Biden-Harris Administration Awards Washington Up to $5 Million to Transform Delivery of Rural Health Care
Nearly 28,000 People in Washington State Could Benefit from Improved Primary Care Services
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded the Washington State Healthcare Authority an initial $2 million to address disparities in health equity by improving access to quality health care in rural communities.
These funds will help determine whether the Washington State Healthcare Authority would maintain or improve quality of care and lower health care costs by testing evidence-informed community standards; addiction and dependence treatment; patient safety initiatives; and a collaborative care model that adds behavioral health management and psychiatric consultants to support primary care.
The Washington State Healthcare Authority seeks to serve nearly 28,000 people with Medicare in Washington state, including tribal communities, by implementing evidence-informed clinical standards with an aim to enhance primary care with behavioral health integration, improve patient safety for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and introduce a maternity and family-centered innovation model including a maternity bundle. The Washington State Healthcare Authority will also seek to improve transitional care for high-risk older adults, and will track quality at the community and participant hospital level.
“By expanding access to primary care, behavioral and maternity care services, we are investing in the health of rural residents,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “Providing increased access to health care in rural communities is a priority for the Biden-Harris Administration. These awards are one step to ensure access to health care is equitable and that we are reaching underserved communities.”
This award is part of the CMS Innovation Center’s Community Health Access and Rural Transformation (CHART) Model. As an award recipient, the Washington State Healthcare Authority can receive as much as $5 million, with $2 million being given during the initial pre-implementation phase and as much as $3 million upon completion of milestones over the course of six performance periods.
More than 57 million people live in rural communities across the United States with approximately 1,072,000 in Washington state. Rural residents tend to be older with more complicated health needs than their urban counterparts. In addition, rural communities often face challenges with access to care, financial viability, and the lack of infrastructure investments in some rural areas can negatively impact people’s health. Within rural areas, Black, Latino, and other communities of color experience greater access barriers and disparities in health outcomes. Rural residents may also have limited access to high-speed internet, hindering their ability to leverage online health care information and to participate in remote or telehealth visits with their health care practitioners.
The CHART Model invests in rural areas by offering technical assistance and support as they implement care delivery reforms to serve their populations. This can include modernizing infrastructure and using technology to eliminate traditional barriers to care, like distance to specialists or transportation issues. Within the supportive framework of the CHART Model, for example, award recipients can expand telehealth to make it easier for people in rural areas to receive care.
For more information on the CHART Model, visit: https://innovation.cms.gov/innovation-models/chart-model.