Funding Opportunity: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Adminis Planning and Developing Infrastructure to Promote the Mental Health of Children, Youth and Families in American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) Communities

Department of Health and Human Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Adminis Planning and Developing Infrastructure to Promote the Mental Health of Children, Youth and Families in American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) Communities Synopsis 1

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New Guidance on Providing Opioid Treatment Services to Dually-Eligible Enrollees

Beginning January 1, 2020, Medicare will pay opioid treatment programs (OTPs) a bundled payment for providing treatment to Medicare beneficiaries and beneficiaries who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.  This Guidance to State Medicaid Agencies clarifies that OTPs must enroll with Medicare in order for Medicare to become the primary payer for services provided to dually-eligible beneficiaries and offers interim reimbursement solutions while providers go through the Medicare enrollment process.  There are few OTPs in rural areas, yet rural health providers are hopeful that increased access to medication-assisted therapy, such as that provided in OTPs, can have a positive impact on rural opioid use. Read more here.

Nominations for Federal Advisory Commission on HIV, Viral Hepatitis, and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is accepting nominations for this group that advises HRSA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on objectives, strategies, policies, and priorities. The announcement is for continuous recruitment and applications will be accepted at any time; however, interested candidates are encouraged to submit their nomination packages as soon as possible for consideration in the next round of nominations. Read more here.

Comments Requested: Medicare Advantage Advance Notice for 2021 Plan Year Risk Adjustment

CMS seeks comment on proposed updates to the hierarchical condition categories (HCC) model and the use of encounter data for risk adjusting MA plan payments in the 2021 plan year.  The proposed changes to the risk adjustment methodology are intended to better predict the cost to care for Medicare Advantage enrollees based on their health status and other factors   Research has found that HCC risk scores vary between rural and urban providers.  Other proposed payment methodology changes for the 2021 plan year will be released at a later date in Part II of the Advance Notice. Read more here.

Impact of the Medicare Disproportionate Share Hospital Payment Cap on Rural and Urban Hospitals

The Medicare Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payment adjustment is intended to compensate those hospitals serving a disproportionate number of low-income patients. Begun in 1986, the program was amended by the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 to impose a 12% cap on the payment, with exception for large hospitals and Rural Referral Centers. This policy brief from the RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis describes the number and location of urban and rural hospitals affected by that cap. Read more here.

Two New Briefs on Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries in Rural Areas

On December 30, 2020, the Rural Health Research Gateway released two policy briefs from the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center.  The first presents findings from an online survey of Rural Health Clinics describing clinic data and characteristics related to healthcare access.  A second brief examines access issues for rural Medicare beneficiaries seeking care from specialty providers. Read more here.

The Rural Opportunity Map

A unique collection of data and tools, the Rural Opportunity Map uses data sets on broadband infrastructure, education attainment, young companies, and other local assets.  A map section for local leaders is designed to help them discover and learn from peer communities.  Developing sections help decode the many definitions of rural across federal entities, help investors find options in rural Opportunity Zones, and track trends in rural health care. Read more here.