Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

July 11, 2019

What’s New

States Awarded for High-Performing Rural Hospitals.  This morning, HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) recognized ten states as top performers in their work to improve the quality of care at rural hospitals.  The states – Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Michigan, Utah, Alabama, Nebraska, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, and Wisconsin – have engaged in the FORHP-funded Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP), a project across 45 states designed to help federally-designated Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) improve patient outcomes through quality reporting. Before this project, there was no federal program focused on helping these low volume hospitals prioritize quality reporting and improvement. MBQIP sets rural-specific measures for quality and provides technical assistance and resources to help CAHs improve.

New Network Planning Grants Awarded.  The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) is pleased to announce over $2.4M has been awarded to 25 rural community healthcare organizations in Fiscal Year 2019 for the new competitive funding cycle of the Rural Health Network Development Planning (Network Planning) Program. The Network Planning Program is a one-year grant program designed to promote the planning and development of integrated health care networks, specifically network participants who do not have a history of formal collaborative efforts in order to achieve efficiencies; expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of essential health care services; and strengthen the rural health care system as a whole.

New Data on HIV Diagnoses; Disproportionate in Rural Areas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) on HIV testing.  The CDC data show that less than 40% of people in the U.S. have ever been tested for HIV; in the seven states with rural areas that are particularly affected by HIV, just 26% of people recommended for annual HIV testing were tested in the past year.  The proposed HHS-wide initiative, “Ending the HIV Epidemic – A Plan for America,” is  multiyear initiative designed to end the HIV epidemic over 10 years by significantly increasing public health resources, technology, and expertise on the ground in the hardest-impacted areas. The plan, if funded, will focus first on the geographic areas with the greatest HIV burden, including the 50 local jurisdictions and seven states highlighted in the MMWR report, before expanding to reach all areas of the nation affected by HIV.

Funding Opportunities

Support for Rural Hospitals in the Delta Region – July 22. The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy in partnership with the Delta Regional Authority administers the Delta Region Community Health Systems Program.  The program provides technical assistance through comprehensive onsite consultations to eligible healthcare facilities  located in the 252 counties and parishes in the Delta Region. Program activities include hospital/clinic consultations around financial operations and quality improvement, and care coordination activities. Interested applicants that meet program readiness requirements and project expectations should submit a notice of intent by July 22, 2019 to begin implementation in October 2019.

Planning Grants for Community Mobility Design Challenge – August 1.  Supported by the Federal Transit Administration, the National Center for Mobility Management will make six community grants of up to $25,000 each for innovative solutions that improve transportation – a barrier to health care access in rural areas.  The challenge is meant to help low-income residents become more fully engaged in economic opportunities and services for health and well-being in their communities.

ACF Community Economic Development – Social Enterprises – August 5.  The Administration for Children & Families (ACF) will give bonus points to applications from rural communities with high rates of poverty, unemployment and substance abuse.  Through the Community Economic Development Focus on Social Enterprises program, the ACF will make six awards of up to $400,000 each for social enterprise projects developing products, services, and commercial activities that result in new positions for individuals with low incomes, while also addressing a local unmet need in social services.  Eligible applicants are private, non-profit community development corporations that have housing and economic development as a principal purpose.

ACF Leadership Academy for Preventing Trafficking among Native Youth – August 16. The Administration for Children & Families (ACF) will sponsor a six-month Leadership Academy to address the project question “How can culture be a protective factor in preventing trafficking among Native youth?”  Applicants must have a minimum of 3-4 years of professional and/or lived experience in a career that enables them to contribute, and the ability to participate in two full-day seminars once per month for the project period.  Fellows will collaborate virtually approximately 2-4 hours per week between each seminar and present recommendations to federal stakeholders in Washington, DC.

Coming Soon:  NIH Research on Environmental Health Disparities.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) intend to publish a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) next month for research activities focused on understanding and reducing or eliminating environmentally-driven health disparities. Projects must include a focus on one or more NIH-designated health disparities populations in the United States: Blacks or African Americans, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Asians, Hispanics or Latinos, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, underserved rural populations, and sexual and gender minorities.

Policy Updates

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


No policy updates this week.

