Archive for October, 2021


Federal Health Policy Update for Thursday, October 28

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, October 28.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

The White House

  • The Biden administration has updated its “Build Back Better Framework” to reflect the results of recent negotiations between the White House and congressional Democrats.  Congress’s next steps on the Build Back Better Act, the social spending reconciliation bill, are unclear.  The $1.75 trillion framework is far short of the $3.5 trillion plan embraced by congressional progressives.  The text of the bill, HR 5376, was released this afternoon and is currently being debated in the House Rules Committee.  Support among progressive Democrats is uncertain.  Because this is a Democrat-only bill, Democrats can only lose three votes in the House if the bill is to pass.
  • The White House has posted a transcript of the October 27 press briefing given by its COVID-19 response team and public officials.  Go here to see the slides presented during the briefing.

Provider Relief Fund:  Phase 3 Payment Reconsideration and Phase 4 Applications

Federal Health Policy Update for Tuesday, October 26

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 26.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

Provider Relief Fund

HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has made 18 changes in its Provider Relief Fund FAQ that address Provider Relief Fund Phase 4 funding.  They are:

  • p. 7 – about returning Provider Relief Fund money
  • p. 8  – for providers interested in receiving Provider Relief Fund money they previously rejected
  • pp. 10 (two questions) and 14 (also two questions) – consideration for Provider Relief Fund grants for providers that have been through a merger or acquisition
  • p. 22 – use of Provider Relief Fund and rural hospital payments
  • p. 22 – cost-based reimbursement and Provider Relief Fund money
  • p. 35 – late report submissions
  • p. 61 – treatment of prior Provider Relief Fund payments in the calculation of Phase 4 payments
  • p. 61 – mandatory inclusion of all TINs in Phase 4 applications
  • p. 66 – deadline for submission
  • p. 67 – selection of exempt payee code when applying
  • p. 68 – selection of provider type
  • p. 68 – reporting on net patient revenue

Federal Health Policy Update for Monday, October 25

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Monday, October 25.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

Provider Relief Fund:  Deadline for Submission is Tuesday, October 26

  • The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will accept applications for $25.5 billion in health care relief funds until October 26.  Go here for further information.
  • HRSA has modified some of the terms for applying for assistanceAll applicants must complete the first step of the application process (i.e., submitting their Tax Identification Number (TIN) and associated information for Internal Revenue Service (IRS) validation no later than October 26, 2021 at 11:59 PM EST.  The required IRS validation that occurs after completion of the first step may take a few days.  If an applicant submits their TIN for validation by the October 26, 2021 deadline and that TIN is subsequently validated by the IRS, the applicant will have until November 3, 2021 at 11:59 PM EST to complete and submit their application.
  • The Provider Relief Fund FAQ has been updated with seven modified or new questions on pages 4, 9, 10 (two questions), 37, and

Innovation Center Unveils Blueprint

The CMS Innovation Center has published a document that shares its strategic direction for the coming years.

Driving Health System Transformation – A Strategy for the CMS Innovation Center’s Second Decade reviews the lessons the agency has learned over the past ten years and lays out its objectives for the next ten:

  • Drive Accountable Care – increase the number of people in a care relationship for quality and total cost of care.
  • Advance Health Equity – embed health equity in every aspect of CMS Innovation Center models and increase focus on underserved populations.
  • Support Care Innovation – leverage a range of supports that enable integrated, person-centered care such as actionable, practice-specific data, technology, dissemination of best practices, peer-to-peer learning collaborations, and payment flexibilities.
  • Improve Access by Addressing Affordability – pursue strategies to address health care prices, affordability, and reduce unnecessary or duplicative care.
  • Partner to Achieve System Transformation – align policies and priorities across CMS and aggressively engage payers, purchasers, providers, states, and beneficiaries to improve quality, to achieve equitable outcomes, and to reduce health care costs.

In addition, the document summarizes the lessons the CMS Innovation Center has learned over the past ten years, outlines future approaches to assessing …

CMS Funds Expanded Telehealth in Four States

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is building on its Community Health Access and Rural Transformation (CHART) Model by awarding up to $20 million to organizations in four states to expand the use of telehealth in their communities and introduce other improvements that enhance access to care in rural areas.

Organizations in Alabama, South Dakota, Texas, and Washington state will receive $2 million for planning and up to $3 million each for achieving specific objectives.

The CHART model seeks to use telehealth and other means, reimbursed through an accountable care organization model, to address health disparities and reduce hospital admissions and readmissions among residents of rural areas who have limited access to health care services.

Learn more about this latest CMS initiative in the Fierce Healthcare article “4 states get CMS funding to expand telehealth and other services in rural areas.”…