Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

January 22, 2021

Comments Requested:  Proposed Changes to OMB Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) Delineations – March 20.  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) seeks public input on their recommendations for changing the delineations for metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, including whether the minimum urban area threshold population to qualify as an MSA should increase from 50,000 to 100,000.  The OMB MSA delineations are used for a variety of purposes including identifying rural populations for research, Medicare reimbursement policies and allocation of Federal program resources.

HHS: Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan.  The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) reports that, despite effective vaccines and treatment, “the nation faces unprecedented hepatitis A outbreaks, progress on preventing hepatitis B has stalled, and hepatitis C rates nearly tripled from 2011 to 2018.”  The report identifies higher rates of substance use disorder, injection drug use, and homelessness as factors in the increase. 

RAND: Evidence-Based Recommendations for Transforming the U.S. Mental Health System.  The RAND Corporation is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization that researches and analyzes public policy.  In this report, RAND makes frequent reference to rural needs among 15 policy recommendations for reimbursement, workforce development, and telehealth services, among other topics.