Learning Events and Technical Assistance

Applying for NHSC Rural Community Loan Repayment Program – Thursday, July 11. The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) will make loan repayment awards in coordination with the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) initiative within the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) to provide evidence-based substance use treatment, assist in recovery, and to prevent overdose deaths across the nation. Applicants may join this online Q&A session any time between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm ET.  A second all-day Q&A session will take place on Tuesday, July 16.  Deadline to apply is Thursday, July 18.

NOSORH Grant Writing Institute – Friday, July 12. The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) presents the Grant Writing Institute featuring a series of online learning sessions covering every aspect of grant writing with a unique rural health focus. The series is intended for beginners seeking to gain the skills to research and draft winning proposals from various agencies.  The original July 9 deadline for registration is extended to July 12.

AgriSafe: Opioid Prescribing for Safety-Sensitive Agricultural Occupations – Tuesday, July 23 at 3:30 pm ET.  Farm duties frequently demand the use of heavy machinery and use of opioids alongside safety-sensitive work can be dangerous. This hour-long training from the AgriSafe Network educates healthcare providers on how to assess occupational agricultural risks and corresponding patient guidance for those who are taking opioid medications. 

SUD Treatment for Pregnant and Parenting Women – Wednesday, July 24 at 3:00pm ET. This hour-long webinar will share promising practices by two HRSA-supported health centers to treat and support the needs of pregnant and parenting women diagnosed with a substance use disorder (SUD). Additionally, experts from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) will share maternal and child health safety resources concerning the prevention and treatment of substance use disorder. Join the webinar via Adobe Connect Room Link and audio Conference Line: 888-942-9264, Passcode: 9893674. There is no need to pre-register.

Save the Date: 3RNet 2019 Annual Conference – September 24-26 in Wichita, KS. The National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network (3RNet) is a nonprofit that matches health care professionals to employers in rural and underserved areas.  Attendees at their annual two-day conference will network with other 3RNet members, learn strategies for rural recruitment and retention, and gain insight from experienced leaders in health professions staffing.  Last year, 3RNet made more than 2,500 clinician placements in rural, frontier, and underserved urban communities.

Approaching Deadlines

DOJ Funding for Children and Youth Victims of the Opioid Crisis – July 11

Assessing Public Transportation in Appalachia – July 12

Comments Requested: Methodology for FCC Broadband Fund – July 15

Federal Investment in Rural Transportation – July 15

DOL Workforce Opportunity for Appalachian and Delta Regions – July 15

Supporting HRSA’s Maternal Health Innovation Program – July 15

DOJ Telehealth to Improve Sexual Assault Forensics – July 17

NHSC Rural Community Loan Repayment Program – July 18

DOJ Services to Support Victims of Sex and Labor Trafficking – July 19

Seeking Host Applicants for Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design – July 22

Support for Rural Hospitals in the Delta Region – July 22

DOJ Programs for Tribal Crime Victim Services – July 24

NIFA Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network – July 25

Bureau of Justice Assistance – Rural Responses to the Opioid Epidemic – July 26

CDC National Harm Reduction Syringe Services Program Monitoring and Evaluation – July 26

Capital Magnet Fund for Community Development Financial Institutions – July 26

DOJ Tribal Victim Services Set-Aside Program – July 29

USDA Telehealth Innovations for Women, Infants, Children – July 29

Planning Grants for Community Mobility Design Challenge – August 1

ACF Community Economic Development – Social Enterprises – August 5

DOL YouthBuild Grants – August 6

USDA Tribal Colleges Research Grants – August 9

CMS Requests Feedback Reducing Regulatory Burden – August 12

ACL Alzheimer’s Disease Program Initiative – August 13

ACF Leadership Academy for Preventing Trafficking among Native Youth – August 16

Mini-Grants for Research Into Children’s Agricultural Health and Safety – August 19

NRHA Rural Health Fellows Program – August 27

AHA Rural Hospital Leadership Team Award – August 30

HRSA Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program – August 30

Small Rural Hospital Transition Project – Letters of Intent September 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

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund – Ongoing

Seeking Nominations: National Advisory Committee on Migrant Health – Ongoing

HUD Hospital Mortgage Insurance Program – Ongoing

RWJF Investigator-Initiated Research to Build a Culture of Health – Ongoing

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