The NOSORH Policy Committee is open to any member of NOSORH who has an interest in learning more about national policy issues and being engaged in the policy activities of the organization. The Committee is responsible for tracking policy issues of interest to NOSORH and coordinating policy communication and educational activities for the organization. Co-Chair Lisa Davis summarizes, “The Policy Committee is one of the longest standing NOSORH committees and addresses a wide range of issues at the national level as well as disseminates information to SORHs on policy issues that impact the delivery of rural health care services in the states. The committee also works closely with other national partners to further the collective rural health voice in national policy, legislation, and regulation.”
The Policy Committee typically meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 2pm EST for a Washington update, an FORHP update and to focus on our policy goals. Co-Chair Mark Schoenbaum shares, “The committee includes both new and longtime members, and it’s a good way for members to keep up on policy issues and try their hand at advocacy and policy analysis on behalf of all SORHs.” For more information about the committee or to join the committee, please contact that Policy Committee Chairs Lisa Davis or Mark Schoenbaum.
In February, the committee discussed their participation in the National Rural Health Association’s Policy Institute and lauded the NRHA effort. Several SORH on the call reported about their hill visits and a genuine understanding of the need to stop funding cuts to rural facilities and some interest in supporting increased appropriation for State Offices of Rural Health. NOSORH wants to hear from every SORH or their partners about their ability to reach out to their congressional delegation to continue the efforts that began during the Policy Institute. A survey was sent to SORH directors to gather this information. Please respond by March 6th. Results will be reported in next month’s Branch.
Also discussed on the February Policy Committee call, FORHP provided regulatory updates on CAH/RHC PQRS Participation; CMS 2016 Essential Community Providers List that includes RHCs; CMS updates on State Operations Manual for CAHs, RHCs, FQHCs and other providers; and the need for certification of CAH Necessary Providers. Click here for more information shared during the call.
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The West Virginia Flex Program partners closely with the West Virginia Hospital Association Critical Access Hospital Network (WVHA CAH Network) to help improve quality and financial performance for all 20 CAHs throughout West Virginia. The Network developed ten years ago through a HRSA Network Development Grant and has continued to thrive ever since. According to Shawn Balleydier, Assistant Director of the West Virginia Office of Rural Health, “this is the best thing that has happened to the Flex Program in West Virginia.” Balleydier works closely with Network Director Dianna Iobst to ensure that the quality and financial improvement needs of CAHs are met.
Communication is key to ensure the continued success of the Network. Balleydier and Iobst meet regularly to discuss progress and next steps. They also meet monthly with CAHs by phone and make sure they conduct at least one on-site visit each year to provide technical assistance for any of the program areas. CAHs are truly engaged with the direction of the Network. According to Iobst, “sometimes all they need is a facilitator and someone to handle the meeting logistics.” She continued, “We recently had a CFO retreat that was a big success that will become an annual event. Additionally, several CAHs want to start a CPSI user group similar to our Infection Control Network, so we will help them facilitate.”
Current projects include Peer Review, Balanced Scorecard and MBQIP. WV has 100% CAH participation in MBQIP. They are reporting on all MBQIP measures and are in the process of collecting data for Phase 3 implementation. There are challenges to overcome, so the Network will focus the 2015 CAH site visits on MBQIP technical assistance. The Network’s goal is to find out how they can help CAHs move the bar toward better performance improvement. Other initiatives in 2015 include developing new financial best practices after WV’s successful Medicaid expansion.
Does your SORH have a “Promising Practice”? We’re interested in the innovative, effective and valuable work that SORHs are doing. Contact Kassie Clarke, Branch editor, at email@example.com to set up a short email or phone interview in which you can tell your story.
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The Rural Health Research & Policy Centers (RHRC) is hosting a free webinar: Change in Profitability and Financial Distress of Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) from Loss of Cost-Based Reimbursement
Date: Friday, September 19, 2014
Time: 2:00pm ET
Speakers: Mark Holmes, PhD and George H. Pink, PhD from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Center
Information and registration for the webinar is available at: http://www.ruralhealthresearch.org/webinars/critical-access-hospitals
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