Rural Route
 
February, 2021
In this Issue
FORHP Updates
New TASC Staff!
TASC Updates
Customizable Communications Toolkit
Upcoming Events
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Hello everyone,

Happy February! We hope everyone is healthy and was able to stay warm and safe during the extreme cold across the country this month. 

The Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC) would like to thank everyone who has already taken some time to complete the 2020 TASC Customer Satisfaction Assessment. If your state Flex Program hasn't already, please take a few minutes to complete the assessment by March 9, 2021. We strive to provide the best targeted technical assistance and expertise available regarding the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program and your input from this assessment is extremely valuable to us. 

Be sure to check out the TASC Updates section for our most recent announcements, including the upcoming 2021 Spring FORHP Flex Workshop and the Request for Proposals for the 2021 Virtual Flex Program Reverse Site Visit.

appreciate you taking some time to read Rural Route. If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to me or TASC.


Best,
                              
Andy Naslund
Program Coordinator
TASC
             

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Updates   

Dear Flex Coordinators,

It's hard to believe that we are already at the end of February! Thank you all for your diligent efforts in getting in your Federal Financial Report (FFR) and Carryover Requests on time. There are a few program updates to share.

The Flex Non-Competing Continuation (NCC) Progress Report will be released March 24, 2021, and due back to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) on May 14, 2021. There will be an NCC Technical Assistance Webinar on March 25, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. Central Time.
  • The report will be consistent with last year, a streamlined version, which will request updates on any major changes/challenges in the current Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 and future FY 2021 year. It will focus on planning for Year 3 of the program.
  • Release Program Area Logic Models to assist in Year 3 planning and program evaluation efforts.
  • Discuss the Flex Quality Improvement Project.
The Rural Quality Improvement Technical Assistance (RQITA) Virtual Knowledge Group (VKG) on February 18, 2021, focused on introducing the Flex Quality Improvement Project.
  • Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP) participation is not required for Year 3 of the Program.
  • Focus on Quality Improvement initiatives with enhanced technical assistance from all Flex partners (Flex Monitoring Team (FMT), RQITA, TASC).
  • States will form "Innovation Labs" for common measure selections to promote peer learning and quality coaches.
 CAH Regulatory Update
Continue reading CAH Regulatory Updates (Flex Forum login required - contact TASC for details)
Please Welcome Our Newest TASC Member!
 Matt Bancroft, Program Specialist

This week, the National Rural Health Resource Center was pleased to have Matt Bancroft join The Center as a Program Specialist with TASC and the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP). 
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Matt was raised and currently lives in Arkansas. He has previously worked and lived in the DC Metro, Tampa Bay, and West Texas. He has over six years of healthcare industry experience, including time spent as a Behavioral Health Provider in rural school districts. He first gained an appreciation for rural health care while working for the American Cancer Society and seeing first-hand the impact of health equity in the Mississippi River Delta.
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Matt's previous experience provided public speaking, presentation, and community engagement opportunities on both small and large scales. He's a Mayo Clinic Social Media Network member, a certified Hootsuite Manager, and will receive a Project Management Professional Certification this fall. 
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Matt is passionate about unconditional positivity, rural healthcare disparities, and communication methodologies. He is currently completing his Master in Health Communication at Boston University and applying for doctoral programs.
TASC
TASC Updates   
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2021 Virtual Flex Program Reverse Site Visit Requests for Proposals Now Open!
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TASC and the Flex Program Reverse Site Visit (RSV) Planning Committee are seeking proposals for up to 12 45-minute breakout sessions at the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy's (FORHP) 2021 Flex Program Virtual RSV - Rural Resilience for Healthier Communities, scheduled for July 20-22, 2021.

The Request for Proposal can be accessed on the TASC website: https://www.ruralcenter.org/tasc/flex-reverse-site-visit/rfp. You will also find detailed information on:
  • Breakout session format
  • Proposal guidelines and scoring criteria
  • Speaker expectations
Intended Audience
The intended audience for the 2021 Flex Program Virtual RSV is State Office Directors, Flex Coordinators, and other key Flex personnel, FMT, Stratis Health's RQITA consultants, TASC staff and Advisory Committee, and FORHP staff.
 
Flex Program RSV Learning Objectives
  • Understand the future direction of the Flex Program
  • Determine how the resiliency of the Flex programs and CAHs empower rural communities.
  • Identify opportunities to implement best practices and lessons learned by CAHs and state Flex Programs, particularly related to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Describe health equity activities relevant for state Flex Programs and CAHs.
  • Strengthen the leadership and impact of your state Flex Program.
Breakout Session Proposal Review
The RSV Planning Committee will assist TASC staff in the review and selection of breakout sessionsTogether, we will create a RSV agenda that is balanced by both content and geography. To the extent possible, we will work toward presenters speaking from all regions of the country. The main contact person listed for each proposal submitted will be notified regardless of being selected or not.
 
Submit a Proposal
Proposals are only accepted via electronic submission through the
2021 RSV Request for Breakout Session Proposals page. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions.  We look forward to your receiving your submissions. 
2021 Spring Virtual FORHP Flex Workshop
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Flex Program Colleagues are invited to participate in the FORHP Virtual Flex Program Workshop to be held in March and April. This Workshop is supported by the FORHP and coordinated by the TASC.
 
The goal of the Flex Program Workshop is to provide new or existing Flex Program staff an orientation to the Flex Program. Through live and recorded content, this workshop will cover multiple topics including basic value-based health care, population health, CAH finance, quality and performance improvement concepts, emergency medical services (EMS), and Flex Program core competencies and best practices. Upon Workshop completion, participants will better understand Flex Program goals and services available to support Flex Program excellence.
 
The Flex Program Workshop will consist of four online sessions beginning Monday, March 29th and concluding Monday, April 5th, see below:
  • Monday, March 29, 2021 - 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Central Time
  • Thursday, April 1, 2021 - 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Central Time
  • Friday, April 2, 2021 - 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Central Time
  • Monday, April 5, 2021 - 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Central Time
There is no fee to participate in the workshop, however, please see workshop participant priority criteria below:
  • Has been a Flex Coordinators 12 months or less
  • One participant per state
  • Must be willing and able to participate in all 4 days of the workshop
  • Must be willing to do a manageable amount of pre-work for each workshop day
If you are interested in participating in the Spring Flex Workshop, please let Andy Naslund know by March 5th, as even in a virtual setting, space for this workshop is limited.
Upcoming
Upcoming Events
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Flex Program NCC Progress Report Guidance Webinar -- Thursday, March 25, 2021 from 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Central Time.
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Spring Flex Workshop hosted by TASC in four separate sessions between March 29, 2021 to April 5, 2021.
  • Monday, March 29, 2021 - 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Central Time
  • Thursday, April 1, 2021 - 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Central Time
  • Friday, April 2, 2021 - 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Central Time
  • Monday, April 5, 2021 - 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 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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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! 



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