Hospitals participating in the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) are permitted to make investments in hardware, software, and training that help to improve quality data collection and reporting in meeting value-based payment and care goals. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services value-based programs reward health care providers with incentive payments for the quality of care they provide to Medicare beneficiaries.
The example activities listed below — from the FY 2022 SHIP Allowable Investments — are not intended to be a comprehensive list, but can assist eligible SHIP hospitals in planning and selecting appropriate investments.
Activities to improve Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) data collection, reporting, provider communications, and patient and family engagement that directly impact patient satisfaction scores. Hospitals may use funds to support an HCAHPS vendor to assist them in fully implementing HCAHPS and improve reporting.
E. Alternative Payment Model and Quality Payment Program training/education
Software or training to prepare staff and physicians for Quality Payment Program (QPP), which determines payment based on quality, resource use, clinical practice improvement, and meaningful use of certified electronic health record technology.
It is important for state Flex Programs to understand the community needs of CAH and RHC service areas to develop or leverage program activities in support of health system development, community engagement, and population health improvement.
State Flex Programs can help CAHs transition into value-based systems, population health models, and future opportunities through education, network support, facilitation of new partnerships, and technical assistance.
The Flex Program and CAH designation was established and remains in place because of the financial vulnerability of small rural hospitals. CAH financial and operational improvement is one of the required program areas of the Flex Program.