Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcement

May 23, 2019

What’s New

CDC Opioid Rapid Response Teams.   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with the U.S. Public Health Service Commission Corps to support state and local agencies when there is a spike in opioid-related overdoses or closure of a clinic where patients are prescribed opioid therapy.   The Opioid Rapid Response Teams (ORRTs) include technical expertise in epidemiology, clinical provider outreach, and community outreach, providing short term (28 days) support to public health partners, while also working to build a jurisdiction’s long-term response capacity.

Funding Opportunities

UPDATED: Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies Program – June 17. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has updated the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for HRSA-19-094, Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies Program (RMOMS), with several minor technical changes and a new application due date of June 17, 2019. (The original deadline was May 24.) The RMOMS program will still be awarded in FY 2019.  Technical changes to the NOFO are to provide greater clarity on the collaborative funding model HRSA is using to fund RMOMS.  These changes maintain the overall intent and approach of the program.  With funding for this program coming from HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), HRSA is requiring revisions to applicants’ budgets and highlighting the need for separate financial accounting and progress reports.  The RMOMS program remains a key HRSA priority.  Please email HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) at RMOMS@hrsa.gov with any questions.  FORHP will host a technical assistance (TA) webinar on Wednesday, May 29 at 3:00 pm ET to review these changes.  Call-In Number: 1-877-779-7422; Participant Code: 1366806.

IHS American Indians into Nursing – June 20.  The Indian Health Service (IHS) will make five awards of up to $400,000 each to recruit, retain, graduate and increase the number of registered nurses, certified nurse midwives and nurse practitioners who deliver health care services to American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. Eligible applicants are (a) accredited public or private schools of nursing, (b) accredited Tribally controlled community colleges and Tribally controlled post-secondary vocational institutions, and (c) nurse midwife programs and nurse practitioner programs, that are provided by any public or private institution.

DOL Workforce Opportunity for Appalachian and Delta Regions – July 15.  The Department of Labor (DOL) will make 35 awards of up to $2.5 million each to provide career, training, and support services to eligible individuals in underserved areas of the Appalachian and Delta regions.  Eligible applicants include state, local and tribal governments, school districts, and public and private institutions of higher learning, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities.  The program is a collaboration with the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority.

NHSC Rural Community Loan Repayment Program – July 18.  The National Health Service Corps will make loan repayment awards in coordination with the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) initiative within the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) to provide evidence-based substance use treatment, assist in recovery, and to prevent overdose deaths across the nation. The application cycle closes July 18, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

CDC National Harm Reduction Syringe Services Program Monitoring & Evaluation – July 26.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will make two awards for total programming of $6.9 million to  implement a monitoring and evaluation of syringe services programs.  The purpose of this project is to strengthen harm reduction programs in order to prevent infectious disease resulting from injection drug use, and improve health outcomes for people who inject drugs, including strengthening linkage to medication-assisted treatment. It is comprised of two components: technical assistance, and monitoring and evaluation, and two one-year demonstration projects.

Policy Updates

Visit the FORHP Policy page to see all recent updates and send questions to ruralpolicy@hrsa.gov.

Nominations Requested: Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee – June 21. The primary purpose of the Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee is to seek consensus, exchange views, share information, and provide recommendations to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The committee accomplishes this through forums, meetings and conversations between federal officials and elected Tribal leaders from each of the twelve areas of the Indian health Service, as well as five at-large national representatives.  Vacancies are currently open for one delegate and one alternate for the Billings and Albuquerque locations.  Additionally, the committee seeks nominations for three (3) primary and one (1) alternate national at-large vacancies.

Hardship Exclusion for Medicare Interoperability – July 1. Beginning in 2019, all eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, dual-eligible hospitals, and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) are required to use 2015 edition certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) to meet the requirements of the Promoting Interoperability (PI) ProgramsEligible hospitals and CAHs may be exempted from the Medicare downward payment adjustment if they can show that compliance with the requirements would result in a significant hardship. Hardship exceptions are valid for only one payment adjustment year, so hospitals must submit an exclusion application each year.  The deadline to submit an application is July 1, 2019 for eligible hospitals and November 30, 2019 for CAHs.

