January 2020

January 2020

Happy New Year, Flex Coordinators!

Thank you all for being so welcoming as I adjust to the new role as your Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Flex Program Coordinator. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the states that I will serve as a Project Officer for, and I look forward to diving into the Flex Program.

As far as upcoming Flex deliverables, your former H54 Flex Grant for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 (September 1, 2018 – August 31, 2019) Federal Financial Reports (FFRs) are due January 30, 2020. Please refer to my email on January 27, 2020 for more information.

In case you missed it, the Flex Monitoring Team (FMT) released a data summary report earlier this month, Patients’ Experiences in CAHs: HCAHPS Results, 2018. This report summarizes reporting rates and performance among all U.S. Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey for calendar year 2018. Key findings include:

  • The percent of CAHs reporting HCAHPS survey data increased from 84.4% in 2017 to 85.7% in 2018.
  • While the reporting rate has increased, the proportion of CAHs with over 300 completed surveys has decreased over time from 13.8% in 2012 to 4.7% in 2018.
  • National performance was highest for measures related to provision of recovery information and communication from doctors and nurses. Ratings were lowest for measures related to medication explanations, understanding post-discharge care, and hospital environment.

In Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP) news, a revised emergency department transfer communication (EDTC) measure has been implemented as of January 1, 2020 for discharges/transfers beginning in Q1 2020. Flex programs should refer to the updated specifications manual, training videos and other tools/resources available on the EDTC main resources page. As a reminder, it is the state Flex Program’s responsibility to ensure hospitals are aware of changes to the measure, available trainings, and state-specific processes for data collection and submission. Please contact Rural Quality Improvement Techncial Assistance (RQITA) staff for specific technical assistance (TA) support. RQITA will be releasing a “frequently asked questions” document soon that will be posted in the same resource location. FORHP will send guidance in February regarding updates to the EDTC Reporting Instructions and the reporting template.

Thank you for your hard work on behalf of our rural communities.

Tori Leach
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, $1,205,000 (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.