$5 Million in federal funding going to Texas rural hospitals

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Rural hospitals in Texas are getting some extra funding.

Governor Greg Abbott announced on Wednesday that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is receiving up to $5 million in federal funding.

It's part of a program designed to address health disparities, improve health outcomes, and meet the unique needs of underserved Texans in rural hospitals through telemedicine.

"This funding will help Texans living in rural communities access medical care and health services they need and deserve," said Gov. Abbott in a statement. "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."

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services selected HHSC as one of four recipients for the program.

WHAT WILL RURAL HOSPITALS GET?

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. It will allow hospitals to invest in what is needed in their communities, such as essential primary care rather than having to rely on higher-reimbursing specialty services.

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.

WHICH TEXAS HOSPITAL COMMUNITIES ARE ELIGIBLE?

Eligible communities include areas within: Angelina, Brown, Burnet, DeWitt, Dawson, Guadalupe, Haskell, Maverick, Polk, San Augustine, Wichita, and Young counties. 

The cooperative agreement funds will be awarded through a Request for Application process.

HHSC may recruit additional participant hospitals from other areas of the state as funding allows.

For more information about the CHART Model, visit the CMS site.