Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Announcements

Date: June 16, 2022

HRSA Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – Medication-Assisted Treatment Access – Applications Due July 29. The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy will make approximately 10 awards of up to $1 million per year to establish new access points for Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) in rural areas. Applicants can be any public or private, non-profit, or for-profit entity, but the proposed MAT access points must be located in HRSA-designated rural areas and cannot currently provide MAT as a clinical service. To learn more, join a webinar for applicants on Thursday, June 23 at 2:00 pm. Registration is not required, and a recording will be made available for those who cannot attend. Join by phone: 1-833-568-8864; Participant Code: 160 096 3647.

New Public Health AmeriCorps is Recruiting. In April, the federal AmeriCorps joined with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to announce a new and ongoing investment in recruitment and training for careers in public health at the local level. In its first year, the new initiative is expected to recruit 3,000 members who will learn from the expertise and best practices of existing CDC, AmeriCorps and other public health programs. Applications are being accepted for organizations in each state; many are directing efforts to rural areas that have been underserved. 

Access to Primary Care: HRSA’s Innovation ChallengeLast week, HRSA announced a national competition with a total of $1 million in cash prizes for low-cost, scalable solutions that improve patient access to primary care and link health care to social services. The competition is open to broad public participation, including individuals, groups, health care organizations, and other entities. Submissions for phase 1 are due Tuesday, August 2nd. For more information, join an upcoming webinar on Wednesday, June 29 at 3:00 pm

HHS Allows for Audio-Only Telehealth. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued guidance stating that audio-only telemedicine appointments comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA, as long as providers take measures to protect patient privacy. HHS’s Office of Civil Rights says that this is an important tool for reaching people in rural areas with limited internet access, and/or those who are unable to use video. 

Telehealth Use for Mental Health Patients in Rural Louisiana. Researchers looked at 7,069 telehealth visits that took place between April 2020 and March 2021 to determine what and how socioeconomic factors affected remote mental health services. Some findings were not surprising, e.g., telehealth use is lower among elderly patients, and help-seeking behavior is higher among women than men. But the study also found that intensity – the number of telehealth visits for each patient – varied by the nature of illness, presence of multiple chronic conditions, and discharge status. 

COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage by Race and Ethnicity, December 2020–November 2021. The latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows differences by geography (including rural/urban), age, household income, and health insurance status. Separately, a group of researchers asked rural Oklahomans about their perceptions of COVID-19 vaccines, and found that the most common reasons for hesitancy were their rapid development and lack of research about long-term effects. 

Ongoing: HRSA Payment Program for RHC Buprenorphine-Trained Providers. In June 2021, 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 (RHCs) 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 $1.2 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 DATA2000WaiverPayments@hrsa.gov. 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.

Notice of Funding Opportunity: Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Medication-Assisted Treatment Access

Date: June 13, 2022

Notice of Funding Opportunity: Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Medication-Assisted Treatment Access

Application Deadline: Friday, July 29, 2022

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) will be making approximately 10 awards of up to $1,000,000 per year (3-year period of performance) for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Access. The goal of this program is to improve health care in rural areas by establishing new MAT access points and increasing the capacity for sustainable MAT service provision in rural areas.

FORHP will host a webinar for interested applicants on Thursday, June 23, 2022 at 2:00 PM ET, via Zoom. A recording will be made available for those who cannot attend. You can also join the webinar via phone: Call-In Number: 1-833-568-8864; Participant Code: 160 096 3647.

Note:  Registration is not required for this webinar.

Applicants can be any domestic public or private, non-profit or for-profit, entity, but the proposed MAT access points must be located in HRSA-designated rural areas and cannot currently provide MAT as a clinical service. 

* Please note: HRSA requires that applicants partner with at least two other entities to implement project activities, and has a particular interest in projects that propose to include correctional facilities and/or emergency departments to enhance discharge coordination. Award recipients will also be expected to participate in a Learning Collaborative, to facilitate peer-to-peer mentorship, and to sustain services after the period of performance ends.

To learn more about the program – and to apply – please visit the Notice of Funding Opportunity.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Anna Swanson: ruralopioidresponse@hrsa.gov or 301.443.2398.

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

Date: June 9, 2022

Technical Assistance Funding Available for Rural Emergency Hospital Model. In 2020, Congress created a new type of Medicare provider called the Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) in response to loss of services due to rural hospital closures. The new designation will allow a Critical Access Hospital or small rural hospital with no more than 50 beds to convert to an REH with 24-hour emergency services, but no inpatient care. With this funding opportunity, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) will award up to $2.5 million for one national center providing expertise to help rural hospitals determine if the REH model is right for their community and, if so, facilitate a successful transition. Read the policy brief on the Rural Emergency Hospital with recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services. 

