State Strategies to Improve Behavioral Health for Those Experiencing Homelessness

May 20, 2024

State Strategies to Improve Behavioral Health for Those Experiencing Homelessness

The Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) issued an Informational Bulletin to highlight available Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) opportunities to improve access to mental health (MH) and substance use disorder (SUD) services for individuals experiencing homelessness.

It discusses Medicaid demonstrations, the Health-Related Social Needs (HRSN) Guidance and HRSN Framework to provide clinically appropriate services such as housing transition services and case management, and demonstration projects to improve access to the full continuum o9f care for SUD treatment, including in short-term residential treatment and inpatient settings.

It also provides a list of resources for improving access to MH and SUD treatment and to support for people with these conditions who are experiencing or at risk for homelessness.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, about 18 percent of people experiencing homelessness live in largely rural Continuums of Care, which are local planning bodies responsible for coordinating the full range of homelessness services in a geographic area.

Read CMCS Bulletin

Missouri Medicaid Tests New Transformation of Rural Community Health (ToRCH) Model

April 25, 2024

Missouri Medicaid Tests New Transformation of Rural Community Health (ToRCH) Model

This new program aims to address social determinants of health and will have hospitals serve as community-based hubs, or regional leads, to direct strategy and coordinate the efforts of health care providers, community-based organizations (CBOs), and social service agencies within a designated rural community.

Medicaid funds will support hub activities:

  • Leadership
  • Data analysis
  • Management of community partnerships

Community partners may request funds to pay for:

  • Additional space
  • Purchase IT or other equipment
  • Purchase a vehicle
  • Obtain new training for staff

Funds will also be available to reimburse CBO partners for approved health related social needs services identified in the ToRCH communities, such as:

  • Supplemental health-related transportation
  • Food and nutrition education
  • Home-delivered medically appropriate meals
  • Housing remediation to address health risks

The first cohort of six hospitals will begin on July 1 of this year.

Click Here to learn more about ToRCH

New National Strategy for Suicide Prevention

April 25, 2024

New National Strategy for Suicide Prevention

On Wednesday, April 24, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services released details of a plan for more than 200 actions across the federal government to address high rates of suicide.

Populations in the United States disproportionately impacted by suicide include non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaska Native youth, middle-aged and older adults, non-Hispanic White males, rural populations, and veterans, among others.

In particular, rural communities continue to see increases in suicide rates. According to 2023 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicides in non-urban environments increased 46 percent between 2000 and 2020.

Click Here for Full Details

AIHC Training Opportunity Capturing and Coding Social Determinants of Health for Physicians and Hospitals

March 15, 2024

AIHC Training Opportunity Capturing and Coding Social Determinants of Health for Physicians and Hospitals

Are you up to date on coverage changes in Medicare? Consider registering for this short course, offered by the American Institute of Healthcare Compliance (AIHC).

Among several important coverage changes, Medicare now covers a Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Risk Assessment at no cost to the patient, when it’s provided as an optional Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) element as part of the same visit with the same date of service as the AWV.

Computer Requirements and Time Limits:

  • You will need high-speed internet, email and Adobe Reader
  • You will have access to the online AIHC course page for 90 days starting on your enrollment date
  • Course tuition includes access to the training page for 90 days
  • Online quizzes throughout the training
  • Certificate of completion is awarded with a minimum score of 80%

Cost: $45

Learn More

New Dashboard Helps Families and Health Care Workers Determine Bed Availability in Long-Term Care Settings

March 13, 2024

New Dashboard Helps Families and Health Care Workers Determine Bed Availability in Long-Term Care Settings

A new dashboard has been developed to assist Missourians in locating long-term care facilities with bed and service availability.

“This resource will assist individuals looking for long-term care placement options specific to their needs in their desired area of the state,” said Missouri Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Director, Jenny Hollandsworth.

Long-term care facilities, including all levels of care, are strongly encouraged to complete an electronic survey weekly to report how many beds they have available, and which resident needs they can serve, i.e., memory care, behavioral health, bariatric, etc.

The survey and dashboard can be found on the Long-Term Care Ombudsman website, along with instructional videos. Questions can be directed to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program at LTCOmbudsman@health.mo.gov.

New JRH Articles on Rural Breast Cancer Disparities, More

March 5, 2024

New JRH Articles on Rural Breast Cancer Disparities, More

The National Rural Health Association’s (NRHA’s) Journal of Rural Health (JRH) recently published new articles on the following topics:

Telehealth & Prescribing

February 7, 2024

Telehealth & Prescribing

On January 31, 2024, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized rules for the prescribing of buprenorphine through the use of telehealth.

In these final rules, opioid treatment programs (OTPs) will be able to use telehealth to prescribe buprenorphine without an in-person visit.

It is important to note that these final rules are not in regard to using telehealth to prescribe a controlled substance in general. This is a very specific rule that applies to OTPs and the use of telehealth to prescribe buprenorphine with some additional applications specifically to methadone.

The broader policy of using telehealth to prescribe controlled substances without an in-person visit (or meeting one of the narrow exceptions found in federal statute) still remains a temporary allowance through the end of 2024.

Read Full Details

Request for Information (RFI) on Severe Maternal Morbidity Measurement

February 7, 2024

Request for Information (RFI) on Severe Maternal Morbidity Measurement

The Agency for Healthcare, Research and Quality (AHRQ) released a Request for Information (RFI) on Severe Maternal Morbidity (SMM). AHRQ is seeking public input on the usability, feasibility and likely uptake of an SMM measure, produced through the Quality Indicators Program.

AHRQ invites stakeholders representing:

  • Consumers
  • State/Regional/Local Health Departments
  • Accountable Care Organizations
  • Community Health Centers
  • Birthing Centers
  • Providers/Health Systems
  • Critical Access/Rural Hospitals
  • Professional Associations
  • Payers
  • Rural and Community Groups
  • Community Health Groups
  • Community Health Workers
  • Doulas
  • Maternal Health Advocacy Groups
  • Researchers
  • Members of the Public

The comment period closes on March 4.

Still have questions? Please contact Judy George, Program Lead for AHRQ, judy.george@ahrq.hhs.gov

Submit comments to askahrq@ahrq.hhs.gov

Call for Questions – Physician Fee Schedule Webinar

January 30, 2024

Call for Questions – Physician Fee Schedule Webinar

The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) has coordinated with the Rural Health Information (RHI) Hub and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to hold a webinar on February 27, at 3 pm ET, to discuss the CY 2024 Physician Fee Schedule final rule.

This webinar will focus heavily on the community Health Integration Services and the Behavioral Health billing codes for Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT)/Mental Health Counselors (MHC). CMS will also review telehealth policies outlined in the PFS final rule.

FORHP is working to gather questions from rural stakeholders as CMS is developing the webinar in response to questions that are received.

Additional Information

Please submit questions by close of business, Thursday, February 1.

Submit Questions to Jemima Drake: jdrake@hrsa.gov

Registration for this webinar will be available soon.