAC website . The Commissioners discussed two options for future care in rural – a 24/7 emergency department and primary care outpatient services and a primary care clinic (12 hours/day) and ambulance (24/7). Both of these programs would be optional. The National Rural Health Association is pleased that the Commission is recognizing that access to care in rural communities is an ever increasing problem. However, NRHA is concerned that MedPAC failed to understand why...
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On March 30, the National Rural Health Association was invited to the White House to participate in a national discussion on rural telehealth. Building on the Administration’s ongoing goal of expanding access to opportunity through quality, affordable health care, this meeting highlighted the essential role of telehealth in reaching high-need rural families and communities. In addition to NRHA, leaders from state and local government, academia, and the practitioner community participated. NRHA took the opportunity to highlight barriers and opportunities of increased participation in telehealth services in rural America during the event. ...
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The National Rural Health Association applauds the Senate passage of S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). This bill establishes a comprehensive, coordinated and balanced strategy through enhanced grant programs that would expand prevention and education efforts while also promoting treatment and recovery. NRHA was able to improve the bill by successfully advancing language that puts a stronger focus on the epidemic in rural America. The opioid epidemic is alarming. We are particularly concerned about the impact on rural Americans and their communities, who are especially vulnerable to prescription painkiller abuse and overdoses....
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On Feb. 25, the National Rural Health Association was invited to the White House to participate in the President’s Precision Medicine ‪ Initiative, a new national effort to develop individualized clinical care. This major project seeks to learn how to better tailor treatments and preventive care to people's genes, environment and lifestyle. The initiative also aims to make it easier for patients to access and share their own health data and to engage them as partners in research. While it comes with many rural health questions and challenges, the primary goal for rural advocates is to ensure rural America is part of this new era of medicine,...
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