Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcement

June 25, 2020

HHS Announces Partnership with Morehouse School of Medicine to Fight COVID-19 in Vulnerable Communities. On Monday, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced the selection of the Morehouse School of Medicine as the awardee for a new $40 million initiative to fight COVID-19 in racial and ethnic minority, rural, and socially vulnerable communities. The initiative – the National Infrastructure for Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 within Racial and Ethnic Minority Communities (NIMIC) – is a three-year project designed to work with community-based organizations across the nation to deliver education, information, and resources.

HHS Makes Awards to Grow and Train the Health Workforce. Last week, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced $107.2 million awarded to 310 recipients to increase the health workforce in rural and underserved communities. Recipients across 45 states and U.S. territories will receive funding to improve the quality, distribution, and diversity of health professionals serving across the country. These grant programs will help create a modern health workforce and place skilled health care professionals in high-need areas nationwide.

State Rural Hospital and Community COVID-19 Vulnerability. Researchers at the University of North Carolina Rural Health Research Program created a chart that shows the number of rural hospitals in each state and measures community vulnerability using the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index

NIH National COVID Cohort Collaborative. As part of an effort to help scientists understand COVID and develop treatments, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a centralized, secure enclave to store and study clinical record data from people who have been diagnosed.  The collaborative aims to transform clinical information into knowledge urgently needed to study COVID-19, including health risk factors that indicate better or worse outcomes of the disease, and identify potentially effective treatments.

Experts Talk About the Rural Aspects of Alzheimer’s Disease. A new feature article in the Rural Monitor looks extensively at data, challenges, and resources Alzheimer’s in rural areas. 

AHRQ: Characteristics and Costs of Potentially Preventable Inpatient Stays. The Agency for Healthcare Research Quality (AHRQ) examines the costs of potentially preventable hospitalizations, with a comparison of metropolitan and rural hospitals.  The report is part of AHRQs Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, a collection of data and analyzation tools to enable research on a broad range of health policy issues.

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy FAQs for COVID-19. A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from our grantees and stakeholders, updated regularly. 

COVID-19 FAQs and Funding for HRSA Programs. Find all funding and frequently asked questions for programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

CDC COVID-19 Updates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides daily updates and guidance, and ongoing Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA).

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases, Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Counties. The RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis provides up-to-date data and maps on rural and urban confirmed cases throughout the United States.  An animated map shows the progression of cases beginning January 21.

Rural Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019. The Rural Health Information Hub has created a guide to help you learn about activities underway to address COVID-19.

Trump Administration Issues Call to Action Based on New Data Detailing COVID-19 Impacts on Medicare Beneficiaries

June 23, 2020

Under the leadership of President Trump, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is calling for a renewed national commitment to value-based care based on Medicare claims data that provides an early snapshot of the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the Medicare population. The data released today includes the total number of reported COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries between January 1 and May 16, 2020. The snapshot breaks down COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for Medicare beneficiaries by state, race/ethnicity, age, gender, dual eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid, and urban/rural locations.

For more information on the Medicare COVID-19 data, visit: https://www.cms.gov/research-statistics-data-systems/preliminary-medicare-covid-19-data-snapshot.

For an FAQ on this data release, visit: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/medicare-covid-19-data-snapshot-faqs.pdf.

For a blog by CMS Administrator Seema Verma, visit:https://www.cms.gov/blog/medicare-covid-19-data-release-blog.

For a copy of the press release, visit: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/trump-administration-issues-call-action-based-new-data-detailing-covid-19-impacts-medicare.

AHRQ Draft TA for Review

June 23, 2020

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Technology Assessment Program has posted a draft systematic review for comment. This draft is entitled “Platelet-Rich Plasma for Wound Care in the Medicare Population“. If you are interested in reviewing this document, please visit: http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/ta/index.html. The document will be available for review from 9:00 am on June 23, 2020 to 5:00 pm on July 14, 2020. If you have any questions, please contact epc@ahrq.hhs.gov.

Save-the-Date: 2020 National Training Program Virtual Workshops

Registration for the 2020 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) National Training Program (NTP) virtual workshops will open in mid-July. To help you plan, the dates for the sessions are listed below. Additional information will be shared as it becomes available. You’re invited to attend the session(s) of your choice to meet your schedule and learning needs. Sessions will be recorded for later viewing. Sessions will open at 12pm, with the live presentations starting at 1pm and conclude no later than 3:30pm (ET).

July 2020

28th – Medicare Basics, Enrollment, & Eligibility
29th – Introduction to Medicare Coverage Options (Part A and Part B)
30th – Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) & Differences with Medicare Advantage

August 2020

4th – Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage
5th – Medicare Coverage Options: Medicare Advantage
6th – Medicare Appeals and How Medicare Works with Other Insurance
11th – Programs for People with Limited Income and Resources
12th – Medicare Plan Finder Demonstration & Tips
13th – Medicare Current Topics
18th – Preventing Medicare Fraud
19th – CMS’ Actions in Response to COVID-19
20th – CMS’ Actions to Address Opioid Crisis
25th – Social Security Benefits
27th – Where Do I Find? (Online Resources)

September 2020

1st – Tax Favored Programs & Medicare
3rd – Medicare- Spanish Language Presentation

Session materials will be available for download during the events.

NOTE: Registration requests will be considered on a first-come, first-serve basis until each session reaches capacity. The number of attendees from the same organization may be limited. If any session reaches capacity, we’ll work to schedule an additional offering for a later date.

Please send all correspondence to: cms@seiservices.com

Webinar Series: Rural Health Resources Roundup: A New Series on Rural Health Programs and Resources

The Rural Health Resources Roundup is a new series intended for health care and human services organizations in rural communities. The series features 30‑minute, pre‑recorded sessions that focus on a specific topic and spotlight a HRSA program, resource, or new funding opportunity.

In the first session, we discuss telehealth with Janine Gracy from the Heartland Telehealth Resource Center and Doris Barta from the National Telehealth Technology Assessment Resource Center.  We also share helpful telehealth websites.

Listen to the session here:  Rural Health Resources Roundup – Telehealth Resources.

We encourage you to share this recording with your colleagues and partners.

Want to listen to the session on your mobile device? With the Adobe Connect Mobile App you can! With the Adobe Connect Mobile App you can host, share, collaborate, and listen from anywhere, anytime—bringing almost all Adobe Connect capabilities to your device (iOS and Android). For more information, visit Adobe Connect Mobile.

The Rural Health Resources Roundup is a monthly series brought to you by the HRSA Office of Regional Operations, Kansas City Office.

Have a rural health topic that you think would be good to discuss in a future session?  Send your rural health topic suggestions to HRSAORORegion7@hrsa.gov.