Deadline Extended: NHSC S2S Loan Repayment Program

Date: October 28, 2021

You have more time to submit your NHSC Students to Service Loan Repayment Program application.

The deadline to submit applications for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Students to Service Loan Repayment Program (S2S LRP) is extended until Thursday, December 2, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Health Resources and Services Administration is excited to award a record number of clinicians this year thanks to additional funding through the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan. Don’t wait – apply today!

Get specific details on eligibility and how to apply on the NHSC website.

Apply Here!

Free Webinar TODAY: Best Practices for Mitigating the EMS Workforce Shortage

Post Date: October 28, 2021

Time: 12:00PM-1:00PM CDT

Register Free

We are all feeling the sting of the national workforce shortage, but what is the data telling us about the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workforce specifically?

This webinar, brought to you by AIMHI, the American Ambulance Association, and NASEMSO, will focus on innovative changes EMS directors and state EMS officials have implemented at the agency, state, and federal levels.

Participants will walk away with practical strategies to mitigate the workforce shortage, enhance available EMS units, reduce employee turnover, and more effectively manage resources before response delays become a crisis.

Event Date: October 28, 2021

Time: 12:00 PM-1:00 PM CDT

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

Date: October 28, 2021

New Federal Strategy for Overdose Prevention. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced a new focus prioritizing four objectives: primary prevention, harm reduction, evidence-based treatment, and recovery support. Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that the rate of rural overdose deaths from 1999 to 2019 rose from 4.0 to 19.6 per 100,000 people. In 2019, rates in rural counties were higher than in urban counties in California, Connecticut, North Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia. 

Open Enrollment for Health Insurance Begins November 1. Plans and pricing are already available for preview and consumers may use the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace or one of 18 state-based websites. This year the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services took steps to increase the number of Marketplace-registered agents and assisters – especially in underserved communities – to help consumers review options and to  understand their benefits and rights. The boosted effort is the result of a series of research briefs on health insurance access for underserved populations, including racial/ethnic minorities and those living in rural areas. 

New Funding and Resources for State Medicaid Agencies. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launched a new “one stop shop” for home and community-based services. State-level stakeholders can learn about innovative models for care delivered to Medicaid beneficiaries outside of an institution, such as in their own home. These services, which can be particularly challenging in rural areas, include personal hygiene, nutrition, home health, and transportation. Funding from the American Rescue Plan provides qualifying states with a temporary 10 percentage point increase for certain expenditures for home and community-based services.

HHS Announces New Plan for Health Workforce. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) released a new strategy for expanding supply, ensuring equitable distribution, and improving the quality of the nation’s health workforce. The plan is one of the requirements of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and will be implemented by the Health Resources and Services Administration and several other operating divisions of HHS.

CDC Seeking Public Input on Work-Related Stress for Health Workers – Comment by November 26. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seeks information on best practices and promising practices for the positive mental health and well-being of health workers. The feedback will be used to inform interventions under development by the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The request includes feedback about first responders and emergency services personnel experiencing higher levels of stress during the pandemic.  

Case Study: Barriers to Hub and Spoke Model for OUD Treatment. Originating in Vermont, the Hub and Spoke model provides a point of care at each stage of recovery from opioid use disorder (OUD), from the intense beginning to long-term treatment. This case study examines what happened in Montana, designated as a Frontier and Remote state by the federal government. Earlier this year, the HRSA-supported Center on Rural Addiction at the University of Vermont conducted a baseline needs assessment (pdf) in that state of rural and non-rural practitioners during two separate one-month periods in 2020. Both rural and non-rural practitioners named stigma and patient time/transportation as top barriers to treatment. A majority of rural providers also named medication diversion as a top concern. 

Place-Based Patterns in Youth Suicide Rates. An analysis of public-use data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed rural-specific trends in suicide for Americans aged 10 to 24 over the last 20 years. The study from the American Communities Project and the Center on Rural Innovation found that rural communities have seen some of the highest rates in the age group. Two of the geography types studied, Hispanic Centers and the African American South, had lower rates than the national average. However, rates for Native American communities were far above all others, in some cases more than double other types. 

Reaching Farm Communities for Vaccine Confidence. The AgriSafe Network is a nonprofit organization that provides information and training on injury and disease related to agriculture. Their health professionals and educators created a social media toolkit that aims to provide clear messages about COVID-19 vaccination for agriculture, forestry, and fishing workers.

Ongoing: HRSA Payment Program for RHC Buprenorphine-Trained Providers. In June of 2021, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) launched an effort to improve access to substance use disorder treatment by paying for providers who are waivered to prescribe buprenorphine, a medication used to treat opioid use disorder. Rural Health Clinics (RHC) still have the opportunity to apply for a $3,000 payment on behalf of each provider who trained to obtain the waiver necessary to prescribe buprenorphine after January 1, 2019. Approximately $1.5 million in program funding remains available for RHCs and will be paid on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted. Send questions to There is ongoing availability of a free online course for waiver eligibility training from the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine and the Providers Clinical Support System.

Webinar Series: Advancing Health Equity Among the Hispanic Population

Date: October 28, 2021

Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA), Intergovernmental and External Affairs Regions 1, 2, 6, and 7 invites you to a learning series on Advancing Health Equity Among the Hispanic Population.

