Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

Date: February 24, 2022

New RMOMS Program Awardee Summaries. The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy released new Summaries of the FY2019 Cohort Award Recipients of the Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies (RMOMS) Program – the Bootheel Perinatal Network in Missouri, the Rural OB Access and Maternal Services Network (ROAMS) in New Mexico, and the TX-RMOMS Comprehensive Maternal Care Network in Texas. The summaries describe the network structures and strategies awardees are using to expand care, such as telehealth and patient navigation. Applications for the next cohort are due on April 5.

HRSA Telehealth Learning Series: A Session on Innovative Rural Health Programs – Monday, February 28 at 3:00 pm ET. This session features two recipients from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Telehealth Network Grant Program that delivers consultation services for Emergency Departments in rural areas. 

Comments Requested: CDC Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids – Deadline April 11. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is in the process of updating the 2016 guidelines and values feedback from health care professionals and members of the public who experience acute or chronic pain. 

New Considerations for Assessing Seasonal Farmworker Communities (pdf). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an addendum to their Rapid Community Assessment (RCA) field guide. An RCA is a process for quickly collecting community insights – e.g., observations, surveys, listening session – about a public health issue to inform program design. The addendum was developed in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority, the National Center for Farmworker Health, CDC’s Global Migration Task Force, and Oregon and Yuma County Farmworker Deployment Teams.

Spread the Word About Vaccine Boosters. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) released new resources – posters, flyers, videos, and talking points – to help promote the extra protection from COVID-19 boosters. All vaccinated adults aged 18+ are eligible for a booster. A few weeks ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded booster eligibility to include adolescents ages 12 to 17, recommending that they receive a booster shot five months after their initial vaccination. The CDC also released a new resource, based on input from rural health departments and organizations, with 12 strategies to increase vaccine uptake in rural communities (pdf). Search by zip code to find nearby locations providing adult and pediatric vaccines and boosters for COVID-19 and the flu at vaccines.gov.

Ongoing: HRSA Payment Program for RHC Buprenorphine-Trained Providers. In June 2021, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) launched an effort to improve access to substance use disorder treatment by paying for providers who are waivered to prescribe buprenorphine, a medication used to treat opioid use disorder. Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) still have the opportunity to apply for a $3,000 payment on behalf of each provider who trained to obtain the waiver necessary to prescribe buprenorphine after January 1, 2019. Approximately $1.5 million in program funding remains available for RHCs and will be paid on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted. Send questions to DATA2000WaiverPayments@hrsa.gov. There is ongoing availability of a free online course for waiver eligibility training from the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine and the Providers Clinical Support System.

Quality of Skilled Nursing Facilities and Home Health Agencies Serving Rural Medicare Beneficiaries

Date: February 24, 2022

Quality of Skilled Nursing Facilities and Home Health Agencies Serving Rural Medicare Beneficiaries

The Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho (WWAMI) Rural Health Research Center has released two new policy briefs on the quality of skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and home health agencies (HHAs) serving rural Medicare beneficiaries.

Quality of Skilled Nursing Facilities Serving Rural Medicare Beneficiaries

While overall star ratings and staffing star ratings were not significantly associated with rural-serving status, rural SNFs and rural-serving urban SNFs were significantly less likely to have high quality star ratings compared to non-rural-serving urban SNFs. However, SNFs in isolated small rural communities were more likely to have high survey star ratings compared to non-rural-serving urban SNFs.

Quality of Home Health Agencies Serving Rural Medicare Beneficiaries

Rural-serving urban HHAs were almost twice as likely to have high patient experience star ratings compared to non-rural-serving urban HHAs. HHAs located in large, small, and isolated small rural communities were even more likely to have high patient experience star ratings compared to non-rural-serving urban HHAs, and the likelihood of high ratings increased as rurality increased.