CMS Finalizes Medicare Prescription Drug Pricing Rule.  Last week, CMS finalized a rule  that will improve the transparency of prescription drug costs in Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage health plans and lower beneficiary out-of-pocket costs. For example, beginning in 2021, the Explanation of Benefits that Part D plans send members must display drug price increases as well as lower cost therapeutic alternatives.  In addition, beginning in 2020, Part D sponsors cannot prohibit or penalize a pharmacy from disclosing a lower cash price to an enrollee.  About 70 percent of rural Medicare beneficiaries had prescription drug coverage in 2017, mostly through stand-alone Part D plans as opposed to Medicare Advantage plans.

Learning Events and Technical Assistance

Adolescent Vaccines: How Pharmacists Can Make Strong Recommendations and ReferralsWednesday, May 29 at 1pm ET. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Pharmacist Association would like pharmacists to get involved can get involved in educating parents about the benefits of HPV vaccination.  Pharmacists can play a key role in vaccine education in rural communities, where there are fewer pediatricians.  In rural communities where there are fewer pediatricians, adolescents are less likely than their urban peers to be aware of the HPV vaccine and its importance in cancer prevention. The #HowIRecommend video series features peer-to-peer advice from practicing clinicians about how to effectively recommend vaccine, as well as how to address parents’ most common questions.

AgriSafe Think Tank: Improving the Health of Farmer Military Veterans – Wednesday, May 29 at 1:00 pm ET.  This AgriSafe virtual think tank will address the health disparities facing farmer military veterans and explore opportunities for their home communities to support their health and well-being.

Diabetes Prevention Program Billing and Claims Overview – Wednesday, May 29 at 1:00 pm ET.  This one-hour webinar will help participants understand the billing and claims process of the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Plan,  a structured, lifestyle-change program with the goal of preventing type 2 diabetes.  Diabetes affects more than 25 percent of Americans aged 65 or older and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and is about 17 percent more prevalent in rural areas.

Public-Private Collaborations in Rural Health Annual Meeting – May 30-31.  For the seventh year, the Rural Health Public-Private Partnership will convene more than 120 public and private foundations, researchers, and policy makers to discuss federal programs and foundation-led innovative initiatives in rural areas. Participants will have the opportunity to engage and discuss with program and policy experts on issues and projects relevant to improving rural health and efforts.

Reducing Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes for Agricultural Workers – Tuesday, June 4 at 1:00 pm ET.  The AgriSafe Network will review unique exposures and risks – including chemical exposures, zoonotic diseases, and heavy lifting – that present reproductive health and safety issues for women in agricultural work.

AgriSafe Think Tank on Total Farmer Health – Wednesday, June 5 at 1:00 pm ET.  Join AgriSafe during this virtual town hall to help formulate best practices for rural health care providers in response to the mental health crisis impacting farm families. Emphasis will be placed on caring for the agricultural producer. Various health care professionals, mental health leaders, and other stakeholders will join this session to share their perspectives on how best to equip health care providers.

Join the Conversation on Maternal Health Care in Rural Communities – June 12 at  am ET. This interactive event hosted by CMS, HRSA, the National Rural Health Association, and others will provide an overview of the state of maternal healthcare in rural communities, with a focus on access to maternal health services before, during, and after pregnancy. Learn about promising practices and help identify areas of opportunity to improve access to maternal health services and achieve health equity within rural communities.  The event will be held in Washington, DC, and virtual attendance will be available via webcast.

Northeast Telehealth Resource Center Regional Conference  – June 17-18.  This two-day conference in Portland, Maine features a keynote presentation by Chris Gibbons, MD, MPH – Chief Health Innovation Adviser, FCC and the Future for Digital Health, a special panel on Federal and Regional Telehealth Policy Perspectives, and other key topics from national and regional telehealth leaders.  There are more than fifteen breakout sessions on a wide variety of areas including: strategies for planning and sustaining telehealth programs, telehealth use cases across various environments, models for serving vulnerable populations through telehealth, and more. This year’s event also includes a Pre-Conference Telebehavioral Health Workshop: “A Provider’s Guide to TeleMental Health: Key Concepts and Use Cases”, and two hands-on technology labs with the National Telehealth Technology Assessment Resource Center.

