Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

September 24, 2020

Tool for Rural Grant Eligibility Updated. The Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer tool has been updated to include the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) revised delineations for metropolitan, micropolitan, and combined statistical areas.

Comments Requested:  Modifications to the Definition of Rural for FORHP Grants – October 23.  The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) proposed modifications to the definition of ‘rural’ used to designate areas to be eligible for its rural health grants. The proposed definitions are based on a data-driven methodology that will allow community organizations serving rural populations within metro areas to be able to apply for grants as well as allow more of the rural populations within metro areas to access services provided using grant funds.

CDC: Urban-Rural Differences in Suicide Rates, 2000-2018. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used data from the National Vital Statistics System to find that suicide rates increased overall for urban and rural areas for the years studied, with the pace of increase greater for rural suicide rates. The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics has released their findings from a survey on Mental Health Treatment Among Adults in 2019. Results show that overall, as the level of urbanization decreased, the percentage of adults who had taken medication for their mental health increased, and the percentage who had received counseling or therapy decreased. 

SAMHSA: National Survey on Drug Use and Health. In its annual report, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) presents data on the use of illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, as well as trends in mental health and access to treatment. Statistics cover a range of demographic and geographic characteristics, including comparison of urban and rural. 

Census Report on Income and Poverty in the United States, 2019. The report from the U.S. Census Bureau presents data based on information collected every month in the Current Population Survey (CPS). Findings show a median household income of $68,703 in 2019, with a 1.3 percent decline in the official poverty rate. 

New Report on Post-Acute Care in Rural America.  The National Rural Health Resource Center released findings from their May 2020 Virtual Summit, which focused on the issues, challenges, and strategies related to the integration of acute and post-acute care in rural areas. The report covers the current state of rural post-acute care, including the impact of COVID-19, and explores strategies and tactics to address key issues, such as payment, workforce, and community care coordination.