Disability Nondiscrimination Laws Apply to People with “Long COVID”

August 3, 2021

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Justice jointly published guidance on how disability nondiscrimination laws apply to people with “long COVID” who may be newly covered because of the impact of the COVID-19 infection. The guidance discusses when long COVID may be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal civil rights laws. The White House shared the guidance, along with a directory of resources available through programs funded by the Administration for Community Living, as part of a comprehensive package of resources for people with disabilities, including those with long COVID and other post-COVID conditions.

CMS Final Rule Improves Health Equity, Access to Treatment, Hospital Readiness, and COVID-19 Vaccination Data Reporting of Hospital Workers

August 2, 2021

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking action to drive value-based, person-centered care and promote sustainability and readiness to respond to future Public Health Emergencies (PHEs) in our nation’s hospitals through the Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System/Long Term Care Hospital (LTCH) Prospective Payment System final rule.

The final rule, effective October 1, 2021, authorizes additional payments for diagnostics and therapies to treat COVID-19 during the current PHE, and beyond. The rule revises payment policies, as well as policies under certain quality and value-based purchasing programs for hospitals to lessen the adverse impacts of the pandemic. Some of these changes will incentivize the meaningful use of certified Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology that will help public health officials monitor for future unplanned events.

“How Medicare pays for hospital care and evaluates quality, are integral pieces of achieving and addressing gaps in health equity and strengthening our health care system for a more sustainable future. CMS is moving forward to incorporate what we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic in order to improve quality and increase transparency so that patients are positioned to make informed decisions about their care,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “With this final rule, we are further improving how we measure and evaluate data while investing in quality care for people that rely on Medicare for coverage.”

CMS also finalized a number of other Medicare payment rules including for skilled nursing facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, inpatient psychiatric facilities, and hospice providers. Using lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, these final rules will enact policies that will further protect and deliver better care to Medicare beneficiaries. These payment rules finalized new quality measures to give beneficiaries and their families better insights into the quality of care rendered at hospice facilities and vaccination reporting of facility staff.

Improving Health Equity:

In an effort to advance equity through the quality reporting measurement, CMS solicited feedback on opportunities to leverage diverse data sets such as race, ethnicity, Medicare/Medicaid dual eligible status, disability status, LGBTQ+, and socioeconomic status. The agency received more than 200 comments, reflecting the importance stakeholders place on this Biden-Harris Administration priority. CMS will consider the feedback it received to inform future actions.

“Standardization of equity data to improve hospital data collection is just one more way CMS will lead the national conversation on improving health equity,” said Brooks-LaSure. “CMS will use these comments and innovate on quality measures to help identify health equity data. We’re also measuring hospital initiatives to improve maternal health outcomes as we work to reduce disparities in maternal morbidity.”

Addressing the maternal health crisis and improving maternal health is a priority to advance health equity and a quality improvement goal for CMS. To that end, CMS is adding a Maternal Morbidity measure to the hospital quality reporting program that would require hospitals to report whether they participate in statewide or national efforts to improve perinatal health, known as Quality Improvement initiatives. Many of the factors contributing to maternal morbidity are preventable and differentially impact women of color. This measure is an important initial step toward implementation of patient safety practices to reduce maternal morbidity, and in turn, maternal mortality.

CMS is also adopting a measure that requires hospitals and LTCHs to report COVID-19 vaccination rates of workers in their facilities. Having access to information about COVID-19 vaccination rates among health care personnel will help patients, caregivers, and their communities make informed decisions when seeking care from hospitals, cancer centers, and LTCHs.  

Ensuring Access to Life-Saving Diagnostics and Therapeutics:

In November 2020, CMS established the New COVID-19 Treatments Add-on Payment (NCTAP) to encourage hospitals to provide new COVID-19 treatments during the PHE. CMS is finalizing its proposal to extend the NCTAP for certain eligible technologies through the end of the fiscal year in which the PHE ends to continue to encourage these new treatments and to minimize any potential payment disruption immediately following the end of the PHE. These products include currently approved hospital treatments. Providing these therapies to COVID-19 patients early can help reduce hospital stays and deaths.

