HHS Awards More Than $21 Million to Support Health Centers’ COVID-19 Response

July 9, 2020

Today, HHS awarded more than $21 million to support health centers’ COVID-19 response efforts. The majority of this investment—$17 million—supports 78 Health Center Program look-alikes (LALs) with funding to expand capacity for COVID-19 testing.

With this funding, LALs will expand the range of testing and testing-related activities to best address the needs of their communities, including the purchase of personal protective equipment; training for staff; outreach, procurement, and administration of tests; laboratory services; notifying identified contacts of infected health center patients of their exposure to COVID-19; and the expansion of walk-up or drive-up testing capabilities.

HRSA also awarded over $4.5 million to support the COVID-19 response of Health Center Controlled Networks (HCCNs). HCCNs support health centers to improve quality of care and patient safety by using health information technology to reduce costs and improve care coordination. The funding will strengthen health IT support necessary for participating health centers to effectively prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.

HRSA’s Bureau of Primary Health Care and Office of Federal Assistance Management will host a Fiscal and Grants Management Orientation webinar for recipients of the Look-Alikes: Expanding Capacity for Coronavirus Testing (LAL ECT) funding. The webinar will highlight key fiscal and grants management requirements with strategies to ensure compliance and properly manage the LAL ECT award.

LAL ECT Fiscal and Grants Management Webinar
Wednesday, July 15
2:30-4:00 p.m. ET
Join the webinar the day of the session
Call-in: 888-566-7701
Passcode: 9747226
Submit questions ahead of time to OFAMFTA@hrsa.gov.
Visit the LAL ECT technical assistance page to access resources for award recipients.

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcement

July 9, 2020

HRSA Makes Awards for the Rural Health Network Development Planning Program.  The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded $2 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 medical care providers, social service providers, and community organizations to coalesce key elements of a rural health care delivery system to improve local capacity and coordination of care. Administered by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) at HRSA, the Network Planning program is an opportunity for rural health care and social service providers to implement new and innovative approaches to care that may in turn serve as a model for other rural communities. 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.

Request for Information: Seeking Stakeholder Input on Scientific Gaps and Research Needs Related to Delivery of Cancer-related Care via Telehealth – July 30.  The National Cancer Institute is seeking information on scientific gaps and research needs related to the delivery of cancer-related care via telehealth. This request for information is part of a planning effort designed to identify promising opportunities and set priorities for research in this area.

NIH Request for Information: Clinical Experience in Suicide Prevention in Primary Care Settings – August 7.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) seeks information from the public to better understand the opportunities and barriers in the primary care community regarding efforts to care for individuals with suicide risk. Relevant topics include how suicide screening is deployed, cultural/linguistic needs of patients, reaching disparity populations, and telehealth adaptations.

How One Hospital Transitioned a HRSA-Funded Program to Address COVID-19A new feature article in The Rural Monitor profiles a Pennsylvania hospital that credits its previous award of the HRSA Outreach Program grant for 2015-2018 for their quick transition from in-person visits to telehealth under quarantine. Butler Memorial Hospital received the grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy for a three-year program to help patients access resources for managing chronic disease.

USDA Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America.  The Economic Research Service (ERS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has updated its atlas to include county population estimates and annual unemployment/employment data for 2019. Researchers at the ERS use data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, an ongoing function of the Census that keeps track of changes in demographics, employment trends, household incomes, veterans’ status, and other factors that help determine how federal and state funds are distributed.

ONC: Health Information Management at Substance Abuse Treatment Centers.  The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) leads the federal effort to support health information technology systems nationwide. For this report, ONC reviewed a survey conducted in 2017 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in which 13,585 U.S. substance abuse treatment centers were queried about their use of computers or electronic resources to store and exchange treatment records.

Telehealth Availability in US Hospitals in the Face of the COVID‐19 PandemicThe Journal of Rural Health grants free access to this research policy brief that examines telehealth availability and readiness in U.S. hospitals. The variables examined include organizational factors, county population, geography, and census divisions.

GAO: FCC Needs Comprehensive Strategic Planning for 5G Deployment.  The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that plans by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deploy the next generation of wireless communication technology, called 5G, do not have specific and measurable performance goals and may widen the digital divide for rural areas.

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy FAQs for COVID-19.  A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from our grantees and stakeholders, updated regularly.

COVID-19 FAQs and Funding for HRSA Programs Find all funding and frequently asked questions for programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

CDC COVID-19 Updates.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides daily updates and guidance, and ongoing Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA).

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases, Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Counties.  The RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis provides up-to-date data and maps on rural and urban confirmed cases throughout the United States. An animated map shows the progression of cases beginning January 21.

Rural Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019.  The Rural Health Information Hub has created a guide to help you learn about activities underway to address COVID-19.

Rural Health Network Development Planning Program

The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) awarded approximately $2 million to twenty awardees for the 2020 Rural Health Network Development Planning (Network Planning) Program.

The Network Planning program, administered by HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) focuses on the planning and development of integrated health care networks, specifically network participants who do not have a history of formal collaborative efforts in order to (i) achieve efficiencies; (ii) expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of essential health care services; and (iii) strengthen the rural health care system as a whole. The intent is that rural health networks will expand access to care, increase the use of health information technology, explore alternative health care delivery models, and continue to achieve quality health care across the continuum of care from prevention and wellness, to acute and long-term care.

