CMS Launches Rural Healthcare Demonstration Project

Feb 7, 2014

In an effort to increase medical services to rural communities, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are now accepting applications for the Frontier Community Health Integration Project (F-CHIP).

F-CHIP is designed to serve healthcare needs in rural areas by increasing rural access to telemedicine, nursing home care, home health, and ambulance services.  It will fund existing hospitals to integrate these healthcare services, reducing the need for rural citizens to travel for healthcare.  CMS spokesperson Mike Fierberg says the program will serve as a demonstration that localized healthcare can be less expensive, since it will result in fewer hospital referrals and emergency room visits.

Fierberg says it’s difficult under the current health care system to provide quality care to rural areas.  He says “when you have a very low volume, as tends to be the case in rural areas, delivery of quality services is often not feasible under the current Medicare Reimbursement System.”

Fierberg says the plan will solve this problem, increase efficiency and ultimately save money.  Wyoming and four other states are eligible for the project.

“It would actually save money down the line,” Fierberg says, “by fewer referrals to other hospitals, fewer emergency room visits, and so forth.”