Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

Date: December 16, 2021

Spread the Word About Vaccine Boosters. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services released new resources – posters, flyers, videos, and talking points – to help promote the extra protection from COVID-19 boosters. All vaccinated adults aged 18+ are eligible for a booster. Search by zip code to find nearby locations providing adult and pediatric vaccines and boosters for COVID-19 and the flu at vaccines.gov.

Federal Response to Tornado Outbreaks. The process for federal assistance begins once a state’s governor makes a request and the President declares that a major disaster exists.  Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individual and business owners recover from damage. HHS identifies behavioral health as a concern that may be overlooked in the