Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Information Session on CMS Interoperability and Prior Authorization Final Rule Being Offered

Tuesday, March 26 at 1:00 pm Eastern

In January, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule to enhance access to health information and streamline prior authorization processes for medical items and services.  CMS’s Office of Burden Reduction & Health Informatics is hosting an online session to educate patients, providers, and administrative, health IT, and government affairs professionals about the provisions in final rule and how it builds on current CMS interoperability policies. Questions can be submitted beforehand via the registration form.  If you register and receive a message that the event is full, you will receive an email after the event with a link to both a recording and transcript of the presentation. The use of various electronic exchange methods among hospitals and physicians has increased in recent years, but use among small and rural hospitals is lower than that of other hospitals.  Please reach out to with questions.

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View the 2024 Physician Fee Schedule Webinar Recording

RHIhub posted a recording of the hour-long webinar from February 27 where experts from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reviewed rural-relevant policy updates from the Calendar Year 2024 Physician Fee Schedule final rule.  The new rule makes policy updates that may increase accessibility of behavioral health services, telehealth services, and other vital health services in rural areas. Presentation materials, video recording, and audio recording are also now available.  Additional documents from CMS that may be helpful in understanding these updates:

View here.

NARHC Hosting Free Webinar: Mobile Units and Your RHC – Is This a Good Fit? – Wednesday, February 21 at 3:00 pm Eastern

The National Association of Rural Health Clinics (NARHC) will host the free, FORHP-supported webinar with details about operational considerations for expanding RHC services and patient access opportunities through mobile unit, either as an extension of their current clinic or through a stand-alone unit. This webinar will feature representatives from Baptist Health in Kentucky who will share their successes and lessons learned in opening a mobile RHC, include information from RHC accreditor, Kate Hill, and provide additional time for Q&A.

Register here.

Nurse Corp Loan Repayment Program is Now Open for Applications

Registered nurses, advanced practice nurses, and nursing faculty are encouraged to apply for the Nurse Corp Loan Repayment Program, which is open for applications through March 7. All Federally Qualified Health Centers are eligible places of employment for nurses applying for Nurse Corps. A “New Application Technical Assistance” webinar will be held Feb. 13, 2024, from 2:30 to 4:30 pm. Funding preference is given to applicants with the greatest financial need defined as those qualified applicants with the highest debt-to-salary ratio. Debt-to-salary ratio is determined by the total qualifying education loan balance divided by the base annual salary. You are eligible to apply if:

  • You are a licensed registered nurse; advanced practice registered nurse, such as a nurse practitioner; or a nurse faculty member with qualifying nursing debt.
  • You received your nursing education from an accredited school of nursing located in a U.S. state or territory.
  • You work full-time in an eligible Critical Shortage Facility or an accredited school of nursing

CMS Hosting Webinar on AHEAD Model Hospital Global Budgets – February 14 at 3:00 pm Eastern

In this hour-long webinar, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will provide an overview of the hospital global budget methodology for the new States Advancing All-Payer Health Equity and Development (AHEAD) Model and answer audience questions. AHEAD is a state total-cost-of-care model, and global budgets are a key feature to control the growth of health care costs and improve care. A hospital global budget pays a pre-determined, fixed annual budget for hospital inpatient and outpatient facility services, rather than paying a fee for each service provided.  This webinar will describe the method CMS will use to calculate the Medicare hospital payment amount for the AHEAD model as well as operational considerations for hospitals.  States interested in participating in the model should submit their applications by Monday, March 18, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. ET (for Cohorts 1 and 2) & Monday, August 12, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. ET (Cohort 3). To get notified about model events and resources, sign up for email updates about the AHEAD Model on the CMS website.

Register here.

CMS Announces New Residency Slots for Underserved Communities

This is the second round of new Medicare funding for residency positions to train physicians in highest need areas, prioritized by Health Professional Shortage Area scores.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded the first round last winter, kicking off a five-year process legislated by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 to distribute 200 new residency slots each year.  This week, researchers at the FORHP-supported program that helps hospitals plan and develop rural residencies released analysis of the 99 hospitals that were awarded in this round to determine rural location of physician placements – whether sites were rural as defined by CMS or by FORHP – and the time they are required to train in these locations.  They found only three programs training their residents for 50 percent of the time or greater in a CMS or FORHP rurally located area. Next month, the FORHP-supported will be joined by CMS representatives to co-host a webinar to help rural hospitals understand how to apply for round three, expected to open in January.

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