2024 Rural Health Hackathon

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Center for Medicare and Medication Innovation (“Innovation Center”) is excited to announce the 2024 Rural Health Hackathon – a series of in-person, collaborative sessions designed to generate and construct creative and actionable ideas to address rural health challenges. The 2024 Hackathon builds on CMS’ extensive outreach to rural communities through site visits and listening sessions to better understand rural health care issues. Through these solution-oriented events, the CMS Innovation Center will bring together rural health community care providers, community organizations, industry and tech entrepreneurs, funders, policy experts, and beneficiaries to leverage the wisdom and experience of the crowd. Hackathon attendees will generate new ideas to address some of the top challenges impacting health care in rural health settings and drive action to improve clinical outcomes, increase access, and better care experience for both patients and providers in rural communities.

Interested parties have two ways to participate:

  • In-Person Hackathon: Engage with other dedicated experts to solve some of the toughest challenges facing rural communities through one of the in-person convenings hosted in three cities this summer:
    • Bozeman, Montana: August 14, 2024
    • Dallas, Texas: August 22, 2024
    • Wilson, North Carolina: August 29, 2024

      Please note that there is no virtual option for these events due to their collaborative, hands-on structure.

  • Virtual Idea Submission: Provide virtual, written submission of ideas and concepts to address top rural health challenges

Top ideas with greatest opportunity for action will be highlighted in a public CMS Innovation Center report and connected with leading health policymakers and potential private or non-profit partners in the field. See below for details on how to participate.

Challenge: Improving Health Care in Rural Communities

Expanding access to high-quality, affordable health care and addressing the unique needs and challenges experienced by rural communities remains a top strategic priority for CMS. An estimated 67 million Americans live in areas identified as rural, Tribal, frontier, and geographically isolated territories. These populations continue to face structural barriers to achieving equitable health outcomes, such as access to specialists and home and community-based services, long distances to travel for care, and recruitment and retention of physicians and other health professionals. These challenges are exacerbated by payment structures that rely on volume, regulatory hurdles or barriers, and limited coverage options.

In recent years, the CMS Innovation Center has tested ideas to address rural health challenges and opportunities through previous and ongoing models, including the Community Health Access and Rural Transformation (CHART) Model, the Pennsylvania Rural Health Model (PARHM), the Rural Community Hospital Demonstrations, and the Frontier Community Health Integration Project (FCHIP). While progress has been made, there are persistent challenges in rural health communities that the CMS Innovation Center seeks to address through future models or initiatives.

Designing sustainable solutions requires input from individuals and organizations across the rural health space, including provider organizations, health centers, Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), critical access hospitals (CAHs), and community-based organizations doing the work on the ground, as well as the beneficiaries they serve. The CMS Innovation Center seeks to use input from the Rural Health Hackathon to both design new programs and improve and scale existing programs already operating in rural contexts.

How to Participate

The 2024 Rural Health Hackathon initiative will inform the development and implementation of future CMS Innovation Center models and programs, as well as broader recommendations across CMS programs and policies. Please see below for additional information on the timeline and how to participate.

Option 1 - In-Person Hackathons

  • The in-person events will engage participants across public, private, non-profit, and academic organizations and will feature a panel of leaders within the rural health field.
  • Sessions will focus on three areas as they relate to rural communities: Access to Care, Care Delivery Model, and Workforce. Participants will be placed into multi-disciplinary teams and asked to generate and develop solutions that address one or more of the following challenge questions:
    • What novel rural health programs exist and could be scaled? How could existing rural health programs and policies work better, including changes to regulatory policies and requirements?
    • What are new, actionable, and creative ideas to address emerging rural health challenges?
  • Individuals will be selected to participate with a goal of representing the diverse organization types, perspectives, and capabilities that support rural health care.
  • Interested in Attending? The CMS Innovation Center invites interested individuals and organizations (including public, private, non-profit, and academic sector stakeholders) that serve rural communities located within and around these cities to apply to participate. Health care providers are encouraged to apply to participate; no policy or technical experience is required. Please complete a 5-minute survey to express interest in attending the in-person convenings no later than July 12, 2024 at 11:59PM EST.

Option 2 - Virtual Idea Submission

  • Organizations and individuals unable to attend an in-person event, or who serve a state of territory outside of the event location are invited to submit concepts in August 2024. This public submission period will generate additional ideas to address the same challenge areas and questions during in-person events. These virtual sessions are open to organizations and individuals in all 50 states, Washington, DC, and U.S. territories. The CMS Innovation Center will share more information about the virtual idea submission process as it becomes available.

Questions related to the Hackathon should be directed to cmslearning@deloitte.com. CMS will notify participants of updates via email.

This event is authorized under section 1115A of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1315a), which created the Innovation Center within CMS. CMS reserves the right to change or update this notice at any time.


Page Last Modified:
07/03/2024 10:57 AM