Press release

New CMS initiative to improve health outcomes in sparsely populated areas

New CMS initiative to improve health outcomes in sparsely populated areas

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a request for applications for the Frontier Community Health Integration Project.  In collaboration with the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), this initiative aims to develop and test new models of integrated, coordinated health care in the most sparsely populated rural counties with the goal of improving health outcomes and reducing Medicare expenditures.  

“We are excited about the possibilities the Frontier Community Health Integration Project has to increase access to essential health services for people in these rural areas  who would normally not have access to these services,” said Patrick Conway, M.D., deputy administrator for innovation and quality and CMS chief medical officer.  “We expect critical access hospitals in these regions to introduce new telemedicine, home health, and ambulance services to improve the care received by Medicare beneficiaries.”

In this model, CMS will support critical access hospitals in increasing access to services that are often unavailable in frontier communities with the goal of providing care in beneficiaries’ communities and avoiding expensive transfers to hospitals in larger communities.  CMS will evaluate whether providing these services in frontier communities can improve the quality of care received by Medicare beneficiaries, increase patient satisfaction, and reduce Medicare expenditures.  

Eligibility is targeted to critical access hospitals in Alaska, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Wyoming.   Applications will include a plan to meet the community’s health needs in the areas of telemedicine, nursing facility care, home health services, and ambulance services.

For additional information about Frontier Community Health Integration Project, including the Request for Applications, please visit the Innovation Center website at  

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