Current Report Articles
Federal Focus

Federal Focus (May 1, 2020) – Flex Monitoring Team Issues Best Practices for CAH Executives
In its April 2020 Policy Brief #53, the Flex Monitoring Team released findings from a recent study to identify best practices for Critical Access Hospital CEOs. The objective was to identify best practices related to tasks of daily operation, forecasting and community health outcomes in order to share with other CAH CEOs. Participants were asked to describe their experiences with financial and quality issues, leadership roles, performance measurement, policy challenges and community health.

After reviewing each interview, best practice themes emerged, including taking calculated risks, being driven by data, engaging and valuing staff, and integration with the community. The study also determined that rural hospital executives are tasked with broad and general functions, which require ongoing resource development and technical assistance.

2020 Medicare Trustee Report Projects Trust Fund to Deplete in 2026
The Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds has published their 2020 annual report. The boards announced that the Medicare HI trust fund (part A) is projected to be depleted in 2026. The projection remains unchanged from last year. The report also does not include any assumption changes based on the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlights of the report for 2019 include the following:

  • Medicare covered 61.2 million people.
  • Total expenditures were $796.2 billion with a total income of $794.8 billion.
  • Part A expenditures exceeded income by $5.8 billion.
  • Projected annual growth rates for expenditures is 6.5 percent.

MLN Connects Provider eNews Available
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issues updates to MLN Connects Provider eNews. eNews includes information about national provider calls, meetings, events, announcements and other MLN educational product updates. The latest issue provides updates and summaries of the following:

  • IRF PPS FFY 2021 proposed rule
  • CMS releases additional blanket waivers for long-term care hospitals, rural health clinics, federally qualified health centers and intermediate care facilities
  • New and expanded flexibilities for RHCs and FQHCs during the COVID-19 public health emergency

AHA Publishes Research on Coronary Artery Disease Disparities Among Women in Rural Areas
The American Heart Association summarizes research that found women in rural areas are dying of coronary artery disease prematurely. It highlights how rural residents often have to travel further distances for care, and face disparities in the prevention and control of cardiovascular disease risk factors. The research also examines the effect of social determinants of health on mortality.