A Rural Urban Comparison of the Proposed 2020 Wage Index

On April 23, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its annual proposed update for the hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System for fiscal year 2020 that starts in October 2019.  In the proposed update, CMS recognizes that the current wage index system perpetuates and exacerbates the disparities between high and low wage… Read more »

Rural/Urban and Regional Variation in the 2019 CMS Hospital Wage Index

The Medicare hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) is designed to pay hospitals for services provided to Medicare beneficiaries based on a national standardized amount adjusted for the patient’s condition and related treatment. Further, Social Security Act Section 1886(d)(3)(E) requires that the standardized amount be adjusted for differences in hospital wage levels among labor markets,… Read more »

2019 Wage Index Differences and Selected Characteristics of Rural and Urban Hospitals

The Medicare hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) is designed to pay hospitals for services provided to Medicare beneficiaries based on a national standardized amount adjusted for the patient’s condition and related treatment. Further, Social Security Act Section 1886(d)(3)(E) requires that the standardized amount be adjusted for differences in hospital wage levels among labor markets,… Read more »

Trends in Risk of Financial Distress among Rural Hospitals, 2015 to 2019

In 2016, the NC Rural Health Research Program developed and utilized the Financial Distress Index (FDI) model to identify hospitals at high risk of financial distress and assess trends in varying risk of financial distress over time to help inform strategies to prevent or mitigate the effects of closures. We found the proportion of rural… Read more »

MAT Waiver Trainings

North Carolina, like many states in our country, is grappling with increases in opioid use disorder. One promising strategy to address this public health issue included in the North Carolina Opioid Action Plan (https://www.ncdhhs.gov/about/department-initiatives/opioid-epidemic/north-carolinas-opioid-action-plan) is through Medication-Assisted Therapy (more info here: https://www.samhsa.gov/programs-campaigns/medication-assisted-treatment/training-materials-resources). Clinicians who are interested in providing MAT need to receive special training and a… Read more »

Rural Hospital Mergers from 2005 through 2016

Hospital mergers and acquisitions are changing the face of health care in both rural and urban communities across the country. There are many factors driving mergers, such as cost savings, increased access to capital, increased access to technology, etc., but concerns about rural hospital mergers have also been voiced, including reduced negotiating power with insurers,… Read more »

Geographic Variation in Uncompensated Care between Rural and Urban Hospitals

Rural residents are less likely than urban residents to have health care coverage through their employer, more likely to be low-income, and oftentimes are unable to afford coverage on their own. For hospitals that serve rural residents, this often means higher rates of uncompensated care compared to urban hospitals. Recent policy changes could lead to an increase… Read more »

Market Characteristics Associated with Rural Hospitals’ Provision of Post-Acute Care

Post-acute care (PAC) in rural hospitals, particularly Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), represents an important source of PAC access in rural areas. In addition, a rural hospital’s financial health often depends on providing services that meet local need.  Over time, some changes in Medicare payment policies have adversely affected rural providers. For example, when the Balanced… Read more »