Health Care Authority to receive rural health care transformation grant from CMS

The Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) is set to receive a $5 million Community Health Access and Rural Transformation (CHART) Model grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The funding will go toward transforming the health care system in rural communities in Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties. 

 

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On the mission of the grant, CMS states

“CMS aims to continue addressing disparities by providing a way for rural communities to transform their health care delivery systems by leveraging innovative financial arrangements as well as operational and regulatory flexibilities.”

Both the HCA and CMS emphasize the need for a rural health care delivery redesign strategy. Rural communities in Washington state face unique challenges when accessing health care services, such as limited transportation options and shortages of health care services. 

Likewise, rural health care providers face unique challenges in the communities they serve. These challenges include sicker, aging populations, provider recruitment and retention issues, fewer resources to invest in re-design strategies, and a “lack of health information technology and systems to support population health management.”

The CHART Model is a program meant to aid these rural communities by providing funding to develop and implement an entirely new health care delivery design strategy. The HCA states that the model will assist rural providers in transforming care on a broad scale to achieve the following goals:

  • “Improve access to care in rural areas
  • Improve quality of care and health outcomes for rural beneficiaries
  • Increase adoption of alternative payment models (APMs) among rural providers
  • Improve rural provider financial sustainability”

The HCA will partner with rural health systems, providers, plans, and the Department of Health’s Office of Rural Health, and Accountable Communities of Health. The HCA’s role will be critical in “…coordinating efforts across the community to ensure that access to care is maintained and that the needs of various stakeholders are understood and accounted for in the transformation plan.”

CMS states that the lead organization will also be responsible for “…managing cooperative agreement funding, recruiting Participant Hospitals, engaging the state Medicaid agency, establishing relationships with other aligned payers, convening the Advisory Council, and ensuring compliance with Model requirements.”

The model will span seven years and will begin this fall.