Rural Route
December, 2020
In this Issue
FORHP Updates
CAH Recognition Spotlights!
TASC Updates
Quick Links



Resource Library


State Flex Profiles




Rural Health Value


Hello everyone,

Happy holidays! On behalf of the Technical Assistances and Services Center (TASC), I wish you all have a great holiday season and a great, healthy new year.

There are lots of new updates included in this edition of Rural Route. Be sure to check out the TASC Updates section, as we are pleased to announce many updates to resources this month including the 2021 Flex Fundamentals Guide: An Introduction to the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program and the COVID-19 Funding Sources Impacting Rural Providers

Also, as part of the November Flex Virtual Knowledge Group (VKG) on Evaluation Performance Improvement, we are excited to offer the opportunity for 1:1 coaching opportunities. See the TASC updates section for more information.

As always, thank you for reading the newsletter. If you have questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or TASC.

Andy Naslund
Program Coordinator

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Updates   
Dear Flex Coordinators,

I don't know if there is a word yet to describe what we have gone through in 2020. I remain hopeful for 2021 with vaccines on the way. As the Flex Project Officer team reviews your Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 End of Year Reports, we are so impressed with all that you have accomplished in the midst of a program year unlike any other.

Here are some important deadlines for 2021:
  • January 30, 2021: FY 2019 Flex Annual Federal Financial Report (FFR)
    • As of October 1st, there have been some changes made to the FFR submission process. Details on the change can be found here
    • Note, you must use the FFR Remarks Section to express your intent to carryover funds. If you intend to carryover funds and do not make a note in this section, you will be required to resubmit your FFR.
    • For any program that submitted a No Cost Extension for leftover H54 funds, you will have to submit 2 FFRs, one for your FY 2019 U2W award and one for the No Cost Extension H54 award.
  • March 1, 2021: Prior Approval Carryover Request
    • If you have an Unobligated Balance (UOB) for your U2W award, you have the option to carry over those funds to your current budget period, to be spent by August 31, 2021.
    • Please discuss your plan to utilize your carryover with your Project Officer.
    • You can then submit a Prior Approval - Carryover Request in the Electronic Handbook (EHB). Please see this helpful video about the carryover request process.
  • March 24, 2021: FY 2021 Non-Competing Continuation (NCC) Progress Report available
    • March 25, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. Central Time there will be an NCC technical assistance webinar.
    • The NCC report will be due in EHB on May 14, 2021.
FORHP, within the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), is pleased to announce a new website dedicated to the pilot grant program Rural Maternal and Obstetric Management Strategies (RMOMS).  Introduced in 2019, RMOMS seeks to improve maternity care in rural communities by building networks to coordinate care, leveraging telehealth, collecting data, and improving financial sustainability.  The website lists the three rural networks funded last year and provides a fact sheet with more detailed information on their activities. 

Have a healthy and safe holiday season,

 CAH Regulatory Update
Continue reading CAH Regulatory Updates (Flex Forum login required - contact TASC for details)
Please keep your Flex staff contact information current by emailing Andy Naslund and completing the State Flex Program Contact Information Form whenever there are staffing changes in your office. 
TASC Updates   
2021 Flex Fundamentals Guide
TASC, in cooperation with FORHP, is pleased to announce that the updated 2021 Flex Program Fundamentals: An Introduction to the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program manual was recently mailed to your Flex Program offices. 
The Flex Program Fundamentals is a manual for those intimately involved with the Flex Program. We hope this is a useful resource for current Flex Program staff, and as an orientation manual for new staff. An online version of the updated manual can also be found here.

Recently updated: COVID-19 Funding Sources Impacting Rural Providers
This month, we were also pleased to provide another update of the COVID-19 Funding Sources Impacting Rural Providers guide. This funding resource is intended to support rural health care providers, along with their state and local partners, navigate the availability of federal funds to support the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic response and recovery efforts. This guide is updated regularly to capture changes in funding sources.
Seven tables, or matrices, are provided for quick reference at the beginning of this resource. The tables can be used to check eligibility of participation in funding sources by provider types: rural prospective payment system (PPS) and critical access hospitals (CAH), rural health clinics (RHC), federally qualified health centers (FQHC), long-term care (LTC) or skilled nursing facilities (SNF), tribal facilities, and emergency medical services (EMS). The tables also provide an at-a-glance view for each provider type sharing the different types of funds that may be accessed from various funding sources dependent on their participation eligibility. Each funding source is described in its own section of this resource with an executive summary followed by further detail on the use of funds, reporting requirements, hyperlinks to the legislation and detailed information.
One of the main updates for this version is the addition of the RHC COVID-19 Testing Program found on Page 57.

Flex VKG Webinar Recording and 1:1 Coaching Opportunity
Thank you to everyone who participated in the November Flex VKG Webinar around the topic of Evaluation Performance Improvement. The webinar recording is available in the Flex Forum. As a part of the VKG event, we are excited to offer the opportunity to connect with subject matter expert (SME) Rochelle Schultz Spinarski on a 1:1 coaching opportunity through the month of December. This service is free of charge, supported by TASC and FORHP, and available to all state Flex Programs.
Through the accompanying self-assessment, you were able to recognize your Flex Program's strengths, challenges, and barriers with program evaluation. This 1:1 coaching opportunity is driven by you for you, while allowing space to review your program, your needs, and the opportunities available. Rochelle will help coach you through planning and prioritizing your evaluation needs, while also providing samples and tools and further data when needed. 
Please contact the TASC team,, to schedule your coaching call today!
Upcoming Events
Flex VKG hosted by TASC -- Tuesday, January, 12, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Central Time.
Office hours hosted by RQITA -- Tuesday, January, 12, 2021 from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Central Time.
Please send your MBQIP questions to tasc@ruralcenter.orgTASC will ensure your question reaches the appropriate person.
Webinars, Recordings & Events

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