Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

April 23, 2020

What’s New

HHS Awards Nearly $165 Million to Combat COVID-19 in Rural Communities. Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded nearly $165 million to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in rural communities. These investments will support 1,779 small rural hospitals and provide additional funding to 14 HRSA-funded Telehealth Resource Centers (TRCs) to provide technical assistance on telehealth to help rural and underserved areas combat COVID-19.

HHS Launches New Telehealth Website. For patients, the website provides resources so that they can learn more about accessing health care through telehealth; for providers, the site is a resource to help them incorporate telehealth into their practices.

ACL Announces $1 Billion in CARES Act Grants to Support Older Adults and People with Disabilities. Through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) will administer grants to boost programs that deliver meals, ensure safe transitions home following hospitalizations, and provide other essential services to older Americans and Americans with disabilities during this challenging time.

SAMHSA to Release $110 in Emergency Grant Funding. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has expedited its process to release emergency grants to strengthen access to treatments for substance use disorders and serious mental illness during the COVID-19 pandemic. SAMHSA has also updated its list of Frequently Asked Questions about provision of methadone and buprenorphine for treatment of opioid use disorder during the emergency.

Bipartisan Policy Center: Confronting Rural America’s Health Care Crisis. The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) is a think tank combining ideas and solutions from both parties. In this report, the BPC’s Rural Health Task Force makes policy recommendations to stabilize rural health care in the current emergency and the long term.

The Journal of Rural Health: Accepted Articles on Coronavirus-Related Issues. The publication is providing free access to its collection of accepted, unedited articles on how the pandemic is affecting existing issues for rural health in the United States. Subjects include suicide, substance use disorder, telehealth, and emergency medical services. The journal has an ongoing Call for Timely Papers on COVID-19 in 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.

CDC COVID-19 Updates.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides daily updates and guidance. New this week is a breakdown of factors that influence racial and ethnic minority group health.  Another page updated daily has demographic characteristics of known cases in the U.S.  A CDC site for rural-specific information will have a recording of yesterday’s Coronavirus update for rural stakeholders and communities, along with an archive of previous calls.  CDC also does regular clinical calls for public health emergencies, called 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.