Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcement

March 28, 2019

Funding Opportunities

HRSA: Graduate Psychology Education Program – May 7.  The Health Resources and Services Administration will award $18 million to fund approximately 40 awards.  The purpose of the program is to train doctoral health psychology students, interns, and post-doctoral residents to provide integrated, interdisciplinary, behavioral health and substance use prevention and treatment services in high-need and high-demand areas.  Eligible entities are APA-accredited doctoral schools and programs of health service psychology, APA-accredited doctoral internships in professional psychology, and APA-accredited post-doctoral residency programs in practice psychology.

DOJ:  Building Capacity for Tribal Researchers – May 13.  The Department of Justice (DOJ) will make five awards for total funding of $500,000.  The investment will provide planning grants to state, local, or tribal governments, as well as nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher learning to develop proposals for research projects that improve criminal justice in tribal communities. In addition, the DOJ will invest $4 million in Tribal Justice Technical Assistance – May 14 to develop strategies to address violent crime and crimes related to substance abuse and other controlled substances.  

NIH: Researching Interventions to Heart and Lung Disease Risk – May 17.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will provide $7.8 million for up to eight awards for projects testing strategies for delivering interventions to communities where heart and lung disease risk is high.  The research should focus on rural, urban and/or low-income areas, and particularly regions of the Mississippi Delta and Appalachia that form what public health officials call the Stroke Belt.

HRSA: Enhancing Oral Health Infrastructure in Health Centers – May 21.  The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will invest $76 million in existing health centers to increase access to new or enhanced high-quality, integrated oral health services, including those provided via telehealth and virtual dentistry.  Of the more than 27 million people nationwide who rely on HRSA-funded health centers, one in five are rural residents.  Rural communities often lack adequate oral healthcare, though the regular preventive care of the teeth and gums is important in maintaining overall health, playing a role in preventing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

HRSA: Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies – May 24. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will invest $1.8 million in three health networks to test models that improve obstetrics services in rural areas.  For the purposes of this program, the applicant must have a network composition that includes: 1) at least two rural hospitals or Critical Access Hospitals; 2) at least one Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) or FQHC look-alike; 3) state Home Visiting and Healthy Start Programs, if regionally available; and 4) the state Medicaid agency.  For more information, contact RMOMS@hrsa.gov.

Policy Updates

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

CMS Issues Report on Quality Payment Program Clinician Experience. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published information on clinician participation, reporting, and performance in year one (2017) of the Quality Payment Program (QPP). Among the findings, CMS noted that rural clinicians eligible for the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) had a participation rate (94 percent) virtually equal to the overall average, and 93 percent of rural clinicians participating in MIPS received a positive payment adjustment. CMS also reiterated their commitment to alleviating barriers and creating pathways for improvement and success for rural clinicians through the Small, Underserved, and Rural Support initiative.

CMS Issues New Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS).  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that provide more information to State Medicaid programs on what settings have the qualities of an institution and are ineligible for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS), which settings qualify for HCBS, and under what circumstances CMS needs to conduct a review with heightened scrutiny to determine if the setting qualifies for HCBS.  The guidance clarifies that while rural settings may appear to meet the criteria to conduct a heightened scrutiny review, States should only request such a review if a setting has the qualities of an institution and if individuals qualifying for HCBS in a rural area do not have the same access to engage in the community as enrollees not receiving Medicaid HCBS in the same area.

Learning Events and Technical Assistance

SAMHSA: Opioid Misuse Prevention for Older Adults – Thursday, March 28 at 2:00 pm ET.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) will address the increasing trend of substance use among older adults and strategies for increasing their health literacy when interacting with care providers and pharmacists.

A Health Equity Approach to Obesity Efforts – Monday, April 1 at 8:30 am ET.  This day-long workshop hosted by the National Academies will explore health equity issues for demographic groups with above-average obesity risk and discuss prevention and treatment efforts.  Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released findings that obesity prevalence was significantly higher among adults living in rural counties.

AgriSafe: Safety Sensitivity of Opioid Use in High-Hazard Industries – Monday, April 1 at 3:00 pm ET.  Safety-sensitive work is typically classified as operating motor vehicles, modes of transportation, other heavy machinery, or tasks requiring high levels of cognitive function or judgment. Because farm duties frequently demand the use of heavy machinery, the concurrent use of narcotics can be dangerous. This 75-minute webinar hosted by the AgriSafe Network will educate healthcare providers on how to assess occupational agricultural risks and corresponding patient guidance for those who are taking opioid medications.

