Press Release The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the agency’s first Rural Health Strategy which is intended to provide a proactive approach on healthcare issues to ensure that the nearly one in five individuals who live in rural America have access to high quality, affordable healthcare.
This new strategy focuses on ways in which the agency can better serve individuals in rural areas and avoid unintended consequences of policy and program implementation. The agency-wide Rural Health Strategy, built on input from rural providers and beneficiaries, focuses on five objectives to achieve the agency’s vision for rural health:
- Apply a rural lens to CMS programs and policies
- Improve access to care through provider engagement and support
- Advance telehealth and telemedicine
- Empower patients in rural communities to make decisions about their healthcare
- Leverage partnerships to achieve the goals of the CMS Rural Health Strategy
“For the first time, CMS is organizing and focusing our efforts to apply a rural lens to the vision and work of the agency,” said Seema Verma, CMS Administrator. “The Rural Health Strategy supports CMS’ goal of putting patients first. Through its implementation and our continued stakeholder engagement, this strategy will enhance the positive impacts CMS policies have on beneficiaries who live in rural areas.”
Approximately 60 million people live in rural areas – including millions of Medicare and Medicaid members. CMS recognizes the many obstacles that rural Americans face, including living in communities with disproportionally higher poverty rates, having more chronic conditions, being uninsured or underinsured, as well as experiencing a fragmented healthcare delivery system with an overworked and shrinking health workforce, and lacking access to specialty services.
Work on the strategy is already underway and CMS will continue to collaborate with agencies across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) including, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to implement this strategy.
Source: CMS Announces Agency’s First Rural Health Strategy – The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, May 8, 2018