RCORP Initiative Adds New Grant Recipients for Psychostimulant Misuse. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced nearly $15 million awarded to rural communities to continue addressing misuse of illegal and prescription drugs known as psychostimulants. These awards are part of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP), a multi-year initiative with $400 million invested since its start in 2018.

HRSA Makes Awards for the Rural Health Network Development Planning Program. HRSA awarded $1.9 million for this one-year, community-driven program designed to assist in the planning and development of an integrated health care network at the local level. By emphasizing the role of networks, the program creates a platform for both rural and urban medical care providers, social service providers, and community organizations to coalesce key elements of a health care delivery system and to improve local capacity and coordination of care. Administered by FORHP at HRSA, the Network Planning program is an opportunity for providers to use new and innovative approaches to care that may in turn serve as a model for other rural communities. The incoming cohort of Network Planning grantees have projects that focus on care coordination, health information technology/data analytics, behavioral health (including mental health and substance use disorder), elder care, and telehealth. Visit the Rural Health Information Hub online to learn more about successful program models and evidence-based toolkits that have come from the work of FORHP-funded projects.

Report Assesses RMOMS for Maternal Health. The Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies (RMOMS) program uses a networking model to improve outcomes for mothers and infants. The first grantee cohort, funded in 2019, included networks in Missouri, New Mexico, and Texas that provided prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care to 3,101 rural mothers. Grantees say that hiring patient navigators emerged as an early success strategy, and each of the networks laid the groundwork for expanded telehealth. More details about the grantees’ successes and challenges can be found in the full report.

Effectiveness of Telemedicine in Rural Appalachia. Researchers studied more than 100,000 patient visits at a primary care clinic in West Virginia between January 2019 and November 2020. The sample included 13,013 telemedicine visits to compare patient use and completion rates with in-person visits. 

NIH at the Intersection of Opioid Use and Criminal Justice. In 2019, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) began supporting research on treatment for opioid use disorder in criminal justice settings. The Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN) studies the effectiveness of new medications and other interventions as part of the NIH HEAL Initiative – Helping to End Addiction Long-Term. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks the impact on rural areas: from 1999 to 2019,  the rate of drug overdose deaths in rural counties increased from 4.0 per 100,000 to 19.6. To show the government’s response and ongoing work, JCOIN created an interactive map of federal and state funding invested in this work nationwide. 

ERS State Fact Sheets. The Economic Research Service (ERS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture released an update to its collection of state- and county-level data on agricultural data as well as population, income, poverty, food security, education, and employment.

Spread the Word About Maternal Mental Health. Promotional materials for the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline are available in English and Spanish for new mothers needing free, confidential support, and referrals to care.

Ongoing: HRSA Payment Program for RHC Buprenorphine-Trained Providers. In June 2021, 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 (RHCs) 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 $1.2 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 DATA2000WaiverPayments@hrsa.gov. 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.

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Announcements

Date: June 2, 2022

TODAY at 2:00 pm ET: White House and HRSA on Test-to-Treat for COVID-19. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) invites you to join a webinar to share the White House’s call to action around Test-to-Treat as a strategy to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The webinar will feature HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson and White House COVID-19 Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha as well as a moderated panel exploring safety-net provider perspectives. If you prefer to join by phone: 833-568-8864; Webinar ID: 161 896 3980.

Clarifying Information: HRSA Community Health Worker Training Program. HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW) issued new information for applicants to this funding opportunity. Through the Community Health Worker Training Program, HRSA will provide funding to health professions schools, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and community-based organizations to train 13,000 community health workers for underserved communities. See BHW’s website for more help with applications due on June 14

Rural America Placemaking Toolkit. A collaborative community process to define a town by what it offers the people who live there is the short way to describe the work of placemaking. This digital toolkit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Kentucky’s Community and Economic Development Initiative includes examples of rural placemaking projects along with technical assistance providers, funders, and guides to resources. 

2020 Census: Growing Racial Diversity in Rural America. The most recent Census count revealed that, between 2010 and 2020, rural population declined to just 14 percent of the U.S. total, the smallest percentage of the population to reside in rural areas in U.S. history. At the same time, racial diversity increased with Hispanics representing 9 percent of the rural population, followed by non-Hispanic Black people, representing 7.7 percent. Nearly one-third of all rural children (32.5 percent) come from racial or ethnic minority populations, compared to 28.1 percent in 2010. More about these changes can be found in the report from the University of New Hampshire Carsey School of Public Policy. 