Contact Information:

Tracy Mroz, PhD
WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
Phone: 206.598.5396

Additional Resources of Interest:

Video Series Highlights Local Efforts to End the HIV Epidemic

Date: February 24, 2022

A new Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) video series shines a spotlight on the disruptively innovative work of eight EHE jurisdictions across the U.S. The series comes just after the Biden-Harris Administration renewed the U.S. government’s commitment to ending the HIV epidemic on World AIDS Day by requesting $670 million to support the EHE initiative in FY2022. With the ambitious goals of reducing new HIV transmissions by 75% and increasing viral suppression of people living with diagnosed HIV by 95% by 2025, EHE jurisdictions are charging ahead to bridge the gap between prevention and care.  

With the aim of advancing EHE goals and supporting the 57 EHE jurisdictions in their efforts to diagnose, treat, prevent, and respond to the HIV epidemic, each video offers real stories of action, lessons learned in the field and tips for replication. Viewers can expect to learn about strategies and activities including: 

  • Maryland’s Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services strategy for implementing telehealth services. 
  • Texas’ Tarrant County HIV Administration efforts to uplift voices of community members. 
  • The Florida Department of Health in Orange County’s tips for initiating a Test and Treat program. 
  • The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s deep dive into the utility of HIV cluster visualization. 
  • The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ tactics for capacity building in rural communities. 
  • The grassroots, “meet them where they are” approach of Mississippi’s L.I.F.E. Inc. 
  • Recommendations for implementing harm reduction services from Nevada’s Trac-B Exchange. 
  • The call for bilingual health care providers and equitable access to PrEP from Arizona’s Chicanos Por La Causa.  

Click to view Missouri Department of Health and Senior Service’s Video.

Click to view full Video Series.

Development of the EHE spotlight video series was supported by funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To view and share the videos, visit NASTAD’s EHE page.  

Keeping Nurses Safe And Protected From Workplace Violence

Date: February 18, 2022

Keeping Nurses Safe And Protected From Workplace Violence

This webinar is on-demand and can be viewed at your convenience.

Click here to register at no cost.

During this webinar, you will learn about:

  • The prevalence of lateral violence and bullying in nursing, and how to identify these behaviors.
  • The cost (real and personal) of lateral violence and bullying.
  • ANA’s (American Nurses Association) position statement on incivility and bullying, and strategies to address these behaviors in the workplace.

Optimize patient outcomes, value, and financial stability with A Transitional Care Program in Your Rural Post-Acute Care

Date: February 18, 2022

Optimize patient outcomes, value, and financial stability with A Transitional Care Program in Your Rural Post-Acute Care

Webinar Date: March 31

Time: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM CT


Utilize swing beds at your facility to increase access for a broader patient group. Improving post-acute care in rural areas can reduce rural-urban disparities in patient outcomes after hospitalization and improve the financial stability of Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs). Allevant Solutions focuses on a transitional care model that involves the patient and family, makes available the full resources of the CAH, and focuses on measured outcomes and evidence-based processes to ensure patients get the best care possible. The Transitional Care Program is centered on teamwork, communication, and collaboration. Allevant Solutions will cover the Transitional Care model as well as the business benefits of utilizing and marketing your swing bed program, discuss staff training and education, and review process improvement methodologies that can be used to grow your swing bed volume.

What you will learn:

  • Participants will be able to understand the value of developing high-quality Post-Acute Transitional Care in CAHs in response to a growing patient population and demands and challenges in acute care hospitals. 
  • Participants will be able to begin to quantify the opportunity, understand the key steps to initiate, implement and track progress in developing high-quality Post-Acute Transitional Care.
  • Participants will learn how Transitional Care is an effective way to incorporate population health, chronic disease management, and wellness.

Critical Access Hospital (CAH) Coding & Billing Bootcamp

Date: February 18, 2022

Critical Access Hospital (CAH) Coding & Billing Bootcamp

Webinar Date: March 15-16, 2022

Time: 10:00 AM ET


This VIRTUAL LIVE Bootcamp series covers what revenue cycle and coding/billing staff in CAHs need to know related to their documentation, professional and facility coding, and medical billing processes.

