The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today released the agency’s strategy to promote high-quality health care for all rural Americans, address the unique economics of providing rural health care, and bring a rural focus to CMS health care delivery and payment reforms. Developed by the agency’s Rural Health Council with stakeholder input, the strategy calls for CMS to “apply a rural lens” to its programs and policies; improve access to care through provider engagement and support; advance telehealth and telemedicine; empower patients to make decisions about their care; and leverage partnerships with stakeholders to achieve the stated goals. CMS said the strategy also aligns with the goals of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Office of Rural Health Policy and other administration priorities, such as reducing regulatory burden and combating the opioid epidemic. “AHA is pleased CMS put forward thoughtful recommendations to address the unique challenges of providing care to patients in rural communities,” said Joanna Hiatt Kim, AHA vice president of payment and policy. “We look forward to working with CMS and Congress to take meaningful action to stabilize access in rural communities, such as creating new alternative payment models, expanding coverage of telemedicine and access to broadband, and reducing regulatory burden.” 

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