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.