National Rural Health Association 38th Annual Conference
Author: Eddie Marmouget
The National Rural Health Association’s (NRHA) 38th Annual Rural Health Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offered more than 50 sessions on rural health, covering topics such as population health, telemedicine, care coordination, accountable care organizations, policy updates, industry trends, the 340B drug pricing program and neonatal emergencies.
Although there were a multitude of informal “hallway” conversations and engaging presentations, one of the key takeaways from the conference was rural provider involvement in payment reform. Rural providers said they want to be at the table for payment reform—they want reform efforts that reward value and promote care coordination. However, rural providers are not smaller versions of urban providers. Reforms need to be tailored to the unique challenges facing rural providers. NRHA and its membership are working to help policymakers understand this message.
BKD Director Michael Earls presented “340B: Are We Monitoring Compliance Effectively and Efficiently?,” which addressed the history of 340B as well as the current regulatory environment and compliance risks. Michael stressed the importance of creating an internal and external 340B communication strategy and ways organizations are analyzing 340B drug program benefits. He also discussed various compliance risks, including diversion, duplicate discounts and contract pharmacy arrangements, as well as the concept of reputational risk related to the 340B program and the ongoing need to be prepared for a Health Resources and Services Administration audit.
Interested in learning what executives took away from the week and what they anticipate in the coming year? We recorded insights from several industry leaders, including NRHA CEO Alan Morgan; NRHA President Jodi Schmidt and Dave Pearson, president and CEO of the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals.
The conference covered a diverse range of topics relevant to rural providers. If you have questions on these or other topics, contact your BKD advisor.