The Compliance Team Launches Swing Bed Certification

New Program Validates Quality of Transitional Care for Critical Access Hospitals

September 2021, Spring House, Pennsylvania – The Compliance Team (TCT), a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved accreditation organization, has develop and launched a new program in support of Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) serving rural communities across the country. The Swing Bed Certification Program ensures and validates that CAH’s are meeting all required policies and procedures and implementing best practices for transitional care.

Beta tested to ensure excellence in care, the Swing Bed Certification utilizes evidence-based care with swing bed specific patient satisfaction surveys that measure the quality of care being delivered. For CAH’s, the third party validation raises patient and community confidence, while certifying they are delivering the highest quality of transitional care.

“We recognize the challenges that CAH’s have with growing their transitional care business,” expressed Steve Simmerman, COO at The Compliance Team. “As a third party, our team is able to validate to the rural community that they will receive high-quality care right in their hometown. Why would you want to go to a facility potentially 50 or more miles away?”

Traditionally, patients seeking transitional care would utilize a long-term care facility or SNF that is located in a larger city and away from their local support system — family and friends. Now these same patients not only receive care in their community, but they will also receive a higher level of care.

“Working with TCT, we were able to truly focus on best practices for transitional care. Their outside perspective and in-depth expertise helped us to develop a comprehensive care program,” stated Kirsten Faessler, COO at Lexington Regional Health Center. “Swing Bed Certification is essential to validating to our rural community that we are the best choice for transitional care and right here in their hometown.”

For more information on The Compliance Team’s clinic programs, go to www.TheComplianceTeam.org or call 215-654-9110.

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

Date: October 7, 2021

HRSA Payment Program for Buprenorphine-Trained Clinicians. In June of this year, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) launched an effort to improve access to substance use disorder treatment by paying for clinicians who are cleared to prescribe buprenorphine, a medication used to treat opioid use disorder. Rural Health Clinics still have the opportunity to apply for a $3,000 payment for each clinician 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.

CDC Seeking Public Input on Work-Related Stress for Health Workers – Comment by November 26. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seeks information on best practices and promising practices for the positive mental health and well-being of health workers. The feedback will be used to inform interventions under development by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. 

CDC’s COVIDVaxView: A Data Dashboard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched an interactive tool for exploring data on COVID-19 vaccination coverage, uptake, and intention by a variety of different factors, including urban, suburban, and rural location. The data supplement the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker

GAO on FCC Efforts to Map Broadband Scarcity. In 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was tasked with collecting data on the availability of broadband services across the U.S.  For this report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) interviewed stakeholders at the state and local levels to find challenges for the FCC, which include conflicting and missing data. 

REGISTRATION OPEN: Advancing Equity in Maternal & Infant Health

Learning Series:  Advancing Equity in Maternal & Infant Health

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA), Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health invite you to a learning series on Advancing Equity in Maternal & Infant Health.

This three-part series will define health equity, highlight disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes among disproportionally affected populations in Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska), and identify systemic issues that are contributing to these health disparities. The sessions will engage participants in interactive discussions to identify strategies to improve maternal and infant health equity among communities of color and marginalized and rural populations, as well as strategies for addressing systemic issues in health care organizations that may adversely impact maternal and infant health.

Session Dates and Times

  • Session 1: November 2, 2021 | 2 pm  – 3 pm CT
  • Session 2: December 7, 2021 | 2 pm  – 3 pm CT
  • Session 3: January 11, 2022  | 2 pm  – 3 pm CT

Topics at a Glance

  • Define health equity and health disparities in the context of maternal and infant health.
  • Discuss maternal and infant health data in Region 7 including maternal mortality, severe maternal morbidity, preterm birth rates, and infant mortality.
  • Identify systemic issues that contribute to disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes in Region 7.
  • Identify strategies to improve health equity among communities of color and marginalized and rural populations. 
  • Identify strategies for addressing systemic issues in health care organizations that adversely impact maternal and infant health.

Featured Speakers

  • Elizabeth Lewis, MPA, WHNP-BC, MSN, BSN, RN, Director of Maternal & Infant Health Initiatives, March of Dimes
  • Christian I.J. Minter, MSLIS, Manager of Maternal & Infant Health Initiatives, March of Dimes

Register for the webinar here. Registration for this series is limited and each webinar in the series builds on the previous session. Participants are asked to commit to attending all three sessions in the series. After registering, you will receive the confirmation email containing information about joining the learning series.

For questions about the series, please contact Rae Hutchison at CHutchison@hrsa.gov.

NoFO Announcement: Graduate Psychology Education Program

New Funding Opportunity Available!

Graduate Psychology Education Program: HRSA-22-043

The application deadline is December 9, 2021

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released this new Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) announcement to train doctoral health service psychology students, interns, and post-doctoral residents to provide quality interdisciplinary, integrated behavioral health including but not limited to Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and other Substance Use Disorders (SUD) into community-based primary care settings in high need and high demand areas. The Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) Program also supports faculty development of health service psychologists.

