Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcement

August 6, 2020

HRSA Announces Awards for Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Implementation (RCORP-Implementation) Today. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded $89 million to 89 organizations across 38 states to enhance and expand service delivery for substance use disorder and opioid use disorder in rural communities. Each grant recipient will work to implement a set of core prevention, treatment and recovery activities grounded in evidence-based or promising practice models that can be tailored to each community’s unique needs. RCORP-Implementation grant recipients will work closely with an RCORP-funded technical assistance provider and evaluator throughout the duration of the grant. HRSA’s National Health Service Corps is also a collaborator on the RCORP initiative to address provider shortages for substance use disorder treatment in rural communities.

Awards for the Rural Health Care Coordination Program. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) also awarded over $7.4 million to 10 award recipients for the FY 2020 Rural Health Care Coordination Program. This three-year program will support rural health consortiums in improving access, delivery and quality of care in rural communities. Award recipients are expected to enhance data sharing and collaboration, strengthen care coordination workforce to meet the healthcare needs within the rural communities, and increase program financial sustainability. Historically, award recipients have been successful in leveraging resources by using HRSA 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. Award recipients are encouraged to continue working with philanthropic organizations and strengthening public-private partnerships in order to improve health outcomes for their rural communities.

New Reports from Rural Health Advisory Committee. The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services convenes twice each year for close examination of issues by a panel of more than 20 experts. The most recent recommendations to the Secretary of HHS come from its March 2020 meeting in Atlanta. They are: HIV Prevention and Treatment Challenges in Rural America, and Maternal and Obstetric Care Challenges in Rural America.

NIH Phase 3 Clinical Trial of Investigational Vaccine for COVID-19 Begins. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking volunteers for a clinical trial to test the effectiveness of a vaccine developed to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The trial, which will be conducted at U.S. clinical research sites, is expected to enroll approximately 30,000 adult volunteers who do not have COVID-19. Get more information from a Q&A about the phase 3 trial. You can also watch a 30-minute interview with a volunteer from the phase 1 clinical trial, who is joined by NIH Director Francis Collins and Dr. Anthony Fauci.  (Note: the video has some tech difficulties in the beginning).  

HHS Coronavirus Data Hub. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) launched a website in July with data on the COVID-19 response at federal, state, and local levels. The hub includes estimated and reported hospital capacity by state, with numbers updated daily.

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy FAQs for COVID-19. A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from our grantees and stakeholders, is 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, including a section specific to rural health care, and a Toolkit for Tribal Communities. New this week:  a strategy for reducing COVID-19 disparities and increasing health equity.

GHPC’s Collection of Rural Health Strategies for COVID-19. With support from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), the Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) provides reports, guidance, and innovative strategies gleaned from their technical assistance and peer learning sessions with FORHP grantees.

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 posted a guide to help you learn about activities underway to address COVID-19. Now including Rural Healthcare Surge Readiness, a tool with resources for healthcare systems preparing for and responding to a COVID-19 surge in patients.