Rural Route
April, 2020
In this Issue
TASC Updates
MBQIP Updates
Webinars & Events
Quick Links



Resource Library


State Flex Profiles




Rural Health Value


Hello everyone,

I hope you are all staying healthy and safe during this unprecedented time. As we continue to adjust and adapt to the circumstances surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, please remember that TASC is always here to help. 

We are looking forward to meeting with you virtually in May for both the upcoming Flex Virtual Knowledge Group (VKG) on Telehealth and the TASC 90 webinar on COVID-19 and Flex Program Support.
As always, thank you for reading Rural Route. We encourage you to keep utilizing the Flex Forum for discussion with you peers, but if you have questions or need assistance, please reach out to me or TASC.

Best ,
Andy Naslund
Program Coordinator
Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC)

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Updates   
by  Tori Leach
find myself feeling more grateful every day for the work you are all doing to support our rural communities and hospitals, especially during these extraordinary circumstances. Please see the recent  HHS Press Release  on COVID-19 funding to support rural health efforts. FORHP  is trying to understand how rural health care providers and communities are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please share any challenges, successes, or innovative strategies taking place in rural areas to address treating or preparing to treat COVID-19 patients to the inbox

If you didn't catch the April Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project ( MBQIP ) Virtual Knowledge Group ( VKG ) on April 16, 2020, I highly recommend you listen to the playback available on the  Flex Program Forum . There were some great discussion questions on the topic of  MBQIP  and Flex in a COVID-19 World.

Just a reminder on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Flex Non-Competing Continuation (NCC) Progress Report. Earlier this month, I shared the  Updated NCC Instructions  which streamline the reporting requirements. Please ensure that you are using these updated instructions when completing the NCC. There is also the option to delay the submission of this report until July 15, 2020. If you wish to delay your NCC submission, detailed steps are included in the rest of the Flex Program update.
CAH Regulatory Update
  • Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) regulatory changes to support COVID-19 response
  • Multiple CMS proposed rules and updates
  • New Funding Opportunity through Rural Telementoring Training Center
  • Resources for COVID-19 Response
Continue reading CAH Regulatory Updates (Flex Forum login required - contact  TASC for details)
This month, please help us welcome  Sarah O'Connor of Virginia and Barbara Brendel of Missouri! Welcome to you both!

We also bid a fond farewell to Jamie Schultz of the Montana Hospital Association. We wish you well Jamie!
Please keep your Flex staff contact information current by completing the  State Flex Program Contact Information Form  whenever there are staffing changes in your office. 
Coming Up:

Rural HIT Coalition Call -- Thursday, April 30, 2020 from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Central Time.

Flex VKG webinar -- Monday, May 4, 2020 from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Central Time.

TASC 90 Webinar -- Wednesday, May 13, 2020  from 2 :00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Central Time.
TASCUpdatesTASC Updates
COVID-19 Resources
The Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC) will continue to provide useful resources to help during this time.  Below are a  a few excellent rural resources from other organizations to support your response to COVID-19.
The American Hospital Association has released a series of rural case studies about planning and response to COVID-19. These five rural case studies include lessons learned on drive-through testing, senior resident social determinants of health, surge capacity, strategic and operational planning, and virtual care models.
The Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub) has compiled a topic guide on the rural response to COVID-19. They are actively curating this list, which includes federal information, state and national initiatives and resources, including information for various professional groups or health care and community settings. A variety of upcoming webinars are also listed.
We all are creating contingency plans that need to be nimble. Projects may need re-prioritization into those that can continue uninterrupted and what can be adjusted slightly and proceed in the near future. Some projects may be very questionable about when they can occur. And some projects may need to be cancelled or tabled. We have found a great resource from the Center for Community Investment for triaging strategy. The Annotated Strategy Triage Tool provides guiding questions and simple directions to help you and your organization re-sort through your work plans and strategy to make sense of what to do now, in the near term, and in the distant future.
Lastly, a reminder that TASC is here to support you with your TA needs. Please reach out with your questions. We're happy to talk through new ideas, help you identify resources, and provide support while you write your Flex NCC.
Please send your MBQIP questions to TASC will ensure your question reaches the appropriate person.
Webinars, Recordings & Events
Rural Health Leadership Radio  was launched to support rural health leaders in sharing stories and information about best practices and lessons learned. Check out their latest podcasts now! 

The most recent interview topics are related to the COVID-19 Pandemic and its impact on rural communities.

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