CMMI Requests Applications for New Demonstration Project
The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) recently released a Request for Applications (RFA) for the Frontier Community Health Integration Project (FCHIP), a new demonstration project that will test new models of integrated care in the most sparsely populated rural counties. Although home health agencies are not eligible to apply directly to CMS, the program does present an opportunity for home health agencies to partner with critical access hospitals (CAHs) in certain geographic areas to “improv[e] access to, and better integrat[e] the delivery of acute care, extended care, and other essential health care services to Medicare beneficiaries.”
Authorized by Section 123 of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA), as amended by Section 3126 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this three-year demonstration project aims to “increase the availability and accessibility of services that are often not financially viable given the low patient volumes of remote and sparsely populated areas” and to “decrease the number of avoidable hospital admissions, readmissions, and avoidable transfers to tertiary facilities, such that there is no net increase in Medicare spending for the affected population.”
Because of statutory limitations included in Section 123 of MIPPA, CMS is currently only accepting applications from critical access hospitals (CAHs) located in Alaska, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Wyoming and will select awardees from no more than four of these five states. However, while the primary applicant must be a CAH from one of these states, there are opportunities for other health care providers – including home health agencies – to participate in the program by partnering with a CAH.