Sustaining Hospital Readiness to Respond to Future Public Health Threats:

Strengthening public health functions through methods such as early warning surveillance, case surveillance, and vaccine uptake increases information available to the public and helps hospitals better serve their patients. CMS continues its ongoing response to the PHE and future health threats by promoting the meaningful use of certified EHR IT to report data that supports public health efforts. Specifically, CMS is modifying the Promoting Interoperability Program for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals to expand required reporting within the Public Health and Clinical Data Exchange Objective.

The final rule requires hospitals to attest they are in active engagement with public health agency to submit data for measures related to nationwide surveillance for early warning of emerging outbreaks and threats; automated case and laboratory reporting for rapid public health response; and visibility on immunization coverage so public health agencies can tailor vaccine distribution strategies. Hospital reporting of the measures will support public health agencies as they prepare to respond to both future health threats and long-term COVID-19 recovery. 

More Information:

Webinar: Measuring the Economic Importance of Health Care in Rural Communities

Date: August 23, 2021

Time: 2:00 PM CT

In Measuring the Economic Importance of Health Care in Rural Communities, the Center for Economic Analysis of Rural Health and the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health will explore the traditional models used to measure the economic contribution of health care to rural places. In addition, the presenters will provide best practices for communicating the value of health care institutions to key stakeholders. Check the flyer for more information.

This webinar is intended for State Offices of Rural Health, hospital and clinic administrators, rural public health leadership and other interested parties.

With support from HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), the Center for Economic Analysis of Rural Health (CEARH) at the University of Kentucky is designed to build the capacity of local leaders to ensure the sustainability of the rural health economy and continued access to quality healthcare for rural communities. NOSORH is proud to partner with CEARH in furthering their goal and building resources for a variety of rural health stakeholders as they enter their second year of funding.

Webinar: Compliance with Hospital Price Transparency Final Rule: 8 Steps to a Machine-Readable File

Date: August 11, 2021

Time: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Effective January 1, 2021, each hospital operating in the United States is now required to provide publicly accessible standard charge information online about the items and services they provide in 2 ways:

  • Comprehensive machine-readable file with all items and services
  • Display of 300 shoppable services in a consumer-friendly format

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will host a webinar on Price Transparency focusing on how hospitals can meet the requirements of the Hospital Price Transparency Final Rule for posting standard charge information in the comprehensive machine-readable file. CMS will review the document “8 Steps to a Machine-Readable File of All Items & Services” and highlight specific good and bad examples of hospital compliance.

Please use the following link to register in advance for this webinar: https://cms.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_yWgu0qHkTearA3v7Cq885g.

The accompanying presentation will be available at www.cms.gov/hospital-price-transparency/resources approximately one week prior to the webinar. For additional information regarding hospital price transparency, please review the information on our website at www.cms.gov/hospital-price-transparency including the following resources.

Feedback and questions regarding the Hospital Price Transparency Final Rule can be sent to: PriceTransparencyHospitalCharges@cms.hhs.gov. CMS looks forward to your participation.

Participation Instructions:
Please use the following link to register in advance for this webinar:
https://cms.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_yWgu0qHkTearA3v7Cq885g

Meeting ID: 160 926 0288
Passcode: 971693
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. 
US: +1 669 254 5252 or +1 646 828 7666 or 833 568 8864 (Toll Free)

Webinar ID: 160 926 0288
Passcode: 971693

Note: TTY Communications Relay Services are available for the Hearing Impaired. For TTY services dial 7-1-1 or 1-800-855-2880. A Relay Communications Assistant will help.
The accompanying presentation will be available at www.cms.gov/hospital-price-transparency/resources approximately one week prior to the webinar.

A transcript and recording of this webinar will be posted to the Podcast and Transcripts website at www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach/… for downloading.

Community Care Network of Kansas 2021 Annual Conference: Emerging Stronger Together

Date: September 20-23, 2021

Please join Community Care Network of Kansas for the 2021 Annual Conference. For the second year in a row, the conference will be virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID still presents many challenges – however, there is a sense of optimism that we are making progress in our fight against this devastating virus. With multiple effective vaccines available, and with tools such as masking, testing, social distancing, and contact tracing at our disposal, we look toward a brighter future where we emerge from the pandemic stronger and with greater resolve.

