Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

December 10, 2020

CDC Recommendation for Allocating COVID-19 Vaccine. In its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide guidance for federal, state, and local jurisdictions. 

HRSA Funds Additional RHCs to Expand COVID-19 Testing. On December 7, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) disbursed $9.3 million to support COVID-19 testing at Rural Health Clinics (RHCs). HRSA used updated data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to identify 188 previously unsupported RHCs and calculate more than $49,000 per site for the December 2020 payment. The terms and conditions for recipients of this round of funding remain the same as those for RHCs previously funded in May 2020. Recently posted Frequently Asked Questions about the program provide more details. 

GAO: Urgent Actions Needed for Federal Response to Pandemic. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that examines how taxpayer dollars are spent and reports to Congress with information to help the government work more efficiently. In a report released last week, the GAO listed a number of findings about challenges across the nation and made 11 specific recommendations for improving the federal response. 

HHS National Plan to Improve Maternal Health. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced an action plan with three specific targets: 1) reduce maternal mortality in the U.S. by  50 percent, 2) reduce low-risk cesarean deliveries by 25 percent, and 3) achieve blood pressure control in 80 percent of women of reproductive age with hypertension. In its announcement HHS highlighted recent maternal health activities, including winners of a competition launched earlier this year by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Cross-Sectional Innovation to Improve Rural Postpartum Mental Health Challenge.      

GHPC Report: Promoting Access to Maternal Care for Women with SUD in Rural Communities. The Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) reviews the challenges in rural areas to caring for women with mental health challenges and substance use disorder (SUD). Among the state- and federal-level innovations currently improving access to care is the HRSA/FORHP-supported Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies (RMOMS) program initiated last year. 

HHS Request for Information: Novel Technologies for Chronic Disease Management in Aging Underserved Populations – December 22. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) seeks innovative technology solutions to chronic disease management for aging populations in underserved areas.