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CMS Unveils New Model to Improve Rural Health Care


August 11, 2020

President Trump signed an executive order last week dedicated to improving rural health care systems through the implementation of the newly unveiled Community Health Access and Rural Transformation (CHART) Model, which will be fund opportunities to increase access and improve care quality.

“The CHART Model represents our next opportunity to make investments that will transform the rural health care system, allowing us to use every lever to support all Americans getting access to high-quality care where they live,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

As part of the Trump administrations Rethinking Rural Health initiative, the CHART model encourages value-based payment models, increases choice, and is intended to lower costs for patients..

“CHART will empower rural communities to develop a system of care to deliver high quality care to their patients by providing support through new seed funding and payment structures, operational and regulatory flexibilities and technical and learning support,” stated the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in a press release.

Rural health communities comprise more than 57 million Americans, including millions of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries who currently face unique challenges due to geographical limitations. The main goals of the CHART model are 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;
  • Remove regulatory burden by providing waivers that increase operational and regulatory flexibility for rural providers; and
  • 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."

Per the CMS press release announcing the new model, to achieve these main goals, the CHART model will test various payment models including upfront investments and capitation to enable rural providers to improve care.

The initiative also includes a track to transform accountable care organizations which have saved $382 million over the last three years.

—Edan Stanley

Reference:
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Trump administration announces initiative to transform rural health. CMS.gov. https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/trump-administration-announces-initiative-transform-rural-health. Published August 11, 2020.

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