NOSORH continues to remain engaged on new Technical Assistance contract opportunities for State Offices regarding MIPS (Merit Based Incentive Payment System) and APM (Alternative Payment Models). CMS has recently released a Request for Information or RFI soliciting feedback on how they should evaluate the bids for these contracts. NOSORH will be responding to this RFI later in October. The timeline for the finalization of the form and structure of these TA contracts is unknown, but we hope to have more information from CMS before the end of the year.

In Washington, the possibility of a government shutdown was averted, at least temporarily, due to the resignation of Speaker John Boehner and corresponding agreement by the freedom caucus to vote for a so-called “clean” Continuing Resolution (CR). CRs fund the government through a specified date and require most program funding to remain level from the year before. The new deadline for a shutdown is December 12th as the temporary CR funds government activity through December 11. It is important to note that State Offices are funded through June 2016 and will continue to receive grant money even if there is a temporary shutdown this winter.

Meanwhile, NOSORH is preparing two letters, one for the House and another for the Senate, to comment on proposed pieces of legislation. These letters also highlight NOSORH’s highest policy priority: increasing the appropriation line for State Offices of Rural Health to $15 million a year. The House letter includes comments on both the Save Rural Hospitals Act (H.R. 3225) and the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act (H.R. 2948) and is pending review by the board. The Senate letter will follow shortly thereafter.

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