Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcement

August 15, 2019

What’s New

A Guide for Rural Health Care Collaboration and Coordination. This new resource was created by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy and the Health Centers program at the Health Resources and Services Administration. It discusses how rural providers can work together to identify health needs in their communities, create partnerships to address those needs, and develop a “community-minded” approach to health care. The guide illustrates through case studies how providers in two communities created networks and partnerships to improve the efficiency of care, optimize resources, and improve the lives of their residents. See the Events section below for an online discussion of the guide later today.

Rural Guide to Improving Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Care.  The National Rural Health Resource Center and Stroudwater Associates, supported by FORHP, developed a guide on the community and patient benefits for implementing pulmonary rehabilitation services. Rural hospitals and clinics can use this guide to identify areas for improvement within their diagnosis, treatment and long-term care of COPD patients in their communities. A University of Minnesota report highlights that while the COPD prevalence rate is the prevalence of COPD is higher for individuals living in rural areas, Critical Access Hospitals are less likely to employ any respiratory therapists. This guide is developed as part of the COPD National Action Plan, with the goal of developing resources for improving the lives of individuals living with COPD symptoms in rural communities.

Funding Opportunities

Senior Corps Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) – September 25.  The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) anticipates funding $21 million to support programs for volunteers aged 55 and over.  Senior Corps RSVP volunteers tutor children, renovate homes, teach English to immigrants, assist victims of natural disasters, provide independent living services, recruit and manage other volunteers, and serve in their communities in many other ways.  On average, rural populations are older than other parts of the country, and community engagement is one of the social determinants of health that can benefit older citizens.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a Letter of Intent by August 30.

Bloomberg Public Health Fellows – December 1.  This program from the Bloomberg American Health Initiative and the Johns Hopkins University  will provide training for individuals who want to achieve a Master’s or PhD degree at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  The program is seeking individuals engaged in one of five focus areas, all of which affect rural communities: 1) addiction and overdose, 2) environmental challenges, 3) obesity and the food system, 4) risks to adolescent health, and 5) violence.  Applicants must apply in partnership with the organizations for which they work

Policy Updates

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


No policy updates this week. 

Learning Events and Technical Assistance

Improving the Health of Rural Communities Through Collaboration – Thursday, August 15 at 1:00 pm ET. This webinar introduces a new resource, A Guide for Rural Healthcare Collaboration and Coordination. Hear how rural hospitals, community health centers, local public health departments, and other rural stakeholders work together to assess and address their rural communities’ health needs. Two innovative rural health organizations will be highlighted that have developed strategies to meet population health goals, address social determinants of health, and improve health outcomes. Solutions to support rural health organizations’ financial viability and lessons learned will also be shared.

Supporting Emergency Departments in Addressing Pediatric Mental Health Thursday, August 15 at 3:00 pm ET. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has a new resource, the Critical Crossroads Toolkit, for hospitals with strategies and best practices for addressing pediatric mental health within the emergency department (ED). This resource is targeted to all hospitals, but rural hospitals have been specifically included as a key audience for this resource from its inception, and the guide includes examples from a few rural hospitals across the country on what they’ve put in to place within their EDs.   This 30-minute webcast will provide background and overview of the new resource, which is a collaborative effort between HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau and the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.

Research on Healthy People 2020 Benchmarks for Urban-Rural Areas – Tuesday, August 20 at 12:00 pm ET.  The HRSA/FORHP-supported Rural Health Research Gateway will host this one-hour webinar to report on their analysis of death rates for seven major causes of death (coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, unintentional injury, and suicide) in light of Healthy People 2020 benchmarks.

Unintentional Injury Death Rates in the United States – Thursday, August 29 at 1:00 pm ET.  The Rural Health Information Hub will host this hour-long webinar featuring experts from the National Center for Health Statistics discussing two recently released reports:  Unintentional Injury Death Rates in Rural and Urban Areas: United States, 1999–2017 and Urban–Rural Differences in Drug Overdose Death Rates, by Sex, Age, and Type of Drugs Involved, 2017. The presentation will cover historical trends and patterns by urbanization for unintentional injury deaths overall, with a more detailed look at motor vehicle traffic injuries, drug overdose, and falls.

