Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

April 7, 2017

What’s New

2017 County Health Rankings.  This year’s assessment of health in every country in the U.S. concludes that more Americans are dying prematurely across rural and urban communities and racial/ethnic groups.  For the years studied, premature death increased most among those ages 15-44.  Drug overdose was by far the single leading cause of premature death by injury in 2015 but, for those aged 15-24, more deaths due to motor vehicle crashes and firearm fatalities also played a role in the accelerated rise.  A new measurement this year, disconnected youth, looks at young adults aged 16-24 who are not in school and not working and finds the issue more prevalent in rural counties than urban counties.  An interactive map on the County Health Rankings site breaks down the data by county and state.

CDC and Rural Health.  To promote their ongoing work around rural health issues, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently launched a website that provides an overview of the significant gap in health between rural and urban Americans, links to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report rural health series, and resources on key health topics impacting rural Americans.  The site also shares The Community Guide, a collection of findings – on topics such as diabetes, mental health, nutrition, obesity and oral health – to help resource-limited communities identify the best evidence-based interventions for improved health and disease prevention.  To learn more about the FORHP and CDC collaboration around rural health topics, please see the RHIhub resource page on the CDC MMWR Rural Health Series and check back frequently for details about upcoming webinars on specific topics.

Funding Opportunities

NURSE Corps Scholarship Program – May 11.  Students enrolled or accepted at an accredited school of nursing in the U.S. may be eligible to receive financial support for their training, including tuition, fees, books/supplies and a monthly stipend.  In exchange, NURSE Corps scholars agree to work at an eligible facility with a critical shortage of nurses upon graduation.

National Diabetes Prevention Program in Underserved Areas – June 12.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will make 12 awards of up to $1.5 million each to implement an evidence-based lifestyle change program to prevent or delay onset of type 2 diabetes in adults with higher than normal glucose levels.  The CDC estimates that 1 in 3 adults has prediabetes and the National Diabetes Prevention Program aims specifically to bring lifestyle changes to populations with higher rates of diabetes, especially in rural areas where programs and/or expertise are lacking.  National or regional organizations with multi-state networks are eligible to apply if they can demonstrate organizational capacity and experience working with Medicare beneficiaries and one or more priority populations in underserved areas.

Policy Updates

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AHRQ Telehealth Information Request – April 24. 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. This is an opportunity for rural telehealth providers to submit data, which can support FORHP’s shared goal with AHRQ in enhancing the evidence base for telehealth activities.

Resources, Learning Events and Technical Assistance

Zoonotic Disease – Thursday, April 6 at 1:00 pm ET.  The AgriSafe Network will hold a webinar on diseases that spread from animals to humans, which often go unreported for a variety of reasons.  The program will identify modes of transmission as well as signs and symptoms some of the major zoonotic diseases found in the agricultural workplace and provide an list of up to date educational resources.

Medication Assisted Treatment Training – ongoing weekly.  The Providers Clinical Support System offers free waiver training for prescribing medication for opioid use disorder (OUD).  The training is an 8-hour course, provided half-and-half in four-hour windows, required to obtain a Drug Enforcement Agency Drug Addiction Treatment Act waiver to prescribe buprenorphine, one of three medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of OUD.

Approaching Deadlines

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 24
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
Youth Farm Safety Education – May 10
NURSE Corps Scholarship Program – May 11

Community Facilities Program – Ongoing
Summer Food Service Program – Ongoing