Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcement

April 29, 2021

Comments Requested: Proposed Changes to Medicare Payments to Hospitals – June 28. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released proposed updates to how Medicare reimburses acute care hospitals, Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals, and Critical Access Hospitals. There are proposals on how to implement new Graduate Medicare Education (GME) provisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, including how to distribute additional GME slots for rural residency training programs. The proposed rule also includes two Requests for Information: one on ways to attain health equity for all patients, and the other on the use of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standards to digitally submit quality information.

Population Health in Rural America in 2020: Proceedings of a Workshop. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report their findings on rural demographics and social determinants of health, data challenges, tribal health, and rural health policy. The next workshop, taking place in June, will examine the relationship between civic engagement and health equity.

NCHS Data Brief: Influenza Vaccination Rates for Children, 2019. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) finds that just over one-half of children in the United States aged 6 months through 17 years had an influenza vaccination during the year studied. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there were more than 45,000 flu-related hospitalizations, and more than 400 deaths, for children and youth during the 2018-2019 influenza season. Across all age groups (6 months to 4 years; 5-11 years; 12-17 years), children living in rural areas had the lowest influenza vaccination coverage.