This announcement solicits applications for the Rural Health Clinic Policy and Clinical Assessment Program. The purpose of this program is to identify key policy, regulatory and clinical challenges facing Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and identify possible solutions, while also informing them and other
rural stakeholders about key RHC issues, including regulatory and programmatic changes that affect care delivery in these locations.
The awardee will identify gaps in knowledge among RHCs about issues such as regulatory and program compliance, billing and reimbursement, quality improvement, best practices, disease management, and care coordination, as well as ORHP and U. S. Department of Health and Human Services priorities, and will propose tools, resources, and strategies to address them. RHCs are geographically dispersed, so the proposed tools and resources should be easily accessible, including, but not limited to, listservs, conference calls, and webinars.
RHCs are primary care clinics that are certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide care in rural underserved areas. They receive reasonable cost-based Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, subject to certain conditions. RHCs must be staffed by physician assistants and/or nurse practitioners. Currently, there are more than 4,000 RHCs located in 44 states. For more information about RHCs, please visit http://www.cms.gov/Center/Provider-Type/Rural-Health-Clinics-Center.html?redirect=/center/rural.asp The health care delivery system is undergoing dramatic change, with an emphasis on finding new approaches to improve health outcomes, control costs, and improve population health. Financial incentives are moving from volume-based to value-based services, with a focus on quality of care in all settings and improving transitions of care as patients move between care settings. Within this environment, RHCs provide care to millions of rural residents, often serving as the sole health care provider in a community, and serving as the de facto safety net for rural residents. The RHCs require support to effectively participate in the changing health care environment and need to be prepared for related policy and regulatory changes.