June 2020

June 2020

Dear Flex Program Coordinators,

I enjoyed virtually connecting with some of you over the National Rural Health Association's (NRHA) Virtual Annual Meeting. As we move into virtual meetings throughout the summer, I know we are learning from missteps and drawing on best practices to ensure that our virtual meetings continue to get better, and encourage more connection and networking opportunities.

Natalia and I were very impressed, reading through your Flex Non-Competing Continuation (NCC) Progress Reports, by all of the work you have continued to do to support your rural stakeholders during these challenging times. We applaud your innovation and ability to be adaptable and flexible to alter your work plans to ensure that you are addressing the changing needs of your hospitals and communities. For states that requested to submit the NCC Progress Reports through the Request for Information (RFI) process, please submit by July 15, 2020, in the Electronic Handbook (EHB). 

The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) has a COVID-19 webpage to provide information about resources and funding sources that are specific to addressing the public health emergency in rural areas.

On Thursday, June 25th at 3 p.m. Eastern Time, FORHP will host a Poolside Chat: Invitation to Discuss Strategies for a Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP) Refresh for all State Flex Programs. The webinar objectives are as follows:

  • Hear updates on upcoming changes to the MBQIP data reports
  • Discuss MBQIP strategic direction and brainstorm strategies to refresh the program
  • Review relevant changes to the Hospital Quality Improvement Contractor (formerly HIIN)

I would also like to draw your attention to the recently released Flex Monitoring Team (FMT) brief on Engaging Critical Access Hospitals in Addressing Rural Substance Use. Some key findings from the brief include:

  • Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) have implemented diverse strategies to address substance use (SU), including inpatient, outpatient, and ambulatory services and community benefit programs.
  • State Flex Programs can play an important role to encourage CAHs to address substance use issues.

As always, please reach out to me or Natalia if you have any questions.

Stay Healthy,


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, $1,009,121 (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.