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CMS Announces First Rural Health Strategy

A new interagency effort by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) aims to improve access and quality of care in rural areas.

The agency’s first Rural Health Strategy targets obstacles to health care, including a fragmented delivery system and lack of specialty service access, faced by many rural communities.

The strategy was created with input from rural providers and beneficiaries and focuses on five objectives:

  • applying a rural health lens to CMS programs and policies;
  • improving access to care through provider engagement and support;
  • advancing telehealth and telemedicine;
  • empowering patients in rural communities to make decisions about their health care; and
  • leveraging partnerships to achieve the goals of the CMS Rural Health Strategy.

Implementation will involve collaboration across other Department of Health and Human Services agencies, including the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Rachel Schwartz is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.