This four-part series will include didactic portions on selected topics as well as discussions about factors that contribute to health disparities, barriers to health equity, and successful strategies and models to improve access to care and advance health equity among Hispanic populations. Participants will be able to engage with subject matter experts and potential new partners. Participants will also receive information on HRSA programs and resources to support their health equity efforts.

Join the 3rd Wednesday of Every Month From 12pm-1pm CT | 1pm-2pm EST

November 17, 2021 – Breaking Down Social Barriers of Health Amid a Pandemic

December 15, 2021 – Latino/Hispanic Communities and Mental Health: The Role of Community Health Workers and the Antidote for Compassion Fatigue

January 19, 2022 – Racial Disparities in Maternal Health: Challenges and Opportunities

February 16, 2022 – Improving Health Care Digital Literacy Among Latino/Hispanic Populations

Target Audience: Health Care and Social Services Organizations and Providers, Public Health, Community and Faith-Based Organizations, Advocacy Groups and Foundations, Colleges and Universities, HRSA Grantees, Federal, State, and Local Agencies

Additional information about the 1st session and the availability of interpreting services will be sent out soon.  

For questions about the series, please contact Veronica Roa at

Register Here

Webinar series, presented in Spanish, on best practices and opportunities for action.

Rural Health Research Gateway

Date: October 27, 2021

2021 CMS Hospital Quality Star Ratings of Rural Hospitals

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released its 2021 Hospital Quality Star Ratings, which incorporate several changes to the methodology. This change in methodology was intended to address methodological concerns about the 2016 Hospital Quality Star Ratings and to include more Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in the rating system. The purpose of this study is to 1) compare the 2021 CMS Hospital Quality Star Rating results for rural and urban hospitals, 2) to compare the 2021 and 2016 CMS Hospital Quality Star Rating results for rural hospitals, and 3) to identify implications for the usefulness of the CMS Hospital Quality Star Ratings for rural hospitals.

Key findings from this study include the following:

  • Rural hospitals were more likely to be unrated than urban (41.6% vs. 12.0%).
  • There was a large increase in the percentage of unrated rural hospitals between 2016 and 2021 (34.3% to 41.6%).
  • Almost all (89.4%) unrated rural hospitals are CAHs.
  • Almost half (45%) of unrated rural hospitals are in the Midwest census region.

Contact Information:

George H. Pink, PhD
North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center
Phone: 919.843.2728

Click to view Research Alert.

HHS Announces Health Workforce Strategic Plan

Date: October 28, 2021

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration, has released the HHS Health Workforce Strategic Plan

This Health Workforce Strategic Plan, required by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, provides a forward-looking framework for health workforce improvements, focused on four key goals:

  • Expanding supply
  • Ensuring equitable distribution
  • Improving quality
  • Enhancing the use of data and evidence to improve program outcomes

This Strategic Plan will help coordinated efforts to address long-standing barriers to strengthening the health workforce. 

The Strategic Plan focuses on: 

  • Recruiting and training health professionals from underserved communities to build a diverse, representative health workforce;
  • Ensuring equitable distribution of the workforce across geographic areas and health professions;
  • Strengthening the ability of the workforce to deliver high-quality care, including through strengthening cultural and linguistic competency of health professionals; and
  • Using evidence and data to make better decisions about our health workforce education and training investments.  

Take a look at the full Strategic Plan.

National Rural Health Association: Health Equity Conference

Date: October 28, 2021

The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) is accepting Health Equity Conference presentations through December 9, 2021.

Regardless of the wide-ranging interests and professions of NRHA members, one thing that binds us as rural health stakeholders is the responsibility to ensure the existence of health equity for all members of our communities.

NRHA’s Health Equity Conference, One of the only meetings in the nation to focus on health equity issues in rural America, is May 10, 2022, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

This conference, coordinated by NRHA’s Health Equity Council, is designed for those who are dedicated to bringing quality health care and health care services to underserved and often under-represented populations, including LGBTQIA+, veteran, and homeless rural residents as well as multiracial and multicultural members of rural communities.

Submit abstracts

Consider submitting a presentation proposal or research poster to contribute to this one of a kind event in 2022. Presentations are due by the deadline of December 9, 2021 and posters are due by February 10, 2022.

And plan to join NRHA and rural health leaders from across the country in the Land of Enchantment to help raise the standard for rural health with over 80 innovative, practical, and cost-saving sessions and much more.


Join us on WORLD STROKE DAY — Community Conversation

Post Date: October 27, 2021

Did you know that strokes are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. but that most strokes are preventable? Not only that, but about 800,000 people each year in the U.S. have a stroke, that is more people than the entire population of Alaska. 

This World Stroke Day, October 29, 2021, 12:00 PM, join the American Heart Association for a virtual lunch and learn, community conversation with physicians from BJC Health Care. Learn as the American Heart Association explores the risk factors and preventable measures you can take to lessen your chance of experiencing a stroke.

Mark your calendar and register: 

Event Date: Friday, October 29, 2021 | 12:00 pm  |

Register Online Here