HTP Rural Support Fund

The Rural Support Program is complementary funding to the Hospital Transformation Program (HTP) to prepare critical access and rural hospitals for future value-based payment environments.

Under the HTP, hospitals will be required to implement quality-based initiatives and projects to receive supplemental payments and demonstrate meaningful community engagement and improvements in health outcomes over time. For some rural hospital communities, layering quality based initiatives on top of insufficient operational strategies or infrastructure may not allow the hospitals to prepare for the needs of the communities they serve or the payment methodologies of the future. Select critical access or rural hospitals will be eligible to receive additional support payments to prepare for alternative payment methodologies in the future through strategic planning and financial modeling, and then to operationalize those strategies.

Who is eligible? 

Not-for-profit critical access or rural hospitals meeting the criteria below are eligible to request funds through the attestation form. Funding will be allocated to low revenue hospitals, which are defined as those that contribute to the bottom 10% of net patient revenues for all critical access or rural hospitals. Net patient revenue is determined from each hospital’s Medicare Cost Report and is averaged between 2016, 2017 and 2018. In addition, funding will be allocated to hospitals with a low fund balance, which are defined as those that contribute to the bottom 2.5% of the fund balance for all critical access or rural hospitals not eligible as a result of the net patient revenue criteria. Fund balance is determined from each hospital’s 2019 Medicare Cost Report.

Rural Support Fund Qualified Hospitals

Funding Amount

Funding for rural support payments will be $12 million annually for each of the five years of the HTP, equaling $60 million in total funding. For each qualified hospital, the annual payment is equal to $12 million divided by the total number of qualified hospitals. A qualified hospital must submit an attestation form requesting funding up to the amount available per hospital to be eligible for payment. If a qualified hospital does not request the amount available per hospital or does not submit an attestation form, the remaining funds will be redistributed to a qualified hospital demonstrating need beyond the amount available per hospital. The attestation form must be completed annually to ensure the hospital is qualified for the Rural Support Payment throughout the five-year HTP endeavor.

How can the funding be used?

Funding is expected to be available each of the five years through the HTP. The funding may be used for services to prepare the hospital for future value-based or alternative payment methodologies, including:

  • Technical capacity
    • Health Information Exchange (HIE) connectivity, such as Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO) fees;
    • Strategic planning and consulting;
    • Employee trainings to augment leadership and development abilities;
    • Data analytics;
    • Actuarial services and financial modeling for alternative payment methodologies;
    • Facilitation and/or convening of community and partner meetings with key stakeholders; or
    • Travel stipends for hospital staff to attend meetings outside of their community.
  • Transformation capital to operationalize strategic plan
    • Establish or augment service lines, such as funding shared clinical resources for behavioral health or substance use disorder; or
    • Physical plant changes, such as conversion of intensive beds to ambulatory health or creating behavioral health capacity
Next Steps

The Rural Support Program supplemental payments will occur with CHASE reconciliation beginning in August 2021. The entire $12 million will be paid out evenly between August and September to the 23 eligible hospitals. 

Questions or comments can be sent to hcpf_RSF@state.co.us.