Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

October 26, 2017

What’s New

Open Enrollment Runs November 1 – December 15.  For those without health insurance through a job, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or another source that provides qualifying health coverage, the period to enroll through or your state’s Health Insurance Marketplace begins on Wednesday, November 1st and runs through Friday, December 15th.   Plans acquired in this period begin coverage on January 1, 2018.  People in most states use to apply but some states have their own Health Insurance Marketplace.  Those who are already covered by a plan found in the 2017 Marketplace may be automatically re-enrolled for 2018 and should log into their accounts beginning on November 1 to learn their status.

Funding Opportunities

Pilot Project: IHS Youth Treatment – November 12.  The Indian Health Service (IHS) will make one award of $810,000 for a pilot program that extends service and care of Youth Regional Treatment Centers (YRTCs).  Currently, the IHS funds 11 of these centers that provide a range of clinical services rooted in culturally relevant, holistic models of care for youth who have experienced or are at risk of issues impacting health such as illicit substance use, delinquency or violence. However, once youth are discharged from the YRTC, they are often leaving a structured environment only to return home to families who may be unprepared to offer needed support and where aftercare/case management resources can be limited.  This pilot aims to address that gap in services by developing promising practices that can be adapted to other communities.

USDA Community Food Projects – December 4. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) solicits applications for more than $8 million available in the Community Food Projects (CFP) competitive grants program. CFPs develop long-term solutions to community food needs, including improving access to high-quality, affordable food among lower-income households and supporting local production of fresh, nutritious foods. NIFA encourages projects with goals that integrate impacts for economic, social, environmental, and health benefits. Improving access to affordable, healthful foods in rural communities can help improve community health. Interested health care providers in rural communities can partner with nutrition services and other food program providers for CFPs.  Search this topic on the Rural Health Information Hub and consider additional strategies and efforts for improving access to healthful foods.

Rural Utilities Service Assistance for Communities – December 11.  Nonprofits, school districts and state, local or tribal governments are among organizations eligible to apply for grants of up to $3 million to assist communities with extremely high energy costs.  Funds from the Rural Utilities Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, may be used to acquire, construct or improve energy generation, transmission, or distribution facilities serving communities where the average annual residential expenditure for home energy exceeds 275% of the national average. Before beginning an application, confirm you have the most current information by contacting Rural Electric Program staff or consulting instructions in the Code of Federal Regulations on the USDA’s High Energy Cost Grants Program website.

Improving Rural Community Airports – December 15. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will provide up to $10 million to help 40 small communities start or improve their air service. DOT funds may help communities subsidize or improve service to and from small, underserved airports. Airports in rural areas support economic development and public safety response and can be a vital asset for emergency medical services. As rural hospitals close, the use of aircraft may help close the growing distance between emergency health care services. Rural hospitals and health care providers can lead their communities in applying for DOT funds. Also consider other strategies to strengthen and improve access to emergency medical services.

Preventing Intimate Partner Violence – January 16. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) administers the Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancement and Leadership Through Alliances (DELTA) program, which funds statewide and local prevention efforts to stop intimate partner violence (IPV) before it occurs. This year, CDC will make available up to $410,000 per award to encourage strategic data-driven planning to reduce IPV risk factors and strengthen IPV protective factors. Research documents similar rates of IPV across geography but victims in rural areas may have worse social and physical health outcomes due to more limited access to high-quality IPV services. Eligible DELTA applicants are current or new state domestic violence coalitions, which much include representatives from several pertinent sectors, including health care providers and state or local health departments. Rural hospitals may consider joining their state’s coalition or collaborating with partners to begin a new coalition focused on rural communities. Also consider training staff to implement and adapt evidence-based interventions to prevent IPV.

Resources, Learning Events and Technical Assistance

Rural HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment – Thursday, November 2 at 1:00 pm ET.  The Rural Health Information Hub and the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis will present the Rural HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment Toolkit designed to help rural communities plan, implement, and sustain rural HIV/AIDS programs. Developed by NORC on behalf of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), the toolkit identifies model programs and resources that will benefit rural communities seeking to implement HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs. This one-hour webinar will feature examples of successful programs, including lessons learned.

Approaching Deadlines

Comments Requested: Strategic Plan for HHS – October 27
Publish Rural Health Equity Research – November 1
Comments Requested: Telehealth for Veterans Care – November 1
Address Suicide Research Gaps in Rural Communities  – November 2
Comments Requested: Revisions to 911 Grant Program – November 6
Pilot Project: IHS Youth Treatment – November 12
Comments Requested: Rural Rental Housing Loans – November 13
Loan Repayment for Health Disparities Research – November 15
Comments Requested: Improving Care for Medicare Beneficiaries – November 20
Support for Rural Financial Institutions – November 30
MIPS Virtual Group Election – December 1
USDA Community Food Projects – December 4
Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program – December 6
Improve Tribal Road Safety – December 11
Rural Utilities Service Assistance for Communities – December 11
Assessment for Preventing Medical Errors – December 15
Improving Rural Community Airports – December 15
Drinking Water and Waste Disposal for Rural and Native Alaskan Villages – Ongoing
HIT Strategies for Patient-Reported Outcome Measures – Ongoing
HIT to Improve Health Care Quality and Outcomes – Ongoing
Community Facilities Program –  Ongoing
Summer Food Service Program – Ongoing