What Businesses & Individuals Need to Know About the Latest COVID-19 Stimulus Bill – Encore Presentation

Date: December 31, 2020

Time: 10:00 AM CT


Congress recently passed another COVID-19 emergency relief package as part of an omnibus spending bill. Join BKD as they discuss the tax provisions in this round of stimulus funding, including what’s new for the Paycheck Protection Program, extension and expansion of tax credits for 2021, and other tax-related legislative developments that businesses and individuals should be aware of.

2020 MIPS Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Exception Application Deadline for COVID-19 has been Extended to February 1, 2021

To further support clinicians during the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended the deadline for COVID-19 related 2020 Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Exception applications to February 1, 2021.

For the 2020 performance year, CMS will be using the Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances policy to allow MIPS eligible clinicians, groups, and virtual groups to submit an application requesting reweighting of one or more MIPS performance categories to 0% due to the current COVID-19 public health emergency.

If you have any concerns about the effect of the COVID-19 public health emergency on your performance data, including cost measures, for the 2020 performance period, submit an application now and be sure to cite COVID-19 as the reason for your application.

If you have an approved application, you can still receive scores for the Quality, Improvement Activities and Promoting Interoperability performance categories if you submit data. If the Cost performance category is included in your approved application, you will not be scored on cost measures even if other data are submitted. IMPORTANT: Individuals, groups and virtual groups can’t submit an application to override PY2020 data that has already been submitted. Any data submitted as an individual, group or virtual group before or after an application has been approved will be scored. Learn more in the 2020 Exceptions Applications Fact Sheet.

CMS has finalized that APM Entities may submit an application to reweight MIPS performance categories as a result of extreme and uncontrollable circumstances, such as the public health emergency resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Data submitted for an APM won’t override performance category reweighting from an approved application. Learn more in the 2021 Quality Payment Program Final Rule Overview Fact Sheet.

Note: The deadline to submit a MIPS Promoting Interoperability Performance Category Hardship Exception application or an Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances application not related to COVID-19 will remain December 31, 2020. Remember, if you’re already exempt from reporting Promoting Interoperability data, you don’t need to apply.

How do I Apply?

You must have a Health Care Quality Information Systems (HCQIS) Access Roles and Profile (HARP) account to complete and submit an exception application on behalf of yourself, or another MIPS eligible clinician, group, virtual group or APM Entity. For more information on HARP accounts, please refer to the Register for a HARP Account document in the QPP Access User Guide.

Once you register for a HARP account, sign in to qpp.cms.gov, select “Exceptions Applications” on the left-hand navigation, select “Add New Exception,” and select “Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Exception” or “Promoting Interoperability Hardship Exception.”

How do I Know if I’m Approved?

If you submit an application for either of the exceptions, you will be notified by email if your request was approved or denied. If approved, this will also be added to your eligibility profile on the QPP Participation Status Tool, but may not appear in the tool until the submission window is open in 2021.

For More Information


Contact the QPP at 1-866-288-8292 or by e-mail at: QPP@cms.hhs.gov. To receive assistance more quickly, please consider calling during non-peak hours-before 10:00 a.m. and after 2:00 p.m. ET.

  • Customers who are hearing impaired can dial 711 to be connected to a TRS Communications Assistant.

Announcing HRSA’s Promoting Pediatric Primary Prevention (P4) Challenge: Supporting Innovations in Pediatric Primary Care to Improve Child Health

To respond to declining rates of childhood vaccination coverage and well-child visits due to COVID-19,the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has launched the Promoting Pediatric Primary Prevention (P4) Challenge competition. HRSA invites pediatric primary care providers, community health providers, state and local programs, and creative health care professionals to sign-up and learn more about the P4 Challenge and how it will address this critical public health issue.

HRSA will award $1,000,000 in prizes for innovative approaches to increase access to and utilization of well-child visits and/or immunization services within primary care settings. Partnerships with state and local organizations are encouraged, and submissions must include a primary care provider who delivers health services to children. HRSA expects to select up to 50 Phase 1 winners and up to 20 Phase 2 winners. Submissions will open on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.

Funding Opportunity: Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – Implementation

Application Deadline:  March 12, 2021

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) released a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Implementation (RCORP-Implementation). HRSA will be making approximately 78 awards of $1 million each to rural communities to enhance substance use disorder (SUD), including opioid use disorder (OUD), and service delivery.

View the funding opportunity on Grants.gov.

