NARHC-News | Summer 2020
RHC Articles in This Newsletter

• Changes to Telehealth Require Advocacy
• Reporting Requirements: General & Targeted Distribution Payment Notice
• Updated Relief Funds FAQs
• NARHC Education: CRHCP + Intro to RHCs
• Virtual NARHC Fall Institute Price Reduced
• Public Health Emergency Expiration: 7-25-20
OCR Issues Guidance Civil Rights Protections
• NARHC Board of Director Candidates Sought
• NHSC New Site App Deadline Extended
• Who Knew?
• Remote Communities Face Virus
• RHC Productivity Standards During Covid
• Collaborative Care Management
• 6 R's For Opening Your RHC
• Patients Are Also Customers
Changes to Telehealth Will Require YOUR Advocacy
Congress Considering Permanent Telehealth Changes

When the Coronavirus pandemic first struck the United States, healthcare facilities across the country suffered a steep decline in patient volume that threatened the financial viability of many hospitals and offices. In fact, researchers from Phreesia, a healthcare technology company, and Harvard University found that outpatient visits alone declined by nearly 60 percent in early April. 

In response to serious concerns about healthcare facilities closing for good, policymakers in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) quickly realized (after resisting expansion for decades) that telehealth services would be an invaluable tool in keeping healthcare facilities open during the pandemic. Telehealth services were an obvious solution that would both allow clinicians to maintain patient volume and encourage patients to seek out care that may have been otherwise deferred during the Public Health Emergency (PHE).    Read More
Reporting Requirements: General & Targeted Distribution Payment Notice

Purpose: The purpose of this notice is to inform Provider Relief Fund (PRF) recipients that received one or more payments exceeding $10,000 in the aggregate from the PRF of the timing of future reporting requirements. Detailed instructions regarding these reports will be released by August 17, 2020.   Read More
Updated Relief Fund FAQs

CMS released an updated FAQ for the Provider Relief fund. Find answers to your questions like these:

  • How can RHCs determine if an expense meets the criteria of an allowable use of funds under the Rural Health Clinic Testing program?
  • What are permissible expenses under the $225 million Rural Health Clinic Testing payment? 
  • What actions must an RHC take after receipt of the Rural Health Clinic Testing funds?
  • How can the money be returned? Read More
NARHC's Educational Opportunities

Certified RHC Professional (CRHCP) Training - Fall 2020
Registration Opens August 1st, 2020 with Final Exam ONLINE

This extensive ONLINE TRAINING will prepare the learner to successfully run a Rural Health Clinic. The learner will gain full spectrum, in-depth knowledge of basic rules, regulations, and laws regarding RHCs from this course. The roughly 10-15 study hours may be done nights, weekends, or whenever as long as it’s completed before Oct. 26. Those who complete the coursework & pass the final exam will be awarded the prestigious CRHCP credential. Read More

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Introduction to RHCs Course
Registration Always Open!

This brief course is an orientation tool to learn about RHC basics. It’s a high-level overview of managing RHC vs Non-RHC, best practices for RHC managers, understanding the value of being a RHC, the history of the RHC program, and how the National Association of Rural Health Clinics came to be.

COST: NARHC Member FREE!  Non-Member $50 Read More
Virtual NARHC Fall Institute
Price Reduced!

The National Association of Rural Health Clinics has been awarded a Covid-19 government grant enabling us to reduce the cost of the conference to attendees by $100! Check out the great lineup of topics in our Agenda! The new platform includes a virtual Exhibit Hall and 15 sessions spread out on Tuesdays & Thursdays, October 13-29. You can participate live -OR- watch the webinars later at your convenience! The recorded versions will include the Q&A. We encourage watching by November 8th for the full experience of the platform.  Read More
Public Health Emergency Expiration: 7-25-2020

The Current Public Health Emergency (and associated waivers) expires on July 25, 2020. There had been indications that HHS would extend this for 90 days, but it has not yet been announced. Without additional legislation, everything goes back to Pre-COVID rules upon PHE termination. Stay tuned.
OCR Issues Guidance on Civil Rights Protections Prohibiting Race, Color, and National Origin Discrimination During COVID-19

Yesterday, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human 
Services (HHS) is issuing guidance to ensure that recipients of federal financial assistance understand that they must comply with applicable federal civil rights laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in HHS-funded programs during COVID-19. This Bulletin focuses on recipients' compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI). Read More
2021 NARHC Board of Director Candidates Sought

If you would be interested in running for the 2021 NARHC Board of Directors, we're looking for a few dynamic leaders!

