Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

March 29, 2017

Funding Opportunities

Youth Farm Safety Education – May 10.  Land Grant colleges and universities are eligible to apply for total program funding of $300,000 that will support education of young agricultural workers in rural communities.  USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture administers programs linking research and education to farms and communities and supports youth training as a way to strengthen economic vitality in agriculture.

Improving rural economies – May 26. The USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service is now accepting applications for the 2017 Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program to improve the economic conditions of rural areas. A robust economy can help support and sustain rural health care services and improve residents’ quality of life. RCDG provides up to $200,000 for nonprofit organizations or colleges and universities to assist in the startup, expansion, or improvement of rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses that sell products and services such as telecommunications, credit and financial services, housing, and food.

Relatives As Parents Program – June 15. As the nation continues to grapple with the toll of the opioid abuse epidemic, particularly in rural areas, more grandparents are raising their children.  The Brookdale Foundation group has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for its Relatives as Parents Program (RAPP).  Brookdale will select up to 15 programs to receive a seed grant of $15,000 and ongoing technical assistance to create or expand support services to grandparents and other relatives raising children.  Any not-for-profit organization can apply for the program, including aging service providers, county agencies, and health care providers.  For additional information, contact Melinda Perez-Porter, RAPP Director, at

Policy Updates

Questions about Rural Health Policy Updates? Write to

AHRQ Telehealth Information Request – April 23. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is seeking information from the public to identify studies that report on Telehealth for Acute and Chronic Care Consultations, including those that describe adverse events. AHRQ is requesting this information as part of its systematic review under Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPC) Program.

Resources, Learning Events and Technical Assistance

Health IT Playbook – Wednesday, March 29 from 2:30 – 4:00 pm ET. The new guide from the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) includes tools and resources for providers using health information technology.  This 90-minute webinar will feature a live demonstration and allow for Q&A.

Virtual Rural Health Symposium – Thursday, March 30 from 11:30 am – 12:35 pm ET.  HRSA’s Office of Regional Operations Region VI will host an hour-long webinar, open to the public, to identify current health trends in rural communities and discuss new approaches to improving health outcomes.  For more information and to receive instructions for dialing in, contact Joseph Walker at

Changes to Rule for Patient Confidentiality – Friday, March 31 from 2:30 – 4:00 pm ET. SAMHSA will hold a webinar to provide more information about changes to the final rule for 42 CFR Part 2, Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records.  The rule, originally issued in January, was delayed for 60 days until March 21 by instruction received from the White House.  Registration for the session is limited, but a recording of the webinar will be made available. Please send questions to

CMS Listens on MIPS Cost Measures – TODAY – Wednesday, April 5 from 12:00 – 1:30 pm ET. Join the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for a listening session on episode-based cost measure development for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). The session is an opportunity for stakeholders to learn about and provide feedback on episode-based cost measure development. The target audience includes physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and other clinicians who provide care to Medicare beneficiaries, as well as organizations representing clinicians and other interested stakeholders.

Resource: Decision-making for Opioid Treatment.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced a new online tool to help patients of opioid use disorder better understand their treatment options.  The site explains addiction and challenges to recovery, describes medication-assisted treatment, and addresses some of the barriers to recovery.

Resource: CDC MMWR Rural Health Series on RHI Hub. Rural Health Information Hub has created a one-stop page to highlight the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Rural Health Series.  The page includes the MMWR publications, information on the webinar series, and other related resources.

Resource of the Week

Catalog of Value-Based Initiatives for Rural Providers. This catalog is designed to help rural leaders and communities identify HHS value-based programs appropriate for rural participation. Created by the RHV team, it summarizes rural-relevant, value-based programs currently or recently implemented by the Department of Health & Human Services, including the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation at CMS.

Approaching Deadlines

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

Comment:  New bundled payment programs delayed – April 19
AmeriCorps State and National Grants – April 19
AmeriCorps Indian Tribes Grants – April 19

AHRQ Telehealth Information Request – April 23
Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals – April 25
NHSC Scholarships – April 27
Nutrition Education on Indian Reservations – May 1
Regional Telehealth Resource Center Program
May 2
National Telehealth Resource Center Program – May 2
Next Generation ACO  – May 4

Community Facilities Program – Ongoing
Summer Food Service Program – Ongoing