December 2017

December 2017

Hello and Happy New Year!

With this last newsletter of 2017, I want to encourage everyone to take a minute to reflect on everything you’ve accomplished in the past year. Here are a few numbers to note from the past year:

  • Together you conducted 772 critical access hospital (CAH) site visits in the Fiscal Year (FY) 16 grant year (as reported in the Non-Competing Continuation (NCC))
  • You distributed 12 batches of Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP) reports—Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) and Emergency Department Transfer Communication (EDTC) reports are on separate schedules while the Patient Safety/Inpatient (IP) and Outpatient (OP) measures are together on the same MBQIP report
  • You have signed MBQIP Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with 1,334 CAHs

Of course, Flex never stands still and upcoming changes include the end of data collection for four MBQIP core OP measures and the addition of new measures. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is retiring certain OP measures (OP-1, OP-4, OP-20, OP-21) so the last data collection period for those measures will be the first quarter of 2018—the reporting deadline for that quarter is August 1, 2018. We will continue to use all available data for Flex eligibility for FY 2018 and future years so I want to encourage everyone to continue reporting these measures for eligible patient encounters through the end of March 2018. As discussed in more detail in the December MBQIP Monthly, we are also adding new measures to MBQIP: Emergency Department (ED)-1, ED-2 and the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) antibiotic stewardship survey. The new MBQIP reports for second quarter 2017 inpatient and outpatient measures include ED-1 and ED-2 so you can see which CAHs are already reporting those measures.

Regarding grant operations, in January you will be completing your Federal Financial Reports (FFR) and confirming whether you have any unspent Flex funds for the FY 16 grant year. If you have unspent funds and wish to request a carryover to use those funds in the FY 17 grant year, please review the carryover instructions and template I posted to the Flex Forum on December 26. I strongly encourage you to talk to your Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Flex project officer (PO) before finalizing a prior approval request for carryover. That will ensure you are both on the same page and minimize reworking anything. Remember that you need to include any carryover-funded activities in your future progress reports and next year’s Performance Improvement and Measurement System (PIMS) reporting as well.

We will be working on future Flex Program planning in the coming months, starting with a Flex overview webinar on January 18, 2018, and a PIMS report-out webinar on January 25, 2018, as announced on the mailing list.

I look forward to working with you in 2018.

Sarah Young

Flex Program Coordinator

This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UB1RH24206, Information Services to Rural Hospital Flexibility Program Grantees, $1,100,000 (0% financed with nongovernmental sources). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.