August 28, 2020 |  Issue 20-29 Missed Last Week's Washington Report? Click Here to Visit our Archives!

Community Health Aide Program (CHAP) TAG Vacancies
 In February 2018, with the announcement of CHAP expansion to Tribes beyond Alaska, IHS created a CHAP Tribal Advisory Group.

 Information on CHAP and CHAP TAG, including vacant positions, is available on the CHAP

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HealthyPeopleU.S. Department of Health and Human Services Announces Healthy People 2030 Plan 
On August 18, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its Healthy People 2030 plan. The plan lays out a series of objectives that measure progress towards a several targets over time. Overall the plan includes 355 measurable objectives with 10 year targets, broken down into cateogies including:

"Social Determinants of Health" is an added category not present in the Healthy People 2020 plan that looks to address often unseen factors into public healths including economic stability, education access and quality, health care access and quality, neighborhood and built environment. 
Included in this social and community context of health is discrimination in the U.S. health care system. Discrimination  has been linked to disparities in health outcomes including to low birth weight, high blood pressure, and poor health status.23, 33 Further, the 2015 National Healthcare Disparities Report indicated that white patients receive better quality of care than 32.4% of American Indian/Alaska Native patients. 

PolicyChangesA Proposed Rule from CMS on Several Policy Changes to Programs Under the Medicare Program
On August 17, CMS released a proposed rule on payment policy changes to the physician fee schedule, Medicare Part B payment policies, Medicare Shared Savings Program requirements, Medicaid Promoting Interoperability Program requirements for Eligible Professionals, the Quality Payment Program, Medicare enrollment of Opioid Treatment Programs, Covered Part D drug prescription plan and the Medicare Diabetes Program. These changes are intended to reflect the National Uniform Relative Value Units, which are used in furnishing these services. 

Comments on this proposed rule are due October 5, 2020.
HHSMeetingHHS Meeting Announcement on the Vital Health Statistics National Committee
On August 20, HHS announced a meeting for the "National Committee on Vital Health Statistics; A Hearing of the Subcommittee on Privacy, Confidentiality and Security". The meeting is scheduled for September 14, 2020. Topics for this meeting will include the privacy, confidentiality and security considerations for specific data collection used during the pandemic. 
DaignosticA Comment Request from CMS on their Generic Clearance for Evaluation of Stakeholder Training and the Advanced Diagnostic Imaging Services
On August 21, CMS released a notice on a comment request for the "Generic Clearance for Evaluation of Stakeholder Training - Health Insurance Marketplace and Market Stabilization Programs," which is used to encourage stakeholders in the Marketplace to engage and receive input from Satisfaction Surveys following certain training events. The second collection request details the "Appropriate Use Criteria for Advanced Diagnostic Imaging Services" and the change of the Medicare Part B statue

Comments are due October 20, 2020.
RetireeSubsidyRequest for Comment from CMS on the Retiree Drug Subsidy Application
On August 10, 2020 CMS released a notice on a comment request for the Retiree Drug Subsidy Application, Payment Request and Instructions. This notice is a reinstatement of a currently approved collection that enables subpart R plan sponsors to receive 28 percent subsidy for allowable drug costs. This notice also asks for comments on the "Manufacturer Submission of Average Sales Price Data for Medicare Part B Drugs and Biologicals", which requires the price of Part B drugs and biologicals be based on manufacturer's average sales price data. The final comment request detailed in this notice concerns the "Consumer Experience Survey Data Collection" that surveys customer's satisfaction with Qualified Health Plans. 

