C-TAC News

The Blog to Transform Advanced Care

Advancing Care through Innovation, Observation and Collaboration.

CMS Announces Initiative to Transform Rural Health

Earlier this week, CMS announced a new model, the Community Health Access and Rural Transformation (CHART) Model, which aims to address the healthcare disparities faced by Americans living in rural communities. The model is intended to provide a way for rural communities to transform their health care delivery systems by leveraging innovative financial arrangements as well as operational and regulatory flexibilities. Based on early analysis, the CHART model will likely provide additional opportunities for serious illness providers to participate in innovative value-based payment arrangements.

The Model aims to:

  • Increase financial stability for rural providers through the use of new ways of reimbursing providers that provide up-front investments and predictable, capitated payments that pay for quality and patient outcomes. C-TAC applauds CMMI’s focus on value-based payment of this kind, which creates a systemic foundation to support patients and families to receive high quality care. Upfront payments are particularly critical for rural-based serious illness providers, who traditionally have experienced challenges raising capital to support necessary care care delivery infrastructure.
  • Remove regulatory burden by providing waivers that increase operational and regulatory flexibility for rural providers
  • Enhance beneficiaries’ access to health care services by ensuring rural providers remain financially sustainable for years to come and can offer additional services such as those that address social determinants of health including food and housing. C-TAC is especially excited about the model’s intentional focus on these non-medical services, as one of our strategic policy priorities is advocating for care models that provide people with the support to meet all their needs, including social, spiritual, and medical ones. It takes a shift in mindset to include the entire “medical neighborhood,” or community where a person receives care and support. This type of framework includes models where a person’s primary medical team and network of other clinicians provide health care services to people within it; models to support community and social service organizations’ integration into plans of care; engagement efforts with trade associations, payers and purchasers; and public-private partnerships with state and local public health agencies. The CHART model has the potential to serve as a powerful lever to move this work forward in communities of need. For additional information on the model, see here for CMS’ fact sheet and here for the CMMI model website.

Other Updates:

HHS Now Accepting Additional Applicants for Provider Relief Fund Phase 2 General Distribution

Late last month, HHS announced an extended application deadline for certain Medicare providers to apply for additional Provider Relief Fund payments. The announcement also specified that certain providers who experienced a change in ownership, and were therefore ineligible for Phase 1 funding, will also be given an opportunity to apply for financial relief.
As of August 10, eligible providers may now submit their applications to receive additional funds. The extended application period will end on August 28, 2020.

Opportunity to Comment on AHRQ Research Protocol on Ambulatory Palliative Care

The purpose of this review is to evaluate effectiveness and implementation of interventions for integrating palliative care into ambulatory care for patients with serious life-threatening chronic illness or conditions other than cancer and their caregivers.

AHRQ is encouraging the public to participate in the development of their research projects. Available for comment until September 18, 2020. See here to access the systemic review draft for more information.

Senators Eye Telehealth Licensure Freedom During COVID-19 Emergency

A bill introduced this week would allow healthcare providers in good standing to use telehealth to treat patients in any state during the coronavirus pandemic. More specifically, Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) this week unveiled the Temporary Reciprocity to Ensure Access to Treatment (TREAT) Act, which would enable healthcare providers in good standing to use connected health to treat patients in any state during the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill has a considerable list of supporters, including the American Hospital Association, American College of Physicians, American Medical Group Association and dozens of high-profile hospitals and health systems.

Nursing Homes See Spike in New COVID Cases Due to Community Spread

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released a report today showing nursing homes in the U.S. have experienced an alarming spike in new COVID cases due to community spread among the general population according to recent data recently released from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

See this press release and report for more information.

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