Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

September 10, 2020

HHS Rural Action Plan to Improve Care.  Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the Rural Action Plan, outlining existing and upcoming Federal activities to improve care in rural communities.  It examines the key challenges facing rural communities and lays out a four-point strategy to transform rural health and human services:  1) build a sustainable health and human services model for rural communities; 2) leverage technology and innovation; 3) focus on preventing disease and mortality; and 4) increase rural access to care. 

AJPH: A Public Health Lens on Rural Health.  The September issue of the American Journal of Public Health devotes a special section to rural health with free access to articles on challenges and emerging opportunities. 

NCSL on State Strategies to Reverse Suicide Trends.  The National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) cites higher rates of suicide in rural areas in its guide covering statistics, risk factors, and effect on specific populations.  The report examines state-level initiatives including Mental Health First Aid Training, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, and the Zero Suicide framework.

HHS Coronavirus Data Hub.  The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) launched a website in July with data on the COVID-19 response at federal, state, and local levels.  The hub includes estimated and reported hospital capacity by state, with numbers updated daily.

CMS Coronavirus Stakeholder Calls.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) hosts recurring online sessions to share information related to COVID-19.  These sessions are open to members of the healthcare community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.

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

COVID-19 FAQs and Funding for HRSA Programs.  Find all funding and frequently asked questions for programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

CDC COVID-19 Updates.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides daily updates and guidance, including a section specific to rural health care, and a Toolkit for Tribal CommunitiesNew this week: MMWR Weekly COVID-19 Briefing is now a podcast series with the latest scientific information published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

GHPC’s Collection of Rural Health Strategies for COVID-19.  With support from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), the Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) provides reports, guidance, and innovative strategies gleaned from their technical assistance and peer learning sessions with FORHP grantees.

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 posted a guide to help you learn about activities underway to address COVID-19.  Now including Rural Healthcare Surge Readiness, a tool with resources for healthcare systems preparing for and responding to a COVID-19 surge in their communities.

SAMHSA Training and Technical Assistance Related to COVID-19.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) created this list of resources, tools, and trainings.