Comments on the application are due September 9, 2020.
HRSAAwardNew Award from HRSA and HHS to Increase Access to High Quality Health Care in Rural Communities
On August 20, HHS and HRSA released an announcement of an award of "Over $35 million to Increase Access to High Quality Health Care in Rural Communities." This award encompasses more than 50 rural organizations across 33 states. Specifically roughly $8.8 million is awarded to the Telehealth Network Grant Program, $2 million awarded to the Telehealth Focused Rural Health Research Center Program, $6 million for the Rural Telementoring Training Center, $8 million to the Rural Residency Planning and Development Program, $10 million to the Delta Region Community Health System Development Program and $680,000 to the Rural HIV/AIDS Planning Program.
DisabilityGuidanceGuidance from CMS on "Improving the Health and Housing Outcomes for Older Adults and People with a Disability in Rural America"
On August 19, CMS released an informational bulletin with the USDA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on "Improving the Health and Housing Outcomes for Older Adults and People with a Disability in Rural America." This bulletin details federal resources and guidance that can reduce physical environmental barriers in the home to support an individual's ability to remain in their own home. This bulletin also provides several healthcare agencies including state and local Medicaid agencies, with information to fully understand existing federal resources that have been created to improve the health and housing outcomes in rural America.
HRSAConsultationHealth Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) Tribal Consultation on the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund
Purpose: HRSA is conducting this rapid Tribal consultationto seek input and Tribal recommendations on the allocations of CARES Act Provider Relief Fund, announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on April 22, 2020.  Please save the date. 
Date: Monday, August 31, 2020
Time: 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Eastern)
Call in Information:
Dial-in Number:  888-566-7684
Participant passcode: 7562556
3:00- 3: 15 PM Welcome
  • Opening Prayer
  • Opening Comments and Welcome - Tom Engels, Administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration
  • Update - Elizabeth "Betsy" Wieand, Lead Policy Advisor, Health Resources and Services Administration
3:15 - 3:55 PM Open Discussion with Tribal Leaders
3:55 PM  - Closing
4:00 PM - and Adjourn call
CMSTrainingsUpcoming CMS ITU Trainings
In partnership with Indian Health Service, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is committed to helping the Indian Health Service (IHS), Tribal Health Programs, and Urban Indian Programs to maximize their ability to access third party resources. To meet this objective, CMS, in partnership with the States, the Veterans Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the IHS, provides training to patient benefits advocates on the programs and benefits available through Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Target Audience

  • Business Office Staff
  • Benefits Coordinators
  • Patient Registration Staff
  • Health Information Management staff
  • Purchased/Referred Care staff

Topics at a Glance

  • CMS Tribal Affairs Updates
  • Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and the Health Insurance Marketplace
  • State-Administered Programs
  • Clinical Documentation Improvement
  • Revenue Cycle overview
  • Social Security, Veterans Affairs and much more...
Bemidji Area Virtual Training: August 24 - September 11, 2020
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Division of Tribal Affairs (DTA) in conjunction with the Bemidji Area Indian Health Service (IHS) invite you to the 2020 CMS Outreach & Education Event.
The event will be held virtually from Monday, August 24th to Friday, September 11th, 2020.
Click here to register.
Nashville Area Virtual Trainings: August 23 - September 10, 2020
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Division of Tribal Affairs (DTA) in conjunction with the Nashville Area Indian Health Service (IHS) invite you to the 2020 CMS Outreach & Education Event.
The event will be held virtually from Monday, August 24th to Thursday, September 10th, 2020. Click here to register
HardshipMedicare Eligible Hospitals: Hardship Exception Application
Application Deadline: Sept. 1, 2020

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) opened the hardship exception application submission period for Medicare's Eligible Hospital (EH) Hardship Exception to avoid the 2021 payment adjustment. EHs that utilized 2014 Certified Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS) Electronic Health Record (EHR) and were unable to demonstrate Promoting Interoperability (formerly known as Meaningful Use) in CY 2019 may need to apply for a hardship. Read the full memo here.

The deadline to apply for an EH Hardship Exceptions is Tuesday, September 1, 2020. Please note: This deadline has been extended from the original date of July 1, 2020 due to COVID-19. Direct all inquiries to Drew Morgan related to hardship exceptions. For IHS Specific questions related to the hardship exception, please direct all inquiries to IHS's Promoting Interoperability Team at
FCCFCC 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Window
DEADLINE EXTENDED! Applications Now due Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 6:00 PM ET
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a greater need for high-speed internet connections as communities turn to telemedicine. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Window is unique opportunity for Tribes in rural areas to directly access unassigned spectrum over their Tribal lands, subject to buildout requirements. Read more here.
HRSATACHRSA TAC FRN Member Nominations 2020
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) plans to create a Tribal Advisory Council (TAC) and needs additional qualified Tribal officials as candidates for consideration for appointment as voluntary delegates from the Indian Health Services geographic areas of Alaska, Albuquerque, Billings, Navajo, Phoenix, and Tucson. 

Nominations for members must be received on or before September 20, 2020.
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