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  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced they are delaying updates to the Hospital Quality Star Program. Updates were set to be released in October, but CMS has decided to continue examining the program. Rural hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals have been disproportionately disadvantaged by the Quality Star Program,...

The Huffington Post details the residual effects of hospital closures on rural communities in Georgia and analyzes the vulnerability of hospitals throughout all of the United States. Since 2010, 82 rural hospitals have closed, 28 of which are Critical Access Hospitals. Rural hospital closures have been concentrated in the South, in...

Grantmakers in Aging, GIA, published a report on the impacts of the opioid crisis on older adults in rural communities. The report found that though the older adults may not be suffering themselves from opioid addiction, they may suffer from a lack of resources due to the diverted attention towards...

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the following press release on September 20, 2017. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: Innovation Center New Direction September 20, 2017 Contact: CMS Media Relations (202) 690-6145 | CMS Media Inquiries Today, the CMS Innovation Center (Innovation Center) issued an informal Request for Information (RFI) seeking...

Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) are the latest leaders in Washington to propose ACA repeal and replace legislation before October. Here’s the bottom line on the Senate’s latest repeal and replace bill: • All Democrats will vote no: 48 votes • Most Republicans will vote yes: 47 votes • One Republican...

Another Critical Access Hospital closed this week, leaving Patrick County, Virginia, with no hospital. According to the University of North Carolina's Cecil G. Sheps Center, 81 rural hospitals have already closed since 2010. "Policy uncertainty in Washington has created fragile times for health care companies," says the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. Pioneer...

The University of Chicago's independent research center, Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, recently discussed some of the major factors impeding access to health care in rural areas. Hospital closures, transportation, and physician recruitment are challenges for non-urban communities nationwide as facilities strive to serve their local populations.   ...

Since 2010, CMS has not enforced its direct supervision requirements in Critical Access Hospitals and other rural hospitals, according to a draft report released this month by MedPAC.  CMS says there have been no patient safety concerns raised to the agency about hospitals using inappropriate physician supervision, although MedPAC notes...

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) last week began exploring ways in which the federal health program could expand its coverage of a variety of telehealth services. Medicare currently covers certain services like mental health treatment and kidney disease under its traditional fee-for-service program, but offers additional flexibility to MA...