Four powerful days of sessions will feature national, state and regional experts guiding attendees to higher levels of understanding related to comprehensive healthcare systems. There will be profound insights for providers, administrators and support staff; tools to support resiliency and self-care; and thought-provoking discussions on ethics and equity in healthcare. The conference is committed to professional development, and personal growth. 

Click to view Brochure.

Click to Register – deadline September 10, 2021.

FREE WEBINAR: Using Energy as the Currency to Fund Your Infrastructure Projects

The Missouri Office of Rural Health and Primary Care has partnered with Siemens to provide a free webinar for Missouri’s rural hospitals: Using Energy as the Currency to Fund Your Infrastructure Projects

Date: August 23, 2021

Time: 11:00 AM – 11:45 AM

Target audience: Hospital system c-suite leadership/ Executive Teams

Topic Summary: Healthcare organizations face considerable challenges including access to capital, governmental mandates, personnel shortages, and patient satisfaction among others.

Your infrastructure is an asset that can be leveraged to increase revenue, reduce operating costs, change attitudes, and produce positive public relations.

By looking at a Total Energy Management approach, this session will outline strategies on how to Reduce energy demand and operating costs; Produce on-site energy generation; Procure energy at the lowest cost; Protect your infrastructure investments and Promote culture change and excitement with your employees and in your community.

Microsoft Teams meeting

Join on your computer or mobile app

Click here to join the meeting.

Call in (audio only): +1 323-457-5927,,624373071# United States, Los Angeles

 

FREE CAH QUALITY WEBINARS: CAH Annual/Biennial Review & Quality 101 for Department Managers

The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, through the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex) has partnered with Canopy Associates to provide Missouri’s Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) with two FREE follow up webinars to the QAPI workshops offered in Macon and Salem in June.

The CAH Annual/Biennial Review

August 4, 2021

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

This webinar will provide:

  • Key components to meet the SOM requirements
  • Create tracking tool/gap analysis metrics and data collection
  • Evaluate CAHPS data and impact for review/performance

Audience: All staff members that are part of the annual review process.

Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/97376086795?pwd=VDNOQXdEVHI3UXZzMGRYaXBkbUptZz09

  • Meeting ID: 973 7608 6795
  • Passcode: 811245
  • One tap mobile
  • +13126266799,,97376086795#,,,,*811245# US (Chicago)
  • +16465588656,,97376086795#,,,,*811245# US (New York)

Quality 101 for Department Managers

August 5, 2021

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

This webinar will provide:

  • Insight to requirements of QAPI and the department manager role in providing quality data/outcomes
  • Understanding of surveyor inquiries to staff engagement in quality
  • Oversight into the State Operations Manual and where guidance is located

Audience: All department managers.

Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/92834773177?pwd=ZlFab1ViTlFUeWFNekYxNzgrWEJXQT09

  • Meeting ID: 928 3477 3177
  • Passcode: 637024
  • One tap mobile
  • +13126266799,,92834773177#,,,,*637024# US (Chicago)
  • +16465588656,,92834773177#,,,,*637024# US (New York

Both webinars will be recorded and made available along with the slide deck.

 

Webinar: DATA 2000 Waiver Training Payment Program

Date: July 29, 2021

Time: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM CT

Click to Register. 

This presentation will provide information about HRSA’s new DATA 2000 Waiver Training Payment Program. Authorized by the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, Section 6083, this program provides Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) the opportunity to apply for a $3,000 payment for each eligible employed provider who attained a Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA 2000) waiver on or after January 1, 2019. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is now accepting applications for payment from RHCs and FQHCs employing eligible buprenorphine waivered providers. There is no deadline to apply, but available funds are limited and will be paid on a first-come, first-served basis. HRSA will accept applications and process payments until all available funds are exhausted. Presenters will share information about how to apply to the program and provide answers to frequently asked questions.

Presented by: National Association of Rural Health Clinics

Moderator: Nathan Baugh

Speakers:

  • Sarah Potter, Director for the Office of Performance & Quality Measurement within HRSA’s off of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation.
  • Elisa H. Gladstone, Deputy Director of HRSA’s Office Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation