Communications Team

Cultural and Linguistic Competency Toolbox

This Learning Toolbox focuses on cultural and linguistic competency and their importance for helping to eliminate disparities in the delivery of quality healthcare.  The Toolbox includes a quick primer, and provides useful links to articles, tools, and resources. Quick Primer What is cultural and linguistic competency? Cultural and linguistic competency in healthcare refers to the …

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Health Literacy Toolbox

This Learning Toolbox focuses on health literacy as an important determinant of health equity and outcomes.  It includes a quick primer on health literacy, and provides links to articles, tools, and resources to improve the health literacy of organizations and patients. Quick Primer What is health literacy? Health literacy is commonly defined as “the degree …

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CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Engagement Calls: January

CMS hosts varied recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19. These sessions are open to members of the healthcare community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.  Call details …

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Webinar on February 23: Culturally Competent Approaches to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

February 23, 2021, 11AM-12PM EDT This session is part of the Addressing Health Disparities to Reduce Opioid Use Harm SWEEP. Join us on February 23 to discover ways to address how perceptions of addiction differ across racial/ethnic groups. We’ll also cover how using a culturally competent approach to opioid use disorder treatment can increase treatment …

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Webinar on Jan. 19: Advancing Cultural Competency and Health Literacy to Achieve Health Equity

January 19, 2021, 11AM-12PM EDT This session is part of the Addressing Health Disparities to Reduce Opioid Use Harm SWEEP. Join us on January 19 to learn why cultural competency and health literacy are critical for achieving health equity and improving quality of care. Darci Graves, MPP, MA, MA, CMS Office of Minority Health, will …

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Health Equity Updates: January Newsletter

Check out the latest health equity news, health observances, events, and resources supporting the IPRO QIN-QIO efforts to eliminate health disparities for Medicare beneficiaries. What’s inside? AHRQ 2019 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report HHS OMH Announces New Initiative to Address Hypertension New E&M Coding Guidelines Account for Patients’ Social Risks New CMS Organ Donation …

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SWEEP: Integrating Behavioral Health with Primary Care

A Strategic Web-based Education & Engagement Plan (SWEEP) is a virtual, multi-event learning program. A SWEEP brings together technology, education, and support. It consists of presentations and small learning circles. COVID-19 changed our world, impacting both our physical and mental health. Healthcare professionals are continuing to incorporate safety protocols to help identify COVID-19 cases and …

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SWEEP: Addressing Health Disparities to Reduce Opioid Use Harm

A Strategic Web-based Education & Engagement Plan (SWEEP) is a virtual, multi-event learning program. A SWEEP brings together technology, education, and support. It consists of presentations and small learning circles. Opioids are currently the main driver of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. In 2018, 128 people died from an opioid-related overdose each day. This …

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Glaucoma Awareness Month: January 2021

This monthly health observance highlights the importance of educating others on glaucoma. According to the National Eye Institute, over three million people in the United States have glaucoma. This number is projected to reach 4.2 million by 2030 – a 58% increase. As we age, we are at greater risk for developing eye diseases. The …

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COVID-19 Workshop on Jan. 14: Innovative Home Care Collaboratives

Thursday, January 14, 10:30-11:00am Join the IPRO QIN-QIO as Al Cardillo, President and CEO of the Home Care Association of New York State, provides information about innovative collaborations between home care and hospitals. Collaborations include ways to address COVID-19 and chronic care management issues during transitions of care. We’ll also present other unique home care …

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COVID-19 Vaccine Codes: Updated Effective Date for Moderna

CMS Memo | December 22, 2020 – On December 18, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Moderna COVID‑19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 for individuals 18 years of age and older. Review Moderna’s Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine (Vaccination Providers) regarding the limitations …

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CDC Immunization Courses: Webcasts and Self Study

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a new web-on-demand, self-paced training module for healthcare providers who will be administering Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. This module will provide information on storage, handling, preparation, administration, and documentation of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Continuing education will be available for this module. For more information, go to …

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Webinar on Dec 18: What Clinicians Need to Know About the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines

December 18, 2-3PM EDT A few minutes before the webinar starts, access this Zoom link to join. Audio iPhone one-tap: US: +16692545252,,1606816862#,,,,,,0#,,105116# or +16468287666,,1606816862#,,,,,,0#,,105116# Telephone: US: +1 669 254 5252 or +1 646 828 7666 Webinar ID: 160 681 6862 Passcode: 105116 Due to the high demand we anticipate for this COCA Call, we encourage participants …

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December 17: Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program Office Hours

December 17, 3PM EDT Join the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP) Office Hours to learn what the (CY) 2021 Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule means for your MDPP organization. Please be sure to read the MDPP portion of Calendar Year (CY) 2021 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Final Rule before the town hall and make note …

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COVID-19 Vaccine Webinars & Other Learning Opportunities

Webinar: Vaccine Confidence December 18, 11:30am-4PM EDT Register here for this event Join the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for a discussion of promising strategies from the behavioral and social sciences to help promote the uptake of vaccines to prevent COVID-19.  To inform a forthcoming rapid expert consultation on building public confidence in SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN) …

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Hi Rhode Islanders, have you had close contact with someone infected with COVID-19?

The Rhode Island Department of Health developed the COVID-19 Close Contact Quarantine Calculator to help you determine how long to remain in quarantine after exposure. What dose close contact mean? A close contact is someone who has been within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for a combined total of 15 minutes or more in …

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Training Sessions: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

Pfizer recognizes that this is a critical time for planning around COVID-19 vaccination efforts. As such, Pfizer is committed to sharing important updates. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine website for US healthcare professionals is now available at www.cvdvaccine.com. Pfizer will be hosting a series of training sessions to review information and answer questions on storage, handling, and …

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COVID-19 Vaccine Codes: Updated Effective Date for Pfizer-BioNTech

CMS Memo | December 14, 2020 – On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID‑19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 for individuals 16 years of age and older. Review Pfizer’s Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine (Vaccination Providers) regarding the limitations of …

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Fall and Slip Prevention: Winter 2020-2021

With winter weather comes messy walkways and debris. Add in health conditions and you’ve got yourself one hazardous situation. These conditions lead to loss of balance, mobility, and strength for seniors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that every second of every day, an older adult (age 65+) suffers a fall in …

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CDC Webinar on Dec 14: What Every Clinician Should Know about COVID-19 Vaccine Safety

December 14, 1-2PM EDT Monitoring vaccine safety is a vital part of the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As COVID-19 vaccines become available, the public’s knowledge and confidence in their safety, both initially and during extended use, is an important part of a successful national vaccination effort. CDC remains committed to ensuring that public health officials, …

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CMS Guidance for Medicare Coverage of COVID-19 Antibody Treatment

CMS Memo | December 9, 2020 – CMS posted updates to FAQs and an infographic about coverage and payment for monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID-19. The FAQs include general payment and billing guidance for these products, including questions on different setting types. The infographic has key facts about expected Medicare payment to providers and information …

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It’s Not Too Late to Get the Flu Shot

It’s more important than ever for everyone to do their part to help prevent the spread of illnesses like the flu. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer people are getting vaccines which puts their communities at greater risk for other preventable diseases, like the flu. When people get the flu shot, it helps protect them and …

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Health Equity Updates: December Newsletter

Check out the latest health equity news, health observances, events, and resources supporting the IPRO QIN-QIO efforts to eliminate health disparities for Medicare beneficiaries. What’s inside? Mapping Racial and Ethnic Inequities in Health and Opportunity Mobile Apps for mHealth and People with Disabilities Health Literacy as a Social Driver of Poor Health Outcomes Whole-of-Government Response …

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Webinar on Dec. 17: Operation Safe Station Addressing the Opioid Crisis

Operation Safe Station Addressing the Opioid Crisis—News on a Multidisciplinary Effort December 17, 2-3PM EDT This no-cost webinar is brought to you by The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) leadership, in collaboration with the Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP) team, TASC’s Center for Health and Justice, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Arlington …

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Webinar on Dec. 15: Social Determinants of Health Congressional Briefing

December 15, 12-1PM EDT Please join Aligning for Health (AFH), Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), and a bipartisan panel of Congressional staff for a virtual briefing that will highlight opportunities in the 117th Congress to support effective and innovative approaches to social determinants of health.  Social Determinants of Health (SDOHs) are the social and economic …

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ACL/CMS Webinar on Jan 14: Food Insecurity and Nutrition-Related Chronic Diseases during COVID-19

Reducing Food Insecurity and Nutrition-Related Chronic Diseases During COVID-19 Among Medicaid HCBS Beneficiaries January 14, 2021 | 3-4:30PM EDT The Administration for Community Living (ACL) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) host a monthly webinar series that invites subject matter experts and practitioners from across the home-and-community-based services (HCBS) spectrum to share …

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2019 National and State HAI Progress Report: HAI Prevention Possible

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the 2019 National and State Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) Progress Report. The report shows that the U.S. has continued to make significant reductions in several types of HAIs – notably, about an 18% decrease in hospital onset Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile) infections in acute care hospitals — …

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Health Equity – December Events

Hispanic Stress and Resilience During the Holidays December 3, 2–3PM EDT | REGISTER Stress has a significant impact on Hispanic/Latinx populations and is related to the use and misuse of illicit substances and alcohol. This webinar will provide an overview of recent developments in research and practice on stress, acculturation stress, and resilience in these …

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COVID-19 Vaccines and Monoclonal Antibody Infusion: Enforcement Discretion Relating to SNF Consolidated Billing

To facilitate the efficient administration of COVID-19 vaccines to Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) residents, CMS is exercising enforcement discretion with respect to statutory provisions requiring consolidated billing by SNFs as well as any associated statutory references and implementing regulations, including as interpreted in pertinent guidance. Through the exercise of this discretion, CMS will allow Medicare-enrolled …

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CMS Takes Further Steps to Ensure Medicare Beneficiaries Have Wide Access to COVID-19 Antibody Treatment

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the investigational monoclonal antibody therapy, casirivimab and imdevimab, administered together, for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients with positive COVID-19 test results who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization. Casirivimab and imdevimab, administered …

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Report: The State of Obesity 2020

According to a report from Trust for America’s Health, the U.S. obesity rate for adults reached 42.4% in 2020, the highest ever recorded, and is based on data from the 2017-2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The report notes that the national obesity rate has increased by 26% since 2008. Food insecurity due …

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Report: 20% of COVID Patients Develop Mental Health Issues

A new report published November in the Lancet found that those who have had COVID-19 are likely to develop anxiety, depression, insomnia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) within 90 days of recovery. The lack of contact with family members and loved ones during quarantine and hospital stays can produce psychological instability. Reports of PTSD symptoms …

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Policy Statement: AHA Recognizes Structural Racism as a Driver of Health Disparities

The American Heart Association (AHA) recently issued a policy statement in Circulation calling out structural racism as a major driver of health disparities in the U.S. The AHA acknowledged that while it had previously published statements addressing cardiovascular and cerebrovascular risk and disparities among racial and ethnic groups in the U.S., those statements had not …

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Article: Whole-of-Government Response to Homelessness in the U.S.

A report by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) states that despite significant increases in funding and beds, overall homelessness has been increasing in the U.S. In just five years (2014-2019), unsheltered homelessness increased by 20.5%, and has become a national crisis. In 2020, Congress appropriated over $6.6 billion for targeted homelessness assistance …

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Article: Health Literacy Should Be Valued as a Social Driver of Poor Health Outcomes

Health literacy is the ability to understand and effectively use health information to make decisions about one’s health. People with low health literacy have increased mortality, worse health outcomes, are less engaged in their care, use the emergency room more often, and have higher avoidable healthcare expenditures. In this article, Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD – a …

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Resource: CMS Home and Community-Based Services Toolkit

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a new toolkit designed for state Medicaid agencies to strengthen infrastructure and develop robust home and community-based services (HCBS) for eligible beneficiaries. The toolkit highlights promising state models and practices for strengthening state infrastructure to increase transitions from institutional settings to community-based settings; prevent or delay …

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Article: Mobile Apps for mHealth and People with Disabilities

A conference paper presented at the International Conference on Computers Helping People describes data and analysis on the use and unmet needs of mHealth mobile apps by people with disabilities in the U.S. The paper focuses on several key areas related to user experience in order to map the behavior, interests and needs of people …

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New Tool: Mapping Racial and Ethnic Inequities in Health and Opportunity

A new interactive mapping tool, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, allows users to view and compare data on a range of indicators for each state and for six racial and ethnic groups. The tool uses data aggregated by the Health Opportunity and Equity (HOPE) Initiative. According to their website, HOPE “provides an …

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CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Engagement Calls: December 2020

CMS hosts varied recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19. These sessions are open to members of the healthcare community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.  Call details …

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CMS Policies Give Medicare Beneficiaries More Choices around Surgery

CMS Memo | December 3, 2020 – Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is finalizing policy changes that will give Medicare patients and their doctors greater choices to get care at a lower cost in an outpatient setting. The Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) final rules will …

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Dec. 2 Update: CDC National Quarantine Guidance

Options to Reduce Quarantine for Contacts of Persons with SARS-CoV-2 Infection Using Symptom Monitoring and Diagnostic Testing CDC Science & Research | December 2, 2020 – Quarantine can be a burden on public health systems and communities, potentially dissuading people from naming contacts. Reducing the length of quarantine will reduce the burden and may increase …

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CMS Call on December 2: Physician Fee Schedule

Wednesday, December 2, 11AM EDT Please join CMS for a National Stakeholder call on the recently announced Physician Fee Schedule.  The call will take place today on Wednesday, December 2 at 11:00 AM Eastern. Toll-Free Attendee Dial In: 888-455-1397 | Conference ID: 5796036 Resources Physician Fee Schedule Press Release Fact Sheet: CY 2021 Physician Fee …

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Finalized Permanent Expansion of Medicare Telehealth Services and Improved Payment for Time Doctors Spend with Patients

CMS Memo | December 1, 2020 – Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the annual Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) final rule, prioritizing CMS’ investment in primary care and chronic disease management by increasing payments to physicians and other practitioners for the additional time they spend with patients, especially those with chronic …

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National Handwashing Awareness Week: December 6-12, 2020

Clean hands save lives! This awareness week highlights the importance of handwashing—one of the most effective and simple ways to prevent viral infections and improve health outcomes. December is a busy time for most people. Between the abrupt changes in weather, holiday gatherings, and the end-of-year rush, it is easy for immune systems to be …

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National Influenza Vaccination Week: December 6-12, 2020

This national awareness week focuses on highlighting the importance of influenza vaccination. The IPRO QIN-QIO raises awareness about flu risks and encourages everyone to protect themselves and their communities by getting vaccinated—especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that during last year’s (2018-19) flu season: 35.5 million people …

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Supporting Healthy Minds for Wisdom Keepers

About 1 in every 3 American Indian/Alaska Native older adults, age 65 or older, is at risk for dementia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart health is closely connected to brain health. Wisdom Keeper Campaign To raise awareness about dementia and encourage elders to keep their minds and hearts healthy, the …

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HHS/ASPR Training to Help Older Adults During a Disaster

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) developed the Addressing the Needs of Older Adults in Disasters web-based training. HHS/ASPR designed this free, publicly accessible course to improve public health and emergency medical responders’ capability to address the access and functional needs of community-dwelling older …

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Behavioral Health Resources for Indian Country

For more resources on supporting the behavioral health of elders and Indian Country as a whole, explore the new CMS Tribal Behavioral Health. Who is it for? This site is intended for people seeking behavioral health care for themselves or loved ones, health care providers, tribal leaders, and tribal health directors who would like to …

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CMS Comprehensive Strategy: Enhance Hospital Capacity Amid COVID-19 Surge

Agency outlines flexibilities to maximize Acute Hospital Care at Home, Ambulatory Surgical Centers to decompress hospitals treating COVID-19 patients CMS Memo | November 25, 2020 – Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) outlined unprecedented comprehensive steps to increase the capacity of the American health care system to provide care to patients outside …

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Reducing Loneliness for Nursing Home Residents

As the pandemic continues, the behavioral health of nursing home residents continues to be a concern. A new survey of nursing home residents by Altarum looked into how residents’ lives changed due to the pandemic. The survey found social interactions inside and outside of nursing homes have dropped sharply. More than half of the respondents …

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CMS Announces Historic Changes to Physician Self-Referral Regulations

CMS Memo | November 22, 2020 – Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized changes to outdated federal regulations that burdened health care providers with added administrative costs and impeded the health care system’s move toward value-based reimbursement. The Physician Self-Referral Law, also known as the “Stark Law,” generally prohibits a physician …

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Earn Free CE: CDC’s Online Antibiotic Stewardship Training

This U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week, register for CDC’s FREE online antibiotic stewardship training course, which offers 10 hours of continuing education (CE) to help you improve antibiotic use and protect patients. The first module is now updated with the latest national antibiotic resistance data from CDC’s recently released report, Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United …

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CMS Request for Application: Value in Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Initiative

CMS is announcing the Request for Application (RFA) open period (November 19, 2020 to January 3, 2021) for the Value in Opioid Use Disorder Treatment (ViT) Initiative The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) is announcing the Request for Application (RFA) for a new initiative that …

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CMS Nursing Home Podcast Series for Front Line Clinicians and Staff

CMS Beyond the Policy: Nursing Home Series for Frontline Clinicians and Staff The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is airing the first episode in a series of short podcasts for frontline nursing home staff. The series is designed to reinforce training and infection control practices in nursing homes to help combat the spread …

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CMS Urging Nursing Homes to Follow Established COVID-19 Guidelines This Holiday Season

CMS Memo | November 19, 2020 – Today, in advance of the approaching holiday season, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is urging nursing home staff, residents, and visitors to follow established guidelines for visitation and adherence to the core principles of infection prevention. These guidelines include: Remaining six feet apart from individuals …

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2020 NIH Rural Health Seminar on Nov. 19

Rural Health Challenges in the Era of COVID-19 November 19, 1-5PM EDT Presented by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), this seminar explores the impact of COVID-19 on rural populations, systems and workforce issues, and community engagement to respond to the pandemic.  Attendees MUST register prior to the presentation.

CMS to Celebrate the Power of Rural

Rural communities face their own unique challenges when it comes to accessing and receiving quality health care. Approximately 60 million Americans live in rural areas, with nearly every state having at least one rural county. Research has shown that rural Americans are disproportionately affected by certain health conditions compared to their urban counterparts due to factors …

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