The Center was created especially to provide specialized assistance and services for our state’s rural hospitals. This MHA Front Page is for our members seeking the latest news affecting rural and critical access hospitals.
Find tips and tools for finding rural-specific and local level statistics, as well as a collection of data sources focused on rural healthcare services, health status, demographics, and social determinants of health.
New waived testing requirements that address policies, staff competency, quality control and documentation of test results will be effective January 1, 2015 for critical access hospitals. Because critical access hospitals offer many of the same services as small and rural hospitals, The Joint Commission determined that they should comply with the same standards to ensure patient safety and quality of care.
Feedback from the field review of these standards – as well as from conference calls with stakeholders – indicated that most critical access hospitals are already using established structures and processes to address these requirements. The waived testing requirements will be included in the new Waived Testing (WT) chapter in the Comprehensive Accreditation ManualforCritical Access Hospitals that will appear in the fall 2014 E-dition® update as well as 2014 Update 2.
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pilot program offering timely, quality health care to rural veterans is being allowed to expire in a few months, even as major legislation moves through both houses of Congress that would have similar goals as the pilot program. Read more from Kaiser Health News here.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on June 12 issued a notice extending the Medicare low-volume payment adjustment and Medicare-Dependent Hospital program for the second half of fiscal year 2014 (April 1 through Sept. 30, 2014), as required by the Pathway for SGR Reform Act. To qualify for the low-volume adjustment for discharges on or after April 1, a hospital must be at least 15 miles from the nearest inpatient prospective payment system hospital and have fewer than 1,600 Medicare discharges annually.
Hospitals that qualified for the adjustment for the first half of FY 2014 and still meet the mileage criterion will continue to receive the adjustment without reapplying. Others must notify their Medicare Administrative Contractor before June 30 and provide documentation that they meet the mileage criterion to receive the adjustment.
Hospitals that were classified as MDHs as of March 31 will be automatically reinstated as MDHs effective April 1, unless they were reclassified as a sole community hospital or asked to cancel their rural classification.
Englewood, Colo.-based Catholic Health Initiatives, which has 93 acute-care facilities, boasts 24 critical access hospitals in its system — the largest number in the nation. And as senior vice president and division executive officer for the Fargo, N.D., division of Catholic Health Initiatives, Jeffrey Drop oversees 12 of the 24 critical access hospitals, seven in North Dakota and five in Minnesota.
Here, Mr. Drop addresses the challenges facing critical access hospitals and providing care in rural areas in general, including physician recruitment and telemedicine use.
Network participation and system affiliation represent two viable ways for hospitals to build and/or access necessary capacities to engage in the transformation to an integrated, patient-centered, pay-for-value model of care delivery. This policy brief tracks trends in network participation and system affiliation among U.S. general community hospitals from 2007 to 2012.
Network participation increased in larger hospitals, non-government not-for-profit hospitals, and metropolitan hospitals. System affiliation generally increased in hospitals of all sizes and types. However, there are notably higher percentages of system affiliation among midsized and large hospitals, investor-owned hospitals, and metropolitan hospitals compared to their counterparts.
There are rumblings that federal lawmakers may be willing to repeal Medicare's burdensome rule requiring physicians in critical access hospitals to make an educated guess that the patients they're admitting will be either discharged or transferred in less than four days. Read more here.
Almost 50 million people, or about 16 percent of the population of the United States, live in rural areas. These rural areas are defined as those outside of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs).
MSAs are urban areas with more than 50,000 residents and surrounding suburbs. The populations of rural areas have different demographics, health needs and insurance coverage profiles than their urban counterparts, which means that Medicaid and Marketplace coverage reforms in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may affect the two populations differently.
In particular, rural populations tend to have high shares of low-to-moderate-income individuals, those who are in the target population for ACA coverage reforms. However, nearly two-thirds of uninsured people in rural areas live in a state that is not currently implementing the Medicaid expansion, meaning they are disproportionally affected by state decisions about ACA implementation.
As a result, uninsured rural individuals may have fewer affordable coverage options moving forward. This brief examines these differences in populations and coverage patterns and assesses how ACA coverage reforms will affect rural and metropolitan areas in different ways.
Mendal Kemp serves as the director of MHA's Center for Rural Health and is the Rural Hospital Flexibility Coordinator. He is a veteran health care facility administrator and regulator. He is charged with helping Mississippi's rural hospitals with strategic planning and performance improvement. He can be reached at (800) 289-8884, (601) 368-3384 or firstname.lastname@example.org.