Recipients from 15 states received up to $100,000 for a one-year project period that will focus on building, strengthening, and formalizing integrated health care networks and systems, developing training cooperatives, conducting community health needs assessments, increasing service capacity, addressing behavioral health conditions, and addressing the opioid epidemic. You can view the list of awardees here.

With FORHP support, these organizations will work towards becoming operational and sustainable beyond the one-year project period, achieving long-term outcomes such as increasing their focus on showing value in health care delivery creates incentives to develop regional systems of care that preserve local autonomy for rural communities while also ensuring access to the appropriate continuum of care for the local service population. These funded organizations are helping to change how health care is being delivered in rural communities.

If you have questions about the program, please contact Jillian Causey: jcausey@hrsa.gov or 301-443-1493

Medicaid/CHIP Provider Relief Fund Payment Forms and Guidance

HHS, through the Provider Relief Fund, expects to distribute $15 billion to eligible Medicaid and CHIP providers. Providers must submit their data by Monday, July 20.

Before applying through the Enhanced Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal applicants can watch a webinar about the application process for Medicaid/CHIP providers (registration required). An additional webinar is scheduled:

Wednesday, July 8
4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. ET
Register today

Rural Health Network Development Program

The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) has awarded approximately $13 million to 44 rural health networks for the Rural Health Network Development (RHND) Program. This is a three-year opportunity designed to support integrated rural health care networks address the health care needs of their rural communities. 

Recipients will receive up to $300,000 per year and are expected to achieve efficiencies, expand access to and improve the quality of essential health care services, and strengthen the rural health care system as a whole. Awarded applications range in a variety of focus areas including care coordination, value based care, chronic disease management, and behavioral health services.

Historically, grantees have been successful in leveraging finances by using FORHP grants to sustain their efforts; they have been able to combine federal funds with local and foundation dollars to support the continuation and development of health care services in rural areas. Organizations have innovatively expanded their programs to serve different populations and regions while ensuring that their programs align with the current health care landscape. Any opportunities you may find to engage and collaborate with the new cohort of RHND grantees would be greatly appreciated.

COMING SOON: The Opportunity Fund Opens July 6

June 30, 2020

Missouri Foundation for Health is excited to announce the relaunch of the Opportunity Fund next week!

Through the Opportunity Fund, we’re offering the chance for forward-thinking organizations to share their game-changing ideas with us. By working in collaboration, we will test projects that have the potential to reduce health inequities and build communities where everyone can reach their potential.

We’re looking forward to hearing your best ideas and collaborating in exciting new ways, all in an effort to make Missouri a healthier place to live.

Visit the Opportunity Fund page to learn more.

Receive Claims Reimbursement in 30 Working Days

Health care providers who have conducted COVID-19 testing or provided treatment for uninsured individuals with a COVID-19 diagnosis on or after February 4, 2020 can request claims reimbursement through the COVID-19 Claims Reimbursement to Health Care Providers and Facilities for Testing and Treatment of the Uninsured program.

More than $110 million in claims have been paid for COVID-19 testing and treatment of uninsured individuals. Get started today and you can receive reimbursement within 30 working days.

Learn more and apply for claims reimbursement.

HHS Awards $107.2 Million to Grow and Train the Health Workforce

June 18, 2020

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is announcing awards totaling $107.2 million to 310 recipients to increase the health workforce in rural and underserved communities. Recipients across 45 states and U.S. territories received funding to improve the quality, distribution and diversity of health professionals serving across the country.

“Supporting a strong health workforce is essential to improving health in rural and underserved communities,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “We’ve seen stark disparities in health and healthcare access contribute to the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the Trump Administration’s work to address health disparities, these grants provide support for the training of healthcare workers in rural and underserved communities.

Read the release.

Funding Opportunity: Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Application Deadline: July 20, 2020

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) released a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (RCORP-NAS). HRSA will award approximately 30 grants to rural consortia to reduce the incidence and impact of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).

Successful RCORP-NAS award recipients will receive up to $500,000 over a three-year period of performance to conduct a combination of prevention, treatment, and recovery activities designed to improve systems of care, family supports, and social determinants of health. While the focus of RCORP-NAS is primarily opioid use disorder (OUD), applicants may also choose to address additional substances of concern or substance use disorders (SUDs) among the target population.  The target population is pregnant women, mothers, and women of childbearing age who have a history of, or who are at risk for, SUD/OUD and their children, families, and caregivers who reside in rural areas.

View the funding opportunity on grants.gov.

All domestic public and private entities, nonprofit and for-profit, are eligible to apply. Applicant organizations may be located in an urban or rural areas; however, all activities supported by the program must exclusively occur HRSA-designated rural areas (as defined by the Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer). At least four separately owned entities, including the applicant organization, must sign a single letter of commitment that delineates the roles, responsibilities and commitments of each consortium member.  Please reference pages 5 and 6 in the NOFO for important eligibility requirements and exceptions.

Previous recipients or consortium members of RCORP-Planning, Implementation, and Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Expansion awards are eligible, but must clearly demonstrate that there is no duplication of effort between the proposed project and any previous RCORP project. Before applying for RCORP-Planning on grants.gov, applicants must register in grants.gov, SAM, and DUNS. These registration processes can take up to a month to complete.

FORHP will hold a webinar for applicants on Tuesday, June 23 at 2:00 pm EDT. A recording will be made available for those who cannot attend. Please reference page ii in the NOFO for the dial-in and playback information for the webinar. You can also contact ruralopioidresponse@hrsa.gov for questions pertaining to the NOFO.

To learn more about how HRSA is addressing the opioid epidemic, visit https://www.hrsa.gov/opioids.