Important hearings addressing rural health were held by Senate Labor HHS subcommittee last month.  Tom Morris and other rural stakeholders provided a briefing on rural health issues on May 7th.  To watch the briefing click here.

On Thursday, May 14th, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on improving care for Medicare patients with chronic conditions. Key questions were asked of witnesses.  Dr. Patrick Conway, of CMS and Mark E. Miller, Ph.D., Executive Director, Medicare Payment Advisory Commission on new payment models and how rural facilities can be better integrated and facilitate care.

A combined group of NOSORH leaders including the Policy Committee Chairs, FLEX Committee Chairs, the PPMT Chairs and other leaders have been working on ensuring rural needs are represented in any model for alternative payment, how SORH can respond to proposed payment changes and opportunities to provide education to small rural providers.

On last month’s Policy and PPMT committee calls there was discussion on how the MACRA legislation allows for funding of technical assistance to small practices, and authorizes transfer of $20 million.  The legislation named QIOs and regional extension centers as possible contractors for this work, but does not mention SORH.  NOSORH is drafting a fact sheet and a letter to the Secretary for SORH not to be overlooked as possible contractors for this work.  Aaron Fishbach, Policy Coordinator for FORHP shared information on MACRA and a regulatory update.   NOSORH has also submitted a response to the OIG on its swing bed report, the letter can be found on the NOSORH website.

There’s always a reason to let your congressional members know about the work of your State Office of Rural Health.  If you need information or assistance to convey the message about the importance of federal funding in your state to your federal legislators please contact Teryl Eisinger.

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