HRSA’s Best Practices to Prevent Eating Disorders – Wednesday, September 11 at 1:00 pm ET. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is the sponsor of this 90-minute webinar focused on preventive medicine for eating disorders. Primary care providers will learn about evidence-based practices for managing patients with eating disorders, as well as guidelines for collaborating within an eating disorder specialty team. The course is a joint effort between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Office of Women’s Health.  Continuing education credits are available.

CMS National Training Program Workshops – Through September 12.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will hold five workshops around the country, each lasting 2-3 days, to increase knowledge about updates to the Medicare program.  Attendees of the workshops will learn about new changes and innovations for this program that provides significant support for rural health care delivery, including information on opioids and other current topics. Click for more information on the agendas in each of the five cities – Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago, Arlington, and Providence.

Save the Date: 3RNet 2019 Annual Conference – September 24-26 in Wichita, KS. The National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network (3RNet) is a nonprofit organization that matches health care professionals to employers in rural and underserved areas.  Attendees of this annual two-day conference will network with other 3RNet members, learn strategies for rural recruitment and retention, and gain insight from experienced leaders in health professions staffing.  Last year, 3RNet made more than 2,500 clinician placements in rural, frontier, and underserved urban communities.

Resources of the Week

Rural Community Ambulance Agency Transformation.  This new resource helps rural emergency medical service leaders transform their agencies away from dependency on fees assessed for the volume of services provided and toward a people-centered, value-based operation that rewards positive patient outcomes. This resource was supported by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy and coordinated by the Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC), a program of the National Rural Health Resource Center.

Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport (ET3) Model – Application Tutorial Webinar. The ET3 Model is a voluntary five-year payment model that provides greater flexibility for ambulance care teams to implement alternate models of emergency medical services, including providing treatment in place through telehealth. Last week, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation ET3 Model team hosted a tutorial webinar on the ET3 Model Application Portal, provided guidance for completing the application and a Q&A session. In addition, CMS released an Informational Bulletin that describes how state Medicaid agencies can support the implementation of the ET3 Model.

Approaching Deadlines

RWJF: Health Care’s Role in Meeting Patients’ Needs – August 15

ACF Leadership Academy for Preventing Trafficking among Native Youth – August 16

Connecting Kids to Coverage: Outreach to AI/AN Children – Letters of Intent August 19

Mini-Grants for Research Into Children’s Agricultural Health and Safety – August 19

Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts Request for Proposals – Letters of Intent August 25

NRHA Rural Health Fellows Program – August 27

Comments Requested:  Proposed VA Center for Innovation for Care and Payment – August 28

Comments Request: Current Use of Telemental Health for Suicide Prevention in Emergency Department Settings – August 29

Comments Requested: FCC Proposes $100 Million Connected Care Pilot Program – August 29

AHA Rural Hospital Leadership Team Award – August 30

Bloomberg Public Health Fellows – Intent to Apply August 30

HRSA Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program – August 30

Pew/RWJF Community Opioid Response and Evaluation (CORE) Project – August 30

Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program – Ongoing through August 2019

Comments Requested: CY 2020 Home Health Proposed Rule – September 9

NIH Research for Tobacco Control Policies – Letters of Intent September 11

Comments Requested: Methods for Assuring Access to Covered Medicaid Services-Rescission – September 13

Small Rural Hospital Transition Project – Letters of Intent September 15

Comments Requested: Specialty Care Models to Improve Quality of Care and Reduce Expenditures – September 16

Senior Corps Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) – September 25

Comments Requested: Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Policy, Payment, and Quality Provisions for CY 2020 – September 27

Comments Requested: Proposed Updates to Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System – September 27

Comments Requested: ESRD and DMEPOS CY 2020 Proposed Rule – September 27

USDA Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program – September 30

Radiation Exposure Screening and Education Program – October 28                                                              

USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) – October 31

HRSA Rural Health Network Development Planning Program – November 29

Bloomberg Public Health Fellows – December 1

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

Guaranteed Loans for Rural Rental Housing – Ongoing through 2021

SBA Guaranteed Loans for Small Business – Ongoing

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund – Ongoing

Seeking Nominations: National Advisory Committee on Migrant Health – Ongoing

HUD Hospital Mortgage Insurance Program – Ongoing

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