New HHS Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) – Comment by June 18. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced a new office created to  address environmental injustices and health inequities for people of color and disadvantaged, vulnerable, low-income, marginalized, and indigenous populations. The OEJ is seeking public comment on a draft outline for strategy and implementation.

Sign the Health Care Sector Climate Pledge by Friday, June 3. The initiative, launched in April, asks hospitals, health systems, and other industry stakeholders to make efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase their communities’ climate resilience. The pledge is one part of a larger HHS effort to consider the impact that climate change has on the entire country and take steps toward sustainability. A recent article in The Appalachian Voice describes the impact of climate change in rural mountain communities. Watch a video that explains what the health care sector can do and sign the pledge by Friday, June 3.

HRSA News Round-Up for May. Last week, HRSA and leaders across the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services issued a joint letter to states, tribes, and jurisdictions encouraging them to maximize their efforts to strengthen children’s mental health and well-being. Earlier in the month, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau launched a new, toll-free hotline for expecting and new moms experiencing mental health challenges. The Office for the Advancement of Telehealth convened its first National Telehealth Conference. See all News & Announcements on HRSA.gov

Ongoing: HRSA Payment Program for RHC Buprenorphine-Trained Providers. In June 2021, 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 (RHCs) 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 $1.2 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 DATA2000WaiverPayments@hrsa.gov. 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.

White House and HRSA Test-to-Treat for COVID-19 Webinar

Date: May 26, 2022

White House and HRSA on Test-to-Treat for COVID-19 –  Thursday, June 2 at 2:00 pm ET. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) invites you to join a webinar to share the White House’s call to action around Test-to-Treat as a strategy to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The webinar will feature HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson and White House COVID-19 Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha as well as a moderated panel exploring safety-net provider perspectives. 

If you prefer to join by phone: 833-568-8864; Webinar ID: 161 896 3980.

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Announcements

Date: May 26, 2022

Preparing for Medicaid/CHIP Unwinding. In March 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) temporarily waived certain eligibility requirements for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to help people keep their health coverage during the pandemic. However, with the public health emergency ending, states will soon be required to restart eligibility reviews for this public health insurance covering more than 83 million beneficiaries of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan. Nearly a quarter of individuals under age 65 who live in rural areas are covered by Medicaid. When the eligibility waivers end, some estimates count up to 15 million people will lose their coverage through a process called “unwinding.” To help states prepare for the change, CMS will host a monthly learning series from May through October of this year. The Communications Toolkit, linked in the headline above, has information to help beneficiaries understand the steps to renew their coverage.

White House and HRSA on Test-to-Treat for COVID-19 –  Wednesday, June 1 at 2:00 pm ET. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) invites you to join a webinar to share the White House’s call to action around Test-to-Treat as a strategy to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The webinar will feature HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson and White House COVID-19 Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha as well as a moderated panel exploring safety-net provider perspectives.  If you prefer to join by phone: 833-568-8864; Webinar ID: 161 896 3980.

The Implications of Long COVID for Rural Communities. Researchers from the Center for Rural Health Research at East Tennessee State University report that higher rates of infection and lagging vaccinations mean that the lingering effects, now called long COVID, are likely to have a disproportionate effect on rural communities. While symptoms and severity of long COVID can range from mild to severe, the potential impact on mental health, social function, and the ability to keep working can be substantial. Watch a presentation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on evaluating and supporting patients with cognitive symptoms following COVID.

Updated Chartbook Focuses on Rural Border Health. With facts and figures about health status, behavioral risk factors, mortality, and access to care, the resource aims to inform rural health policy for four states – Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas – along the U.S. southern border. The chartbook is a collaboration between the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP)-supported Rural & Minority Health Research Center and the National Rural Health Association.

Answer the call: 988 Lifeline Suicide & Crisis Network Jobs. On July 16, 2022, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) will transition to an easy-to-remember, 3-digit number (988). To strengthen and expand the existing network of over 200 locally operated and funded crisis centers across the country, the Lifeline suicide & crisis network is looking to bring on new volunteers and paid employees to receive training to answer calls, chats, and texts from people in crisis. Since 1999, suicide rates in rural areas have been consistently higher than those in metropolitan areas.

Updated Guidance on COVID-19 Booster Shots. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommended a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 who completed their primary vaccination more than five months ago. The booster shot is 10 micrograms, the same dosage as the primary series for this age group. The CDC also strengthened its recommendation that those 12 and older who are immunocompromised and those 50 and older should receive a second booster dose at least four months after their first. Visit COVID.gov to find nearby locations for masks, testing, vaccines, and treatment. 

