NOSORH is continuing to promote SORHs as eligible entities to provide Technical Assistance on MIPS (Merit Based Incentive Payment System) in rural areas. This is a real opportunity for SORHs to expand their efforts and help rural providers prepare for and adopt the payment models of the future. As a refresher, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act included $20 million dollars a year for the next five years in mandatory spending for Technical Assistance contracts.  This assistance must be provided to “MIPS eligible professionals” in practices with “15 or fewer professionals” with priority given to rural, HPSA, and MUA. The technical assistance is intended to help these small practices improve their MIPS scores or adopt Alternative Payment Models.

SORHs are well equipped to provide the assistance described above. As such, NOSORH has been making the case for SORHs to receive these contracts to both Congress and HHS. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and his staff were successful in getting the following language inserted into the Labor/HHS appropriations bill report:

Technical Assistance for Priority Areas –The Committee notes that the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 authorizes the Secretary to provide technical assistance on the Merit-based Incentive Payment System to eligible professionals with a priority given to practices located in rural, medically underserved, or health professional shortage areas. Due to their extensive experience working with providers in rural and underserved areas, the Committee highlights the significance of the State Offices of Rural Health and their ability to provide this type of guidance.

While the above language bolsters our argument that SORHs should get these Technical Assistance contracts, it will be up to the Department of Health and Human Services to decide how they want to award these contracts.  NOSORH will offer an upcoming webinar on MIPS to prepare for this potential opportunity. NOSORH is taking a cautiously optimistic approach on this and will be monitoring developments at HHS as they release more specifics.

Learn more about MIPS during the webinar on August 19th at 2-3 pm ET.

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