Resource of the Week

Virtual Training for Trauma-Informed CareThe Office on Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers free online courses with continuing education credits to help providers integrate  the principles of trauma-informed care into clinical practice.  The course work is informed by research findings demonstrating that exposure to traumatic events, particularly in childhood, is highly prevalent in our society. A recent report from the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services examined the long-term health effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences for rural, tribal and other at-risk populations.

Approaching Deadlines

USDA Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program – May 24

USDA Higher Education Challenge Grants Program – May 29

Request for Information: Physician Geographic Population-Based Payment Model – EXTENDED to May 30

New Sites for National Health Service Corps – May 30

HHS: YES Initiative for Minority and Disadvantaged Youth – May 31

Capacity Building for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research – May 31

Comments Requested: Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) – May 31

USAC Telecommunications Program for Rural Health Care – May 31

USDA Rural Broadband Loan and Grant Program – May 31

American Indian Graduate Center Fellowships – June 1

Comment Period Extended: Proposed Rules for Interoperability of Health IT – June 3

ACF Community Economic Development (CED) Projects – June 3

Contractor Sought for Rural Leadership Pathways Learning Initiative – June 3

Rural PREP Micro-research Grants – June 3

USDA Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program – June 3

DOJ Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-based Program – June 5

USDA Rural Community Development Initiative – June 5

Community Development Financial Institution Program – June 6

Native American Community Development Financial Assistance – June 6

SAMHSA Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Grants – June 7

Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training – June 10

Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Medication-Assisted Treatment Expansion (RCORP-MAT Expansion)– June 10

RCORP – Rural Centers of Excellence on Substance Use Disorders – June 10

USDA Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant – June 10

USDA Rural Health and Safety Education Grants – June 10

DOJ School Violence Technology and Threat Assessment – June 11

Brookdale Foundation Relatives as Parents Program – June 12

CDC Grants for Health and Wellness in Indian Country – June 12

Research for Smoking Cessation in Disadvantaged Populations – June 13

CDC Emergency Department Surveillance of Non-fatal Suicide Outcomes – June 14

HRSA Medical Student Education Program – June 14

NIH Research to Address Opioid Epidemic and Minority Health Disparities – June 14

HRSA: Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies – June 17

Comments Requested: Proposed Changes to Payment and Policy for Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities – June 17

Comments Requested: Proposed Payment and Policy Changes for Medicare Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities – June 17

Comments Requested: Trusted Exchange Framework for Electronic Health Information – June 17

Comments Requested: Proposed Update to Hospice Payment Rate – June 18

Comments Requested: Proposed Payment and Policy Changes for Medicare Skilled Nursing Facilities – June 18

USDA Local Food Promotion Program – June 18

IHS American Indians into Nursing – June 20

Nominations Requested: Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee – June 21

Comments Requested:  Proposed Updates for FY2020 Medicare Inpatient and Long-term Care Hospital Payments – June 24

Proposals Requested:  Medicare Measures for Promoting Interoperability – June 28

Hardship Exclusion for Medicare Interoperability – July 1

Comments Requested:  CMS Issues Draft Guidance on Hospital Co-location – July 2

Request for Information: State Waivers for Health Insurance – July 2

Federal Investment in Rural Transportation – July 15

DOL Workforce Opportunity for Appalachian and Delta Regions – July 15

NHSC Rural Community Loan Repayment Program – July 18

CDC National Harm Reduction Syringe Services Program Monitoring & Evaluation – July 26

AHA Rural Hospital Leadership Team Award – August 30

Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program – Ongoing through August 2019

NIH: Research for Disparities Among Minority/Underserved Children – Cycles thru May 2020

Guaranteed Loans for Rural Rental Housing – Ongoing through 2021

RWJF Investigator-Initiated Research to Build a Culture of Health – Ongoing

Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans – Ongoing

Funding for Rural Water and Waste Disposal Projects –  Ongoing

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