CMS Advancing Rural Maternal Health Equity. The Office of Minority Health at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides a high-level summary of its Rural Maternal Health Initiative implemented between June 2019 and November 2021. The effort comes from the CMS Rural Health initiative, established in 2016 to meet the needs specific to these areas.

Heat-Related Illness: Know the Signs. As temperatures rise, the newly formed federal Office of Climate Change and Health Equity is tracking areas of the country expected to experience a high number of extremely hot days over the next few months. The health impacts of a heat wave like the one that hit states in the Northwest last summer, go beyond dehydration and heat stroke to include: increased hospitalizations for heart disease, worsening asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and even an increase in violence, crime, and suicide. Last month, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services awarded $385 million to help households lower cooling and heating costs. Learn more online about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Ongoing: HRSA Payment Program for RHC Buprenorphine-Trained Providers. In June 2021, 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 (RHCs) 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 $1.2 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 DATA2000WaiverPayments@hrsa.gov. 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.

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Announcements

Date: May 19, 2022

New Federal Funding to Increase Internet Access. On Friday, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced Internet for All, a $65 billion investment included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – that passed last November. The federal National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an agency within Commerce, has opened the application window for several programs that will support efforts in states and U.S. territories to close the digital gap in areas with little or no high-speed internet. This is a particular issue in rural communities given long-standing gaps relative to urban areas. A separate program, the Affordable Connectivity Program, helps low-income households pay for monthly internet service and provides discounts for laptops, tablets, and desktop computers. For more information about these opportunities as they arise, sign up for the newsletter from the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth at HRSA.

DOT Previews the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also provides up to $1 billion over the next five years for transportation infrastructure that facilitates mobility, access, and economic development. Rural areas face considerable challenges with transportation which creates ongoing barriers getting to and from needed health care services. For facilities eligible to apply for the funding – state, local, and tribal governments, as well as public and nonprofit planning organizations – the federal Department of Transportation (DOT) will hold a one-hour webinar TODAY at 1:30 pm ET to provide a preview.

Questions Answered About New Sites for the NHSC – Deadline Extended to June 7. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will hold a two-hour Q&A session for facilities applying to become an approved site for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). Approved sites gain the ability to recruit and retain qualified clinicians in medical, dental, and behavioral health professions; post vacancies to HRSA’s national Health Workforce Connector; and participate in HRSA Virtual Job Fairs to connect with job-seeking primary care trainees and practicing clinicians. Today’s Q&A session for applicants starts at 11:30 am ET. Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics are encouraged to apply to become a service site. Last month’s webinar for rural providers is archived at the Rural Health Information Hub. Additional funding from the American Rescue Plan has created more opportunities for rural clinicians to receive loan repayment from the NHSC but, to qualify, a clinician has to be working at an eligible NHSC site.

Latest Data Show Growth and Widened Disparities in Firearm Death Rates. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data showing death by firearm is a growing public health problem. From 2019 to 2020, the firearm homicide rate increased about 35 percent to the highest rate recorded in more than 25 years. The firearm suicide rate, higher than that for firearm homicide, remained level but data showed highest rates for males, older adults, and non-Hispanic White and American Indian or Alaska Native persons. 

HRSA Launches Crisis Hotline for Expecting and New Mothers. Professional counselors are staffing the line around the clock, offering mental health support in English or Spanish.  Research from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention shows that about 1 in 8 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression that may be missed or misunderstood by family. The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline is funded by HRSA through the agency’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). In response to the nationwide shortage of baby formula, MCHB issued guidance for families and providers, with additional information from the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Feedback Requested to Improve the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network – Deadline extended to May 23. Last month, HRSA released a Request for Information seeking input on ways to strengthen the program that ensures availability and access to donor organs for patients with end-stage organ failure. Research shows social determinants of health create disparities in access to organ transplantation, particularly for racial and ethnic minorities, groups with lower socioeconomic status, and patients in rural areas.

HRSA Celebrates National Nurses Month. HRSA is commemorating National Nurses Month by highlighting the significant contributions of our country’s nurses. HRSA currently has more than 7,700 National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and 500 Nurse Corps participants serving at rural sites and schools across the country. About 39 percent of all NHSC nurses serve in a rural community throughout the nation. In AY 2020-2021, the Advanced Nursing Education Nurse Practitioner Residency programs trained 368 post graduate, licensed and certified Nurse Practitioners, the majority of whom trained in primary care (99 percent), medically underserved (99 percent), and rural (44 percent) settings. Join HRSA in recognizing that ‘Nurses Make a Difference’ by following along on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Ongoing: HRSA Payment Program for RHC Buprenorphine-Trained Providers. In June 2021, 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 (RHCs) 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 $1.2 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 DATA2000WaiverPayments@hrsa.gov. 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.