AgriSafe: Assessment of Opioid Misuse Risk Among Farmers – Tuesday, April 2 at 1:00 pm ET.  Prescription opioids are often the first-line therapy to treat chronic and acute pain among farmers. Prescribing opioids to farmer populations that may not seek regular treatment or have access to alternative therapies increases the risk for potential opioid misuse. Properly assessing for these characteristics among other abuse or addiction risk factors is critical in providing treatment that is both appropriate and effective. This hour-long training module will provide insight on misuse risk factors among farmers to better inform healthcare providers on warning signs in this specific cohort.  Additional learning events from AgriSafe next week include Ergonomic Safety for Farm Women.

National Indian Health Board: Improving Population Health – Tuesday, April 2 at 3:00 pm ET.  Hear from the National Indian Health Board and officials from three tribal health departments to learn how they reorganized their health departments to build capacity and improved structure for population health.

CMS Care Transitions Awareness Summit – Tuesday, April 16.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will hold its first annual National Care Transitions Awareness event at an all-day session in Baltimore, Maryland.  The event aims to increase awareness of the importance and value of safe and effective care transitions that beneficiaries receive as they transfer from one care setting to another: acute care, post-acute care, home and community-based services, primary providers and specialists, and other providers in the community where the person lives.  Registration to attend in-person is open until Monday, April 1st. Check back at the link above to register for online attendance.

Rural EMS and Care Conference – April 17-18. Stakeholders for rural emergency medical services (EMS), including EMS directors, medical directors and officers, rural healthcare providers, state EMS officials, state rural health officials, hospital administrators, elected officials, federal agencies, and other EMS partners are invited to attend this two-day event in Charleston, South Carolina.  The event is hosted by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO), and the Joint Committee on Rural Emergency Care (JCREC).

Approaching Deadlines

NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program – March 28

Comments Requested: Changes to Hospital Star Ratings – March 29

Indian Health Service Scholarships – March 29

Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program – March 29

SAMHSA: Underage Substance Use in Tribal Communities – March 29

Rural Primary Care SBIRT for Maternal Opioid Use – March 29

National Indian Health Board Health Policy Fellowships – March 30

ACL Alzheimer’s Disease Programs Initiative – April 1

NIH: Small Business Innovations for Health Disparities – April 1

Comments Requested: Draft Report on Best Practices for Pain Management – April 1

Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility – EMS Supplement – April 5

CDC Immunization and Vaccine Programs for Children – April 8

CDC Research Grants to Identify Effective Strategies for Opioid Overdose Prevention – April 8

ARC Funding for Economic Revitalization in Appalachia – April 10

DOJ Training and Technical Assistance for Violence Against Women – April 11

DOJ Grants to Tribal Governments for Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction Solicitation – April 11

OMH Hepatitis B Demonstration Grant Program – April 13

CDC: Collecting Information for the National Violent Death Reporting System – April 15

Full-Service Community Schools Program – April 15

NIH Grants to Translate Research Into Clinical Practice – April 15

USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants – Opioid – April 15

Nurse Anesthetist Traineeship Program – April 15

CDC Violent Death Reporting System – April 15

USDA Community Connect Grant Program – April 15

Strengthening Care for HIV and Opioid Use Disorder – April 16

SAMSHA Grants for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances – April 19

SAMHSA Grants Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health – April 19

HRSA Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Grant Program – April 22

SAMHSA: Substance Use Disorder Treatment for Minorities at High Risk for HIV/AIDS – April 22

NIH Summer Research Education Experience Program – April 23

Mary Kay Foundation Domestic Violence Shelter Grants – April 30

CDC Overdose Data Collection – May 2

Comments Requested: CMS Proposed Updates to Interoperability & Patient Access to Health Data – May 3

Comments Requested: ONC Proposal for Interoperability of Health IT – May 3

Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Implementation (RCORP-Implementation)  – May 6

RCORP-Evaluation Funding Opportunity – May 6

HRSA Maternal Opioid Misuse Model – May 6

SAMHSA Grants for First Responders to Opioid Overdose – May 6

HRSA: Graduate Psychology Education Program – May 7

HRSA Opioid Workforce Expansion Program – May 7

DOJ Opioid Affected Youth Initiative – May 7

DOJ:  Building Capacity for Tribal Researchers – May 13

DOJ: Tribal Justice Technical Assistance – May 14

NIH Intervention Research to Improve Native American Health – May 14

CDC Grants for Health and Wellness in Indian Country – May 15

USDA Traditional Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program – May 15

NIH: Researching Interventions to Heart and Lung Disease Risk – May 17

HRSA: Enhancing Oral Health Infrastructure in Health Centers – May 21

HRSA: Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies – May 24

Capacity Building for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research – May 31

USAC Telecommunications Program for Rural Health Care – May 31

USDA Rural Broadband Loan and Grant Program – May 31

Research for Smoking Cessation in Disadvantaged Populations – June 13

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

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