Through the Community Health Access and Rural Transformation (CHART) Model, CMS aims to continue addressing disparities by providing a way for rural communities to transform their health care delivery systems by leveraging innovative financial arrangements as well as operational and regulatory flexibilities.
The approximately 57 million Americans living in rural communities, including millions of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, face unique challenges when seeking healthcare services, such as limited transportation options, shortages of health care services, and an inability to fully benefit from technological and care-delivery innovations. These challenges result in rural Americans facing worse health outcomes and higher rates of preventable diseases than those living in urban areas.
CMS is providing funding for rural communities to build systems of care through a Community Transformation Track and is enabling providers to participate in value-based payment models where they are paid for quality and outcomes, instead of volume, through an Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) Transformation Track.
The Model aims to:
- Increase financial stability for rural providers through the use of new ways of reimbursing providers that provide up-front investments and predictable, capitated payments that pay for quality and patient outcomes;
- Remove regulatory burden by providing waivers that increase operational and regulatory flexibility for rural providers; and
- Enhance beneficiaries’ access to health care services by ensuring rural providers remain financially sustainable for years to come and can offer additional services such as those that address social determinants of health including food and housing.
To achieve these goals, the CHART Model will test whether upfront investments, predictable capitated payments, and operational and regulatory flexibilities will enable rural health care providers to improve access to high quality care while reducing health care costs.
Community Transformation Track
CMS will select up to 15 Lead Organizations for this track. A Lead Organization is a single entity that represents a rural Community, comprised of either (a) a single county or census tract or (b) a set of contiguous or non-contiguous counties or census tracts. Each county or census tract must be classified as rural, as defined by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy’s list of eligible counties and census tracts used for its grant programs. Examples of entities eligible to serve as Lead Organizations include, but are not limited to, state Medicaid agencies, State Offices of Rural Health, local public health departments, Independent Practice Associations, and Academic Medical Centers.
Lead Organizations will be responsible for working closely with key model participants (e.g., including Participant Hospitals and the state Medicaid agency) and driving health care delivery system redesign by leading the development and implementation of Transformation Plans with their community partners. The Transformation Plan is a detailed description that outlines the community’s plan to implement health care delivery redesign strategy.
Lead Organizations and their community partners will receive upfront cooperative agreement funding, financial flexibilities through a predictable capitated payment amount (CPA) for Participant Hospitals in a community, and operational and regulatory flexibilities.
The 15 Community Lead Organizations are critical to the success of the Model because they will coordinate efforts across the community to ensure that access to care is maintained and that the needs of various stakeholders are understood and accounted for in the transformation plan. Lead Organizations are responsible for managing cooperative agreement funding, recruiting Participant Hospitals, engaging the state Medicaid agency, establishing relationships with other aligned payers, convening the Advisory Council, and ensuring compliance with Model requirements. Ultimately, the Lead Organization will oversee the execution and coordination of a Transformation Plan that outlines the health care delivery redesign strategy for the Community.
ACO Transformation Track
CMS will select up to 20 rural-focused ACOs to receive advanced payments as part of joining the Medicare Shared Savings Program (Shared Savings Program). Building on the success of the ACO Investment Model (AIM), the advanced shared savings payments are expected to help CHART ACOs engage in value-based payment efforts that will improve outcomes and quality of care for rural beneficiaries. A majority of ACO providers/suppliers of the CHART ACO must be located within rural counties or census tracts as defined by FORHP.
CMS will offer CHART ACOs advanced shared savings payments comprised of two components:
- A CHART ACO will be able to receive a one-time upfront payment equal to a minimum of $200,000 plus $36 per beneficiary to participate in the 5-year agreement period in the Shared Savings Program.
- A CHART ACO will be able to receive a prospective per beneficiary per month (PBPM) payment equal to a minimum of $8 for up to 24 months.
The amount for the upfront payment and the PBPM will vary based on the level of risk that the CHART ACO accepts in the Shared Savings Program and the number of rural beneficiaries assigned to it based on the Shared Savings Program assignment methodology, up to a maximum of 10,000 beneficiaries.
The CHART ACO will enter into participation agreements with CMS to participate in both the Shared Savings Program and the CHART Model and, for the full duration of the agreement period, meet the requirement that a majority of its ACO providers and suppliers are located within rural counties or census tracts.
- CHART Model Office Hour on the Community Transformation Track - October 27, 2020: Slides (PDF) | Recording (MP4)
- CHART Model Overview Webinar - August 18, 2020: Slides (PDF) | Recording (MP4)
CMS announced the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Community Transformation Track in September 2020. Applications for the Community Transformation Track are due by February 16, 2021. The Request for Application (RFA) for the ACO Transformation Track will be available in early 2021.
The NOFO and forthcoming RFA will contain detailed information to assist interested applicants.
If you are interested in receiving additional information and updates about the CHART, please subscribe to the CHART listserv.