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Announcements

Date: May 5, 2022

Apply to Provide Technical Assistance for Rural Health Workforce Training by June 8. In response to pandemic-related workforce shortages, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will make one award to strengthen training and certification programs in the following support roles for health care in rural areas: community health workers, health IT and/or telehealth technical support, community para-medicine and case management staff, and respiratory therapists. Eligible applicants are public and private, nonprofit entities that can assist networks formed by HRSA’s Rural Public Health Workforce Network Training Program.   

County Health Rankings for 2022. The annual ranking of health for nearly every county in the nation takes a closer look at four specific social determinants that impact health outcomes: living wage, gender pay gap, childcare cost burden, and school funding adequacy.  References to rural areas throughout the report highlight major geographic disparities before and after the pandemic.

COGME Reports on Strengthening Rural Health WorkforceThe Council on Graduate Medical Education, COGME, provides ongoing assessment of physician workforce trends and makes recommendations to federal policymakers. In this new report, COGME focuses on gaps in rural health care and makes six recommendations for federal policy and investment, including programs such as the National Health Service Corps, Rural Residency Planning and Development, and other training programs funded by HRSA.   

Evaluating the Million Hearts Model. In 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the Million Hearts Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Model. Designed by the CMS Innovation Center to test if health care costs could be lowered by prevention, the program called on participants to reduce the incidence of first-time heart attacks and strokes among Medicare beneficiaries.  A little more than a third (36 percent) of the original participants – primary care and specialty practices, health centers, and hospitals – were rural providers. While this report only evaluates the first four years of a five-year program, results show improved preventive care for cardiovascular disease. 

HRSA News Round-Up for April. In case you missed it, HRSA announced investments to: support community-based doulas; strengthen home visiting supports for parents, infants, and children; expand investments in state responses to the maternal mortality crisis; launch the largest investment ever made in Community Health Worker training; and build new data tools to reduce health disparities through health centers.

Ongoing: HRSA Payment Program for RHC Buprenorphine-Trained Providers. In June 2021, 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 (RHCs) 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 $1.2 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 DATA2000WaiverPayments@hrsa.gov. 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.

Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network Technical Assistance Program

Date: May 4, 2022

Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network Technical Assistance Program

Application Deadline: June 8, 2022

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA), Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), announced the availability of nearly $48 million in American Rescue Plan funding for community based-organizations to expand public health capacity in rural and tribal communities through health care job development, training and placement. Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network awardees will be able to use this funding to address workforce needs related to the long-term effects of COVID-19, health information technology (IT), and other key workforce issues.

HRSA’s Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network Technical Assistance Program (RPHWTN-TAP) will provide technical assistance (TA) to rural health care networks responding to the critical need for more trained public health professionals which has amplified since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The TA will help networks expand the public health workforce capacity by supporting job development, training and placement in rural communities. Specifically, the TA will strengthen the ability for networks to develop formal training & certification programs in these four workforce training area:

  • Community Health Support;
  • Health IT and/or Telehealth Technical Support;
  • Community Para-Medicine; and
  • Case Management Staff and/or Respiratory Therapists

Approximately $500,000 per year will be available for a three-year period of performance.

FORHP will hold a webinar for applicants on Thursday, May 5, 2022 from 1 – 2 p.m. EST. A recording will be made available for those who cannot attend. For dial-in information, view the NOFO on Grants.gov, click the Package tab, then Preview, and Download Instructions; technical assistance information is on page (ii).

Cancer Moonshot: Community Conversation Roundtable Discussion

Date: May 3, 2022

Special Announcement – Cancer Moonshot

Date: May 4, 2022

Time: 2:00 PM ET

Please join the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) for the Cancer Moonshot: Community Conversation, a panel hosted by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Throughout the day on Wednesday, May 4, Federal agencies and departments of the White House Cancer Cabinet will host virtual roundtable discussions to inform and advance Cancer Moonshot priorities. These meetings will provide panelists representing a broad range of stakeholders the opportunity to discuss reduction of cancer mortality and patient experiences in the diagnosis, treatment, and survival of cancer. HRSA’s Community Conversation will feature stakeholders from across HRSA programs addressing the topic of: Opportunities to Advance Equity in Cancer Prevention in Primary Care and Rural Health Settings.

Please register to join here: https://bit.ly/3KmRG7D.

For questions or more information, contact HRSA’s Office of Women’s Health.