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  • Ann Tucker

New Initiative Announced to Transform Rural Health

The Trump Administration recently announced it is further transforming the nation’s rural health care system by unleashing innovation through new funding opportunities that will increase access and improve quality. The Community Health Access and Rural Transformation (CHART) Model delivers on President Trump’s Executive Order from last week on Improving Rural Health and Telehealth Access as well as the President’s Medicare Executive Order and CMS’s Rethinking Rural Health initiative.  Collectively, the Administration aims to ensure individuals in rural America have access to high quality, affordable health care.

Per the President’s Executive Order, the CHART Model also ties payment to value, increases choice and lowers 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.

“The Trump Administration has placed an unprecedented priority on improving the health of the one in five Americans who live in rural areas,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “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.”

Americans living in rural areas have worse health outcomes and higher rates of preventable diseases than the over 57 million Americans living in urban areas. Impediments such as transportation challenges disproportionately impact rural Americans and their access to care. Rural providers also experience challenges. For example, many rural healthcare facilities experience health care workforce shortages, and operate on thin margins and over 126 rural hospitals have closed since 2010. Many rural hospitals also have difficulty recruiting and retain medical professionals to rural areas. Meanwhile, value-based payment models have accelerated nationally, though rural health care providers have been slow to adopt these models.

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