America’s rural hospitals are committed to serving their communities and ensuring local access to high-quality, affordable health care. The AHA is working to ensure federal policies and regulations are updated for 21st century innovation and care delivery, and new resources are invested in rural communities to protect access.
On this page, you can find our most up to date rural advocacy agenda, our rural report, the latest AHA regulatory advisories, comment letters, fact sheets and more.
CMS Clarifies Guidance on Hospital Co-Location for CAHs
According to CMS hospital co-location guidance is not applicable to CAHs due to the regulatory requirements that they be at least 35 miles or 15 miles by secondary roads or mountainous terrain from another acute care hospital. Specifically, since most CAHs have to meet the distance requirements, co-locating with another hospital would not be an option for them because doing so would mean they no longer meet the distance requirement. However, while this guidance is not applicable to most CAHs, CMS clearly provides that they are allowed to co-locate with other health care facilities, such as physician offices, visiting specialists, rural health clinics or federally qualified health centers. Read the AHA Special Bulletin here.
- CMS Funding 1,000 New Residency Slots for Hospitals Serving Rural & Underserved Communities. On December 17, CMS issued a final rule that will enhance the health care workforce and fund additional medical residency positions in hospitals serving rural and underserved communities phasing in 200 slots per year over five years. Also, CMS finalized its proposed policies to implement the Promoting Rural Hospital GME Funding Opportunity, which will provide an adjustment to IME and direct GME FTE resident caps each time an urban and rural hospital establish a Rural Training Track (RTT) program.
OSHA withdraws ETS for occupation exposure to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration Dec. 27 announced it is withdrawing its health care emergency temporary standard (ETS), originally issued June 21. Read the AHA Special Bulletin with more details on this withdrawal.
CMS issues interpretive guidance for vaccine mandate rule. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Dec. 28 released interpretive guidance, as well as updated its Frequently Asked Questions for its Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Interim Final Rule. Read AHA’s Dec. 29 Special Bulletin for more details.
USCIS issues guidance on expedited work permit renewals for health care workers. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Dec. 28 released guidance on how health care workers can receive expedited renewal of their Employment Authorization Document. Health care workers whose permits are expiring in 30 days or less can find out if they qualify for expedited processing using pages 7-9 of this DHS advisory memorandum.
2022 Rural Advocacy Agenda
View and download the 2022 Rural Advocacy Agenda here.
AHA-Supported Bill Would Fix Medicare ACO Benchmarking Flaw, June 15, 2021
Rural Health Special Message: HHS Announces Funding for Rural COVID-19 Response, June 9, 2021
Rural Health Special Message: HHS Announces Funding for Rural COVID-19 Response, June 8, 2021 here.
Final Recommendations: Future of Rural Health Care Task Force, May 2021
View and download the Final Recommendations Future Of Rural Health Care Task Force, May 2021 here.
Rural Health Special Bulletin; March 11, 2021
View and download the Rural Health Special Bulletin here.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act: Provisions to Help Rural Hospitals
View and download the CARES Fact Sheet here.