Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

April 30, 2020

New Funding Opportunity: HRSA Rural Residency Planning and Development (RRPD) Program  – June 30. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) RRPD Program is a multi-year initiative aimed at expanding the physician workforce and increasing opportunities for residents to train in rural communities across America. HRSA will make 11 awards of up to $750,000 each to support the development of new, sustainable rural residency programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).  To read the full application guidance, click on the “Package” tab in the link, then click “Preview” and “Download Instructions”. For questions regarding the RRPD program, email RuralResidency@hrsa.gov.

HHS Launches COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal.  The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), launched a new COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal, allowing health care providers who have conducted COVID-19 testing or provided treatment for uninsured COVID-19 individuals on or after February 4, 2020 to submit claims for reimbursement. Providers can access the portal at COVIDUninsuredClaim.HRSA.gov.

HHS Launches New COVID-19 Workforce Toolkit. On April 22, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR) released a new toolkit to help state and local healthcare decision makers maximize workforce flexibilities when confronting COVID-19 in their communities. The toolkit contains a number of “Resource Collections” on topics that have been of particular interest to rural providers including scope of practice expansions, licensure, EMS resources, and volunteer workforce needs, among other workforce and training resources.

CDC: Reports to National Poison Data Center Related to COVID-19.  In its most recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an increase in chemical exposures related to cleaners and disinfectants for the period January-March 2020.  Last week, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced $5 million to support Poison Control Centers.

Information Requested: Crisis Staffing for Indian Health Service – May 6.  In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Indian Health Service seeks information on the availability and capability of qualified respondents for temporary staffing services for specialized medical support.  This is NOT a solicitation for proposals, proposal abstracts, or quotations.  Earlier this month, the Congressional Research Service provided an issues brief on COVID-19 and the Indian Health Service.

Comments Requested: CDC Data Collection for COVID-19 Response – June 16.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seeks comments from the public on two modules being added to the National Healthcare Safety Network, which is used to track healthcare-associated infections.  The new modules will be used to capture the daily, aggregate impact of COVID-19 facilities and to monitor medical capacity to respond at local, state, and national levels. 

Comments Requested: Perspectives on Pain and Pain Management – June 16.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asks the public to provide feedback on pain and pain management, including but not limited to:  the benefits and harms of opioid use from patients with acute or chronic pain, patients’ family members and/or caregivers, and health care providers who care for patients with pain or conditions that can complicate pain management (e.g., opioid use disorder or overdose).  CDC will use these comments to inform its understanding of stakeholders’ values and preferences related to pain and pain management options.

CRS Report on Health Care Provisions in Coronavirus Response Act.  The Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides an overview of the healthcare-related provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report focuses on coverage of COVID-19 testing and related items for individuals covered by Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, CHIP, TRICARE, Veterans healthcare, the IHS, and most private plans. The report also includes a discussion of changes to Medicare coverage of telehealth services.

COVID-19 Child Welfare and Related Health Resources.  The Children’s Bureau at the Administration for Children and Families provides resources for foster care providers and the child welfare workforce in response to the COVID-19 emergency.  The page includes a list of state and national resources.

COVID-19 Data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Updated regularly, the site provides access to demographic and economic data that may be useful in decision-making, including state and local data on at-risk populations, poverty, health insurance coverage, and employment.

USDA Food Program Resources.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is granting program flexibilities across 15 nutrition programs. 

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy FAQs for COVID-19.  A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from our grantees and stakeholders, updated regularly. 

CDC COVID-19 Updates.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides daily updates and guidance. New this week is a set of guidelines for meat and poultry processing workers and employers.  CDC also does regular clinical calls for public health emergency response, called Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA).

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 has created a guide to help you learn about activities underway to address COVID-19.