There will be 3 openings for the 3-year term that starts Jan. 1, 2021. These positions are voted upon by the NARHC membership this year via absentee ballot. at the Annual Meeting held in Phoenix in Oct. & via absentee ballot beforehand.

You must be affiliated with a current NARHC member RHC or organization in order to run and serve. The Application Deadline is Aug. 1st. Read More
N HSC New Site Application Deadline Extended

Health care facilities can still apply to be approved as a National Health Service Corps (NHSC) site. Eligibility includes health care sites that provide outpatient, ambulatory and primary health care services (medical, dental, and behavioral health) to populations residing in high-need urban and rural areas. Additionally, eligible site types include facilities providing general Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Treatment, a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Program or an Opioid Treatment Program (OTP). 

Applications are now due August 4. Learn more about the NHSC new site application. Read More
Who Knew?

Greetings fellow travelers! Looks like we have been on one heck of a voyage since early February. Let me start with a huge THANK YOU for all that you are doing every day on the true front lines. Your efforts on behalf of some of this nation’s most at risk populations are colleagues.

The pandemic we as a nation and particularly in rural America are facing has brought challenges that we could not have predicted. It made us look at our weaknesses and our strengths on so many issues and demonstrated just how resilient we are truly.   Read More
Remote Communities Face Virus With Fewer Hospitals
The lights are going out in America’s rural hospitals and clinics at the moment they are most needed.

As the early waves of the novel coronavirus pounded New York and California, one body of thought was that rural America, more remote and physically distanced by definition, might be spared the worst of the infection’s global spread. Instead, COVID-19’s strong expansion to non-metropolitan areas in the South and Midwest has dragged a festering national health care problem back under the spotlight. Read More

RHC Productivity Standards During Covid
Do I Need An Exception? What About Telehealth?

We know many Rural Health Clinics have experienced lower than normal volumes in 2020 due to COVID-19. Many have turned to telehealth to see patients during this period. These two combined will have an effect on next year's cost report calculations and productivity standards.  

CMS has acknowledged this challenge in the July 6 MLN Matters: " Many RHCs have had to change the way they staff their clinics and bill for RHC services during the COVID19 public health emergency (PHE). As a result, these RHCs may have difficulty in meeting the productivity standards. To minimize the burden on RHCs, exceptions to the productivity standard may be granted by your MAC during the COVID-19 PHE.   Read More
Collaborative Care Management
Psychiatry on Demand

You may have heard a lot about Behavioral Health Integration, and you may have welcomed into your practice a psychologist or social worker, either to co-locate or to help patients manage their behaviors that help or hinder their wellness: diet, exercise, weight management, medication compliance, smoking, etc. Collaborative Care Management is an additional, complementary subset of Behavioral Health Integration that incorporates a consulting psychiatrist and a care manager (or psychiatric assistant – like a medical assistant trained in psychiatry) into the practice to provide timely, effective mental health care.   Read More
Six R's for Reopening Your Rural Health Clinic

1. Reassure. Communicate with your patients and your community. Send a message that your clinic is a safe place and that you have their primary care needs are top priority. Spread this positive message to your patients through email, social media sites, websites, and by phoning them. Consider having your providers record a FB video message that explains how your RHC is even a safer place now because of all the extra measures you have taken.

2. Refresh. Make sure that your clinic sparkles and shines. Reduced operating hours and disruption in normal services may have left gaps in your normal cleaning schedule. Give your clinic a face lift. Pay attention to both the inside of your clinic and to the exterior appearance of the building, landscape, and parking lot.   Read More
Patients Are Also Customers

With all the upheaval in our regular operations in the clinic, managers and staff are finding themselves in a position of having a bit more “power” over their patients. Many clinics are requiring a face covering in order to be in the facility.

Whether or not you agree with the policy is not really important at this point. What I am finding from personal experience is that front desk other staff members are exerting their new-found authority over clinic patients in ways that come across as rude and even hateful.   Read More
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