Analytic Capacity to Respond to Changes in Medicare and Medicaid, Data Assistance to Policy Staff at the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, and Production of Short Policy Briefs

Lead researcher:
Project completed:
December 2004

Medicare payment rates to a variety of providers are constantly evolving, both through new legislation proposed in the Congress and regulatory changes proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This project revolves around educating congressional staff and other key individuals about the mechanics of Medicare payment policy, and evaluating the effect of such policy on rural providers. To have the ability to respond rapidly to policy changes in Medicare reimbursement methodology, key data sets will be maintained and ongoing longitudinal files constructed that allow tracking providers over time. Topics of analysis will be chosen as the result of direct requests from the federal Office of Rural Health Policy staff and short policy briefs will be produced as needed.


  • Core Based Statistical Areas and the Medicare Wage Index
    North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center
    Date: 02/2004
    This document discusses the potential impact of the 2003 Office of Management and Budget statistical area standards on the hospital wage index and Medicare payments to rural providers. Additionally, three other options for defining labor markets using the 2003 classifications are presented.
  • Definition of Rural in the Context of the MMA Access Standards for Prescription Drug Plans
    North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center, RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis
    Date: 09/2004
    This study assesses how the definition of rural affects the potential impact of the access standards in the Proposed Rule to implement Title I of the MMA and finds that the congressional objective to achieve convenient access to pharmacies (other than mail order) would be more fully realized if the Proposed Rule definition of rural is changed.