Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

August 13, 2020

CMS: Community Health Access and Rural Transformation Model.  Called CHART for short, this new model from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) aims to change the way the federal government pays for health care in rural areas through two separate tracks: 1)  For the Community Transformation Track, CMS will select 15 Lead Organizations to create Transformation Plans that coordinate care across communities defined as rural by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. CMS anticipates the Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Community Transformation Track will be available in September 2020. 2) For the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Transformation Track, CMS will select up to 20 rural-focused ACOs to receive financial incentives for value-based payment (based on patient outcomes) rather than fee-for-service (based on type and quantity of treatment). CMS expects to release a Request for Applicants for the ACO Transformation Track in spring of 2021.

CMS Report to Congress: Reducing Telehealth Barriers for Pediatric Medicaid Populations. The report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) outlines state-level policy that can reduce barriers to using telehealth for treating substance use disorders (SUDs) among pediatric Medicaid populations.  Medicaid coverage and state laws regarding telehealth vary by state, so this report highlights how delivering care to children with SUD differs between telehealth and in-person visits in terms of costs and quality of care.  While the field is still emerging, there are promising practices that could improve access to care where options for SUD treatment is limited. 

HHS Coronavirus Data Hub. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) launched a website in July with data on the COVID-19 response at federal, state, and local levels. The hub includes estimated and reported hospital capacity by state, with numbers updated daily.

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy FAQs for COVID-19. A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from our grantees and stakeholders, updated regularly. 

COVID-19 FAQs and Funding for HRSA Programs. Find all funding and frequently asked questions for programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

CDC COVID-19 Updates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides daily updates and guidance, including a section specific to rural health care, and a Toolkit for Tribal Communities. New this week: tracking data to protect pregnant women and their babies. 

GHPC’s Collection of Rural Health Strategies for COVID-19. With support from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), the Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) provides reports, guidance, and innovative strategies gleaned from their technical assistance and peer learning sessions with FORHP grantees.

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases, Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Counties. The RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis provides up-to-date data and maps on rural and urban confirmed cases throughout the United States. An animated map shows the progression of cases beginning January 21.

Rural Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019. The Rural Health Information Hub posted a guide to help you learn about activities underway to address COVID-19. Now including Rural Healthcare Surge Readiness a tool with resources for healthcare systems preparing for and responding to a COVID-19 surge in patients.