Through these efforts, the GPE Program transforms clinical training environments and is aligned with HRSA’s mission to improve health and achieve health equity through access to quality services, a skilled workforce, and innovative programs.

Up to 55 grantees will receive a total of approximately $25 million to increase the number of trained doctoral health service psychology students, interns, and post-doctoral residents providing quality interdisciplinary, integrated behavioral health for placement into community-based primary care settings.

Visit Grants.gov to apply.

Have questions?

Join the technical assistance webinar:

Date: October 12, 2021 Time: 2:30 – 4:00 PM ET

This webinar will provide information about the NOFO application and requirements.

For dial-in only:

  • Phone Number: 833 568 8864
  • Meeting ID: 160 071 4471

Passcode: 56583375

National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health: Rural Telementoring Training Center: Virtual Launch

Join RTTC’s Virtual Launch Week: RISE for Rural Telementoring

On October 25-29, join the national Rural Telementoring Training Center (RTTC) for the virtual launch of Resources, Information, Support, and Education – RISE for Rural Telementoring.

This week celebrates the release of an array of tools and resources to support the implementation and evaluation of telementoring for rural health care. Over the course of five days, the RTTC will host multiple virtual events to highlight the theme of Emerging Voices in Rural Telementoring, including a photography competition, micro-lectures from leaders in telementoring, and stories from community members and rural health workers.

Join for discussion, connection, and community! All events are virtual and free to attend.

Register: https://redcap.link/RTTCLaunch

Visit the RTTC: www.ruraltelementoring.org

National Rural Health Association

National Rural Health Association (NRHA) now accepting Health Equity Conference presentations, posters

Regardless of the wide-ranging interests and professions of NRHA members, one thing that binds us as rural health stakeholders is the responsibility to ensure the existence of health equity for all members of our communities.

NRHA’s Health Equity Conference, one of the only meetings in the nation to focus on health equity issues in rural America, is May 10 in Albuquerque, N.M.

This conference, coordinated by NRHA’s Health Equity Council, is designed for those who are dedicated to bringing quality health care and health care services to underserved and often under-represented populations, including LGBTQIA+, veteran, and homeless rural residents as well as multiracial and multicultural members of rural communities.

Submit abstracts

Consider submitting a presentation proposal or research poster to contribute to this one of a kind event in 2022. Presentations are due by the deadline of Dec. 9 and posters are due by Feb. 10.

And plan to join NRHA and rural health leaders from across the country in the Land of Enchantment to help raise the standard for rural health with over 80 innovative, practical, and cost-saving sessions and much more.

New Data Highlight on Z Codes Now Available

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) released a new data highlight: Utilization of Z Codes for Social Determinants of Health among Medicare Fee-for-Service Beneficiaries, 2019

Z codes are a set of ICD-10-CM codes used to report social, economic, and environmental determinants known to affect health and health-related outcomes. Nine broad categories of Z codes represent various hazardous social, economic, and environmental conditions. Z codes can be used in any health setting and by any provider as a tool for identifying a range of issues related to education and literacy, employment, housing, ability to obtain adequate amounts of food or safe drinking water, and occupational exposure to toxic agents, dust, or radiation.

The data highlight found that among the 33.1 million continuously enrolled Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiaries in 2019, 1.59% had claims with Z codes, an increase as compared to 1.31% in 2016.

Findings include:

  • The 5 most-utilized Z codes included those for homelessness, disappearance and death of family member, problems related to living alone, problems related to living in a residential institution, and problems in relationship with spouse or partner.
  • Beneficiaries who are dually eligible for Medicare and full-benefit Medicaid were overrepresented among the top 5 Z code claims.
  • Beneficiaries in rural areas were overrepresented (39.7%) among those coded as having problems related to living in a residential institution claim.
  • Male beneficiaries who accounted for 45.4% of the overall FFS population represented 67.1% of those with a homelessness claim.
  • Black and Hispanic beneficiaries accounted for 8.8% and 5.9% of the overall FFS population, respectively, but represented 24.8% and 9.2%, respectively, of those with a homelessness claim.
  • The top 5 provider types representing the largest proportions of those assigning Z codes to claims were family practice physicians, internal medicine physicians, nurse practitioners, psychiatry physicians, and licensed clinical social workers.

Using social determinants of health Z codes can enhance quality improvement activities, track factors that influence people’s health, and provide further insight into existing health inequities.

Looking for more information on Z Codes? Review the guide Using Z Codes: The Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Data Journey to Better Outcomes, which provides step-by-step instructions for healthcare professionals on how to use Z codes.

For more CMS OMH health equity-focused resources, visit: go.cms.gov/omh.