Rural hospitals in East Texas eligible for federal grants

Texas Politics

AUSTIN, Texas (KETK) – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is getting up to $5 million in federal funding as part of a program to help serve Texans in rural hospitals throughout the state, including some in East Texas.

Eligible communities include the following counties:

  • Angelina
  • Brown
  • Burnet
  • DeWitt
  • Dawson
  • Guadalupe
  • Haskell
  • Maverick
  • Polk
  • San Augustine
  • Wichita
  • Young

The funding comes from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). It selected HHSC as one of four recipients for a program designed to address health disparities, improve health outcomes and meet the unique needs of Texans living in rural areas using telemedicine.

“This funding will help Texans living in rural communities access medical care and health services they need and deserve,” Gov. Greg Abbott said. “Our state is stronger when Texans are healthier, and I look forward to working with HHSC to continue improving the health outcomes for people across the Lone Star State.”

A release from Gov. Greg Abbott’s office laid out the grants in more detail:

The Community Health Access and Rural Transformation (CHART) Model is a seven-year cooperative agreement funding opportunity for rural communities that face significant barriers to accessing health care. The funding will help rural hospitals maintain financial stability due to low patient volumes, high average fixed costs and difficulty attracting and retaining a health care workforce.

Under the program, CMS is replacing Medicare fee-for-service claims reimbursement for participating rural hospitals with lump sum payments also called capitated payment amounts (CPA) for the duration of the program. This stable and predictable payment structure provides hospitals the freedom to invest in what is needed in their communities, such as essential primary care rather than having to rely on higher-reimbursing specialty services. The CHART Model CPA will be calculated by CMS.

HHSC is receiving up to $5 million in cooperative agreement funding and will award participating rural hospitals to redesign their health care delivery systems. HHSC will provide technical assistance, allow hospitals to purchase telemedicine equipment, training, software, and hire additional staff, if needed, to implement their programs.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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