ArchProCoding will describe the vital areas that affect all members of the CAH workforce related to CPT, HCPCS-II,& ICD-10-CM coding and billing; focusing on their impact on revenue, facility mission, population, and public health reporting.

  • Coders/billers who have come from “traditional provider offices or hospitals” or are new to the unique nature of billing for the services CAHs and/or Small Rural Hospitals will benefit by gaining a better understanding of the CAH designation and CAH-specific rules for coding/billing.
  • Managers who hire staff, manage people and policies, supervise the coding/billing staff will benefit by gaining a high-level overview of CAH designation criteria and the systems/processes required to main CAH status with emphasis on coding/billing.
  • Providers who create clinical documentation (e.g. MD/DO/PA/NP) will benefit by gaining a better understanding of the coding/billing nuances that are specific to different hospital service areas.

Session #1 – March 15, 2022

  • Introduction and Testing Details
  • Overview of CAH Designation and Cost-Based Reimbursement
  • Introduction/Review of Coding Manuals
  • Swing Bed and Inpatient Coding
  • Outpatient/Ancillary Facility Coding
  • Emergency Department Facility and Professional Fee Coding

Session #2 – March 16, 2022

  • Same-Day Surgery and Anesthesia Coding
  • Hospital Professional Fee Coding
  • Billing and reimbursement overview for Swing bed, Inpatient facility, Hospital Outpatient facility, and hospital professional fees
  • The method I, Method II, and CRNA Pass-through payment option
  • Revenue codes and their relationship to CPT codes, Billing, Compliance, and cost reporting
  • Guidance on how improving current billing practices and systems can translate into increased revenues
  • Identification of common issues that impact denials
  • COVID-19  Coding/Billing Updates

Build Healthy Places Network Offers Funding To Advance Racial Equity

Date: February 21, 2022

The Build Healthy Places Network announced new funding for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)-led community- and health-improvement efforts. The network’s Community Innovations for Racial Equity initiative will provide funding, technical assistance and a peer learning cohort to selected organizations. These tools will support local community development capacity, expand community empowerment and ownership models, and identify barriers and gaps in racial equity. Applications are due by Friday, March 18, and should be sent to proposals@buildhealthyplaces.org.

GME Policy Changes Impacting Rural Hospitals

Date: February 18, 2022

The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy funded Rural Residency Planning and Development Program Technical Assistance Center is presenting a two-part webinar series about the complicated graduate medical education (GME) rule changes finalized in December. There are important deadlines this year for any rural hospitals that already have residency programs and want to apply for slots to increase their size, and for rural hospitals that may want to start a residency program now or in the future. Some of these policies create one-time opportunities for rural hospitals to start residency programs that can be supported by Medicare funding. The TA Center team does a great job of breaking down the complicated provisions. It’s a two-part webinar series with the second session in March.

The intended audience is hospital administrators and residency program directors, individuals who are implementing or considering implementing Medicare-funded physician residency programs. However, these webinars are open to all rural folks who can benefit from the info.

Sign up here: https://www.ruralgme.org/ and see Upcoming Events

Topic: RRPD Webinar: Impact of CMS Rule Changes on Rural GME, Part II

Description: This webinar is part of a monthly series on rural graduate medical education topics, produced by the Rural Residency Planning and Development Technical Assistance Center (RRPD TAC). While these webinars are produced to support RRPD grantees in developing their rural residencies, they are open to anyone with an interest in learning more about rural GME.

Date: March 8, 2022

Time: 12:00 PM ET

Recording of 2/8 webinar: https://mega.nz/file/1ttR1Qia#jhql0ah6vy6ADAUg5qHMumXq8Z6LNspczAdqoXetxwA

The slides are also available on the ruralGME.org website.