Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

March 13, 2017

Funding Opportunities

NHSC Zika Loan Repayment Program – April 6. Health care providers can receive up to $70,000 for a three-year commitment at National Health Service Corps (NHSC)-approved sites in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories as they work to address the health effects and risks associated with Zika.

AmeriCorps State and National Grants – April 19.  State and local governments, American Indian Tribes and nonprofit organizations are among those eligible to apply for program funding designed to strengthen communities and solve local problems, including those found in rural and underserved areas. With this competition, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) seeks to prioritize investment of national service resources in reducing and/or preventing prescription drug and opioid abuse.  In addition, the CNCS is accepting applications for AmeriCorps Indian Tribes Grants for community-level investment in education, economic opportunity, and improving health outcomes. Letters of intent for both programs are due April 19th for an application deadline on May 10th.

Nutrition Education on Indian Reservations – May 1.  Indian Tribal Organizations (ITO) and State agencies (SA) currently participating in the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations are eligible to apply for FY17 Food Distribution Program Nutrition Education (FDPNE) grants. ITOs and SAs may apply individually and/or as a consortium (e.g., as a region or a regional nutrition advisory council), and successful applicants will use the FY 2017 SNAP Education Plan Guidance as the basis for nutrition, gardening, and physical activities at the community level.

Next Generation ACO  – May 4. The CMS Innovation Center is accepting Letters of Intent (LOI) and applications for the 2018 round of the Next Generation Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Model.  This shared savings ACO, which qualifies as an Advanced Alternative Payment Model under the Quality Payment Program, tests whether financial incentives can improve health outcomes and reduce Medicare expenditures with provider groups assuming higher levels of financial risk and reward than are available under the Medicare Shared Savings Program.  Rural provider groups that are eligible for this model include Rural Health Clinics, Federally Qualified Health Clinics, and Critical Access Hospitals.  To apply, letters of intent must be submitted by May 4, 2017.  See Events section below for details on an application assistance webinar tomorrow, Tuesday, March 14.

Policy Updates

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HIT Advisory Committee Nominations – April 14.  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is accepting nominations of individuals for the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee. The Committee, established by the 21st Century Cures Act, provides recommendations to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on policies, standards, implementation of HIT, certification criteria, use of health information, and more. Letters of nomination and resumes should be submitted by April 14, 2017, and appointments will be made in July 2017.

Resources, Learning Events and Technical Assistance

National Committee: Social Determinants of Health – Tuesday, March 14 at 4:00 pm ET.  The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services delivered its most recent policy brief to the Secretary of HHS, reporting on the broad range of factors – poverty, access to services, economic opportunity, rates of chronic disease, and others – that affect health outcomes in rural areas.  Members of the committee will discuss their report in this 60-minute webinar hosted by the Rural Health Information Hub.

Application Assistance: Next Generation ACO – Tuesday, March 14 at 4:00 pm ET.  The CMS Innovation Center will be holding informational open door forums to guide applicants through the application process on the 2018 Next Generation ACO Model, for which rural provider groups, such as Rural Health Clinics and Critical Access Hospitals, are eligible to participate.  A recording and slides from the first two open door forums that explain the model and the Letter of Intent process are now available.

Connecting to Chronic Care Management Services – Wednesday, March 15 at 3:00 pm ET.   The CMS Office of Minority Health (OMH) and the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy invite you to attend this hour-long webinar providing overview of the new campaign to help health care consumers and providers understand benefits and resources for chronic care management services.  To inform partners and stakeholders about Connected Care: The Chronic Care Management Services Resource initiative kicking off this month, experts will discuss the prevalence of chronic conditions (one in four adults has two or more), the elements of this campaign to raise awareness, and ways that your organization can partner with us to spread the word.

Introduction to the Rural Health Care Program – Wednesday, March 15 at 2:00 pm ET.  In this webinar, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), an independent, not-for-profit corporation designated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will give an overview of funding available through the Rural Health Care (RHC) Connect Fund. With an annual cap of $400 million per year, the RHC gives health providers reduced rates on telecommunications services and broadband access. During this webinar you’ll learn about the funding available through the RHC Healthcare Connect Fund and Telecom Programs, the differences between the programs,  how to apply and tips for successful participation.

Application Assistance for TRC Programs – Tuesday, March 21 at 3:00 pm ET.  Applications for the Regional Telehealth Resource Centers and the National Telehealth Resource Center are due May 2 for these FORHP-supported programs providing expert technical assistance in telehealth to providers serving rural and medically underserved populations.  Applicants to the programs can get more information at this hour-long webinar about the process. Please contact Natassja Manzanero at to ask questions or receive instructions for dialing in.

NHSC Virtual Job Fair for Indian Health Facilities – Tuesday, March 21, 6:45 – 10:15 pm ET.  Licensed clinicians can learn about job vacancies available now at NHSC-approved sites at American Indian health facilities.  The National Health Service Corps holds virtual job fairs several times per year to allow direct interaction with site representatives about job and benefits packages, clinical environment, populations served and local community.

Application Assistance: ACO Track 1+ Model – Wednesday, March 22 at 2:00 pm ET. CMS will host this webinar to provide an overview of the Medicare ACO Track 1+ Model, including details on the Model’s design, eligibility and application requirements. The Model is designed to encourage more practices, especially small practices, to advance to performance-based risk in Medicare and allows hospitals, including small rural hospitals, to participate. The webinar will specify actions ACOs need to take to submit their application this summer for a 2018 start date, and provide the audience the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers from CMS staff.

Approaching Deadlines

Community Development Financial Institutions Program – March 24
Native American CDFI Funding – March 24
Comment: Proposed Payment Models for Pediatric Care – March 28

Area Health Education Centers – March 29
USDA Invests in Rural Business DevelopmentMarch 31
Funding for Achieving Health Equity – March 31
AI/AN Health Equity Initiative – April 3
Comment: Requirements for Home Health Beneficiaries – April 3
SeniorCorps Retired and Senior Volunteer Programs (RSVP) – April 4
NHSC Loan Repayment Program – April 6
NHSC Zika Loan Repayment Program – April 6
Prevention of Opioid Misuse in Women – April 7
HIT Advisory Committee Nominations – April 14
AmeriCorps State and National Grants – April 19
AmeriCorps Indian Tribes Grants – April 19

Community Facilities Program – Ongoing