Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

CMS Releases LTCH Continuity Assessment Record and Evaluation Data Set Q&As

The Long-Term Care Hospital (LTCH) Continuity Assessment Record and Evaluation Data Set is the assessment instrument LTCH providers use to collect patient assessment data in accordance with the LTCH Quality Reporting Program. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have published a consolidated set of Q&As based on inquiries to the LTCH Post-Acute Care (PAC) Quality Reporting Program (QRP) Help Desk from September 2020 to March 2024. This set of Q&As offers LTCH providers additional clarifications to existing guidance. CMS has archived some previous Q&As, all of which can be found in the LTCH Quality Reporting Archives.

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Research Released on Intimate Partner Violence in Rural Communities

This policy brief  from the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center describes findings from interviews with key informants from IPV victim support and advocacy organizations, shedding light on distinct challenges faced by rural victims and survivors. It also highlights targeted opportunities for better supporting the health and safety of rural IPV victims and survivors.

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Identifying Rural Health Clinics Within the Transformed Medicaid Statistical Information System (T-MSIS) Analytic Files

There is limited information on the extent to which Rural Health Clinics (RHC) provide pediatric and pregnancy-related services to individuals enrolled in state Medicaid/CHIP programs. In part, this is because methods to identify RHC encounters within Medicaid claims data are outdated. This brief from the Maine Rural Health Research Center describes a methodology for identifying RHC encounters within the Medicaid claims data using Transformed Medicaid Statistical Information System (T-MSIS) Analytic Files.

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CMS Announces ACO Primary Care Flex Model

The Innovation Center at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will test a new model beginning January 1, 2025, that aims to increase the number of low-revenue accountable care organizations (ACOs) in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (SSP). Participating ACOs will receive monthly prospective, primary care payments (PPCPs) from CMS to address the medical and health-related social needs of their patients.  The ACOs will distribute the PPCS to their primary care providers, which can include Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics. CMS encourages distributing funds to providers on a capitated basis. ACO Primary Care Flex Model participants will also receive a one-time Advanced Shared Savings Payment to help cover the costs of forming an ACO and administrative costs associated with the model.  While this model features joint participation in both ACO Flex and the Medicare Shared Savings Program, ACO Flex participants will not be eligible to receive the SSP’s Advance Investment Payments.  CMS will host an hour-long public overview webinar on Thursday, April 4, at 2:00 pm Eastern. A Request for Applications is expected to be released in the second quarter of 2024. The initial submission period to apply to the SSP closes June 17, 2024.

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Health Professional Student Scholarship Pays Tuition, Fees and More

HRSA’s National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship Program is now accepting applications. Awardees will receive tax-free tuition payment, fees, and other essential educational expenses, along with a stipend for their living costs. They are expected to serve at least two years at NHSC-approved sites in underserved rural, urban, and tribal communities. Read more about eligibility and applying in the Bureau of Health Workforce’s bulletin.

NHSC Loan Repayment Programs Now Open for Applications

The National Health Service Corp (NHSC) is now accepting applications for the NHSC Loan Repayment Program, NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program, and the NHSC Rural Community Loan Repayment Program. Please make sure your eligible staff are aware of the May 9, 2024, deadline. This year, NHSC has increased award amounts to $75,000 for full-time and up to $37,500 for half-time participants who are physicians, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and physician assistance. Additionally, there is an added $5,000 award enhancement for clinicians who demonstrate Spanish-language proficiency. Award levels for dental and behavioral health professionals remain at $50,000 plus the Spanish-fluency bonus.