Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcement

October 8, 2020

HRSA’s National Survey of Children’s Health. Each year the Maternal and Child Health Bureau at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) collects information from parents and caregivers on the physical, emotional, and behavioral health of children ages 0-17 years old in the United States. The survey is meant to be a tool with reliable data for researchers and policymakers on a wide range of factors that can influence children’s health – from the prevalence and impact of special health care needs, to adverse childhood experiences and mental and behavioral health. HRSA also released a new brief on Rural/Urban Differences in Children’s Health using the combined data of the 2017-2018 surveys.

HHS Announces Phase 3 of Provider Relief Funds. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has allocated $20 billion for a Phase 3 CARES Act Provider Relief Funds (PRF) distribution. Behavioral health care providers and new providers that began practicing in the first quarter of 2020 may submit applications for payment between October 5 and November 6. Providers who previously received, rejected, or accepted a General Distribution PRF payment of two percent of annual revenue from patient care may also apply for this round of funding.

FCC Extends Purchasing Deadline for COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau has extended the deadline for recipients of COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding to purchase eligible telehealth devices and implement services to December 31. 

CDC: Rates of Alcohol Induced Deaths Among Adults in Urban and Rural Areas. A new data brief from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, among adults aged 25 and older, deaths caused by alcohol were stable from 2000 to 2006, but then increased 43 percent between 2006 and 2018. During that same time, death rates increased for men and women at all levels of urbanization. For women in rural areas, the death rate was among the lowest in 2000; by 2018, rates for women in noncore areas had more than doubled.

Sleeve Up to Fight Flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a new social media campaign, “#SleeveUp to #FightFlu.” encouraging everyone aged 6 months and older to get the flu vaccine. Widespread vaccination will help reduce the strain on health care systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC’s preliminary estimates for the 2019-2020 flu season include up to 740,000 hospitalizations and up to 62,000 deaths. 

RWJF: National Trends and Demographics in Suicide Deaths. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) reports on the trend of increasing suicide rates in the United States. Data details compare rates by age, race, gender, and urbanization from the years 2000 to 2018;  a companion brief includes state-level trends.