March 14, 2019
Raising Awareness of Colorectal Cancer. March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, an observance that encourages regular screenings and healthy lifestyle changes to prevent colorectal cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), colorectal cancer is most often found in people who are 50 years old or older and affects both men and women of all racial and ethnic populations. In its series of studies on rural health, the CDC found that nonmetropolitan counties had higher rates of incidence and death from cancers that can be prevented by screening. Learn more about CDC’s Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign that raises awareness about the importance of having regular colorectal cancer screening tests for men and women aged 50 years and older.
DOJ Training and Technical Assistance for Violence Against Women – April 11. The Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice (DOJ) will provide grants and direct technical assistance to build and enhance the capacity of local response to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Several of the 39 purpose areas for the program (beginning on page two of the program guidance and application instructions) specifically address challenges in rural areas, while others concern culturally-competent outreach in minority communities. A separate funding opportunity provides Grants to Tribal Governments for Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction Solicitation – April 11.
CDC: Collecting Information for the National Violent Death Reporting System – April 15. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will make 32 awards for a total investment of more than $29 million to conduct surveillance of violence and to prevent violence through the National Violent Death Reporting System. Eligible applicants are state and local governments with the ability to collect data from three required sources: death certificates, toxicology reports from coroners/medical examiners, and law enforcement reports. One reason violence is difficult to track and address in rural areas is that it often goes unreported.
SAMHSA Grants for First Responders to Opioid Overdose – May 6. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will provide grants to state, local and tribal governments to train first responders and members of other key community sectors to administer a drug or device for emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose. Recipients will also establish processes, protocols, mechanisms for referral to appropriate treatment and recovery communities, and safety around fentanyl, carfentanil, and other dangerous licit and illicit drugs.
DOJ Opioid Affected Youth Initiative – May 7. The Department of Justice (DOJ) will make ten awards of up to $1 million each to address public safety concerns, intervention, prevention, and diversion services for children, youth, and families directly affected by opioid abuse. Eligible applicants are state and local governments, including federally recognized tribal governments who can develop partnerships with local justice systems, as well as health, education and social service organizations.
Rural Health Research
Dying Too Soon: County-level Disparities in Premature Death by Rurality, Race, and Ethnicity. In this brief from the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center researchers found that the highest rates of premature death were observed in rural counties where a majority of residents were non-Hispanic Black or American Indian/Alaskan Native.
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Comments Requested: Changes to Hospital Star Ratings – March 29. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing changes to the Hospital Star Ratings System, a tool that provides consumers and patients with information on the safety and quality of hospitals, including rural hospitals. On March 6, CMS hosted a national call to discuss the changes. The recording will be available online.
Policy Barriers to Telehealth. This report from the Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP) gives a broad overview of the primary policy concerns relating to telehealth, including reimbursement, prescribing, malpractice coverage, licensing, and privacy and security. A second release from CCHP is a Fact Sheet on Telehealth Reimbursement focusing on the policy concerns related to Medicare, Medicaid, and private payer telehealth coverage. As the federally designated National Telehealth Resource Center on policy, the CCHP provides legislative and regulatory updates, expert analysis through policy briefs, as well as research catalogs and fact sheets on all matters that advance telehealth policy.
HHS: Best Practices and Barriers to SUD Treatment. A patient’s initiation with treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) and subsequent engagement with recovery is used as a performance measure in this report from the analysis and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Looking at data on Initiation and Engagement of Alcohol and Other Drug Dependence Treatment (IET), commonly reported by health plans and used by Medicaid and Medicare programs, the study aimed to determine what variables may contribute to patients’ initiation and engagement in treatment, including individual, provider, health plan, and market and environmental factors. The study examines how these factors affect health plan performance on the IET measures for both commercial and Medicaid health plans and how initiation and engagement may be improved.
Learning Events and Technical Assistance
Addressing the Burden of COPD in Rural America – Thursday, March 14 at 2:00 pm ET. In 2018, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed significantly higher estimates in rural areas of adult prevalence, Medicare hospitalizations, and deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a respiratory condition that makes breathing difficult. In this hour-long presentation, members of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services will discuss their report and recommendations on rural-urban disparities for COPD, and shed light on a patient’s perspective living with the disease.
#RuralHealthChat: Health Workforce Training and Education – Monday, March 18 at 2:00 pm ET. The Rural Health Information Hub hosts this hour-long Twitter Chat featuring experts from HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy and Bureau of Health Workforce. They’ll answer questions about why workforce development is so critical to rural health and discuss strategies for influencing students to choose rural practice.
Preventing Suicidal Behavior in Indigenous Communities – Tuesday, March 19 at 1:00 pm ET. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will host a one-hour webinar to discuss prevention strategies for behavioral risk factors leading to high rates of suicide in American Indian (AI) and Alaska Native (AN) communities. Last year, the CDC reported that approximately 70 percent of the AI/AN population live in rural areas, and that suicide rates were 3.5 times higher than those among racial/ethnic groups with the lowest rates.
Agrisafe: Grain Safety Education for Rural Health – Wednesday, March 20 at 1:00 pm ET. The AgriSafe Network provides this hour-long train-the-trainer session to cover hazards and safety standards in grain bin operations.
Cross Agency Approaches to Preventing and Treating SUD – Wednesday, March 20 at 4:00 pm ET. Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the National Academy for State Health Policy will share national recommendations on how state-level public health and Medicaid officials can launch and sustain partnerships that align policies, funding, staffing, and data across agencies to address SUD.
Resource of the Week
Mental Health in Rural Communities Toolkit. The newest resource from the Rural Health Information Hub compiles evidence-based and promising models to support organizations implementing mental health programs in rural communities across the United States, with a primary focus on adult mental health.
NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program – March 28
Indian Health Service Scholarships – March 29
Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program – March 29
OMH Hepatitis B Demonstration Grant Program – April 13
Full-Service Community Schools Program – April 15
Nurse Anesthetist Traineeship Program – April 15
CDC Violent Death Reporting System – April 15
USDA Community Connect Grant Program – April 15
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
Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans – Ongoing
Community Facilities Program – Ongoing
Summer Food Service Program – Ongoing