Over the course of a three (3)-year period of performance, grant recipients will implement a set of core prevention, treatment, and recovery activities that align with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Five-Point Strategy to Combat the Opioid Crisis. Award recipients are strongly encouraged to leverage workforce recruitment and retention programs like the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). All domestic public and private entities, nonprofit and for-profit, are eligible to apply and all services must be provided in Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)-designated rural areas (as defined by the Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer). The applicant organization must be part of an established network or consortium that includes at least three (3) other separately-owned entities. A majority, or at least 50 percent, of members in each consortium must be located within HRSA-designated rural areas. Applicants are encouraged to include populations that have historically suffered from poorer health outcomes, health disparities, and other inequities, as compared to the rest of the target population, when addressing SUD/OUD in the proposed service area. 

FORHP will hold an hour-long webinar for applicants on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 from 1-2 p.m., ET. A recording will be made available for those who cannot attend. Please reference page ii in the NOFO for the dial-in information for the webinar and contact ruralopioidresponse@hrsa.gov with programmatic questions and bmirindi@hrsa.gov with fiscal/budget-related questions.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

12:00 – 1:00 p.m., CST / 1:00 – 2:00 p.m., ET

Call-in Number:  1-800-369-1956

Participant Code:  9970670

Web Link:   https://hrsa.connectsolutions.com/fy21_rcorp_implementation_applicant_ta_webinar/

 As always, do not hesitate to reach out to FORHP if you have any questions about our programs.

Webinar: NRHC and NARHC Explain the Comprehensive RHC Reform

Date: December 30, 2020

Time: 1:00 PM CT


National Association of Rural Health Clinics (NARHC) will hold a webinar with NARHC Executive Director Bill Finerfrock and National Rural Health Association (NRHA) Government Affairs Director Nathan Baugh explaining the comprehensive Rural Health Clinic (RHC) reform that will impact both independent and Provider-Based RHCs that was included in the COVID-19 relief/appropriations package.

Communication Strategies for Community Outreach and Education Webinar Series

The Delta Region Community Health System Development (DRCHSD) Program produced an eight (8)-part webinar series featuring a variety of timely topics aimed at supporting communication strategies for community outreach and education. The webinar topics build upon one another.

In February, the DRCHSD Communications Toolkit will be rolled out with customizable templates such as print ads, radio scripts, and digital posts​ to support the content of this series. Keep an eye out for the webinar invitation where DRCHSD Program will launch the Toolkit!


  1. Learn to communicate even more to build trust and confidence in your organization.
  2. Learn to elevate your role as a communicator to provide maximum value in your organization.
  3. Learn how to strategically invest limited resources to maximize your communications budget.
  4. Learn to customize messages based on generational and cultural backgrounds.
  5. Learn to how to use the power of digital communications to build relationships and loyalty.
  6. Learn to develop an image that aligns with your organization’s vision and future growth strategy.
  7. Learn effective messaging and techniques for your telehealth communications.
  8. Be inspired and empowered to tell the story of your rural health organization!
drchsd-program@ruralcenter.org | (800) 997-6685 | www.ruralcenter.org

Announcing the New Rural Healthcare Provider Transition Project (RHPTP)

With the support of the Health Resources Services Administration’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), the National Rural Health Resource Center provides selected small rural hospitals and rural health clinics technical assistance through the Rural Healthcare Provider Transition Project (RHPTP). This project is designed to help strengthen the participant’s foundation in key elements of value-based care (VBC) including but not limited to efficiency, quality, patient experience, and safety of care.

Visit the website today!

The RHPT Project is now accepting applications through 12:00 a.m. Central Time, Saturday, January 16, 2021.

Eligibility Requirements

The Rural Healthcare Provider Transition Project (RHPTP) is designed to help strengthen value-based care (VBC) for health care organizations by building recipients’ foundation for VBC in efficiency, quality, patient experience, and safety of care.

RHPTP’s goal is to guide small rural hospitals (SRH) and rural health clinics (RHC) not currently participating in VBC to prepare for and position their organizations for future participation in alternative payment and care delivery models (APM).

Eligible Small Rural Hospitals is defined as a non-federal, short-term general acute care hospital that: (i) is located in a rural area as defined in 42 U.S.C 1395ww(d) and (ii) has 49 available beds or less, as reported on the hospital’s most recently filed Medicare Cost Report.

SRH and RHC are encouraged to apply under a single application for TA.

Feel free to visit the frequently asked questions(FAQS) or email rhptp@ruralcenter.org.