Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

November 18, 2021

HRSA Celebrates National Rural Health Day. The public is invited to join the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) online TODAY, November 18 at 11:30 am ET for a feature HRSA presentation. Acting HRSA Administration Diane Espinosa will welcome speakers from several HHS agencies and the Domestic White House Policy Council who will present on federal strategies to prioritize health equity and eliminate disparities in health access, policy, and practice. Then later at a virtual presentation at 3:00 pm ET, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy grantees will share best practices from their projects that consider social determinants of health to improve health outcomes.

November is National COPD Awareness Month. The education and awareness program Learn More, Breathe Better provides resources for patients, caregivers, and health professionals for better understanding of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, also known as COPD. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that more than 57 percent of deaths from chronic lower respiratory disease in the most rural counties were potentially preventable, compared with 13 percent in the most urban counties. On Friday, November 19 at 9:00 pm ET, musician Lyle Lovett and Ted Koppel will host a virtual event featuring performances and interviews from Lovett, Rodney Crowell, and Steve Earle. The group wants to raise awareness of the added risk that COVID-19 brings to those with COPD. 

Community Toolkit for Addressing Health Misinformation. The new resource asks for participation from individuals, teachers, school administrators, librarians, faith leaders, and health care professionals to understand, identify, and stop the spread of misinformation. Earlier this year, the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued an advisory, calling misinformation an urgent threat to public health. The toolkit includes common types of misinformation and a checklist to help evaluate the accuracy of health-related content. 

Facilities Selected for Rural Provider Transition Project. The project selected five facilities to participate in the second year of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy’s (FORHP) Rural Healthcare Provider Transition Project: Sierra Vista Hospital in New Mexico, Dahl Memorial Health Care in Montana, Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare in Missouri, Coteau des Prairies Health Care System in South Dakota, and Electra Hospital District in Texas. Participants will receive targeted technical assistance provided by the National Rural Health Resource Center to help transition to value-based care and population health management. 

CDC: Sepsis-related Death Rates Higher in Rural Areas. Sepsis is an extreme response to infection, triggering a life-threatening chain reaction throughout the body. For this report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that, in 2019, there were 201,092 deaths involving sepsis, with three-fourths of those deaths occurring among persons aged 65 and older.  Within that age range, death rates were highest among non-Hispanic black adults (377.4 per 100,000), followed by non-Hispanic white (275.7), and Hispanic (246.4). Sepsis-related death rates were higher in rural areas (307.3 per 100,000) compared with urban areas (271.3).

Ongoing: HRSA Payment Program for RHC Buprenorphine-Trained Providers. In June of this year, HRSA launched an effort to improve access to substance use disorder treatment by paying for providers who are waivered to prescribe buprenorphine, a medication used to treat opioid use disorder. Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) still have the opportunity to apply for a $3,000 payment on behalf of each provider who trained to obtain the waiver necessary to prescribe buprenorphine after January 1, 2019. Approximately $1.5 million in program funding remains available for RHCs and will be paid on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted. Send questions to DATA2000WaiverPayments@hrsa.gov. There is ongoing availability of a free online course for waiver eligibility training from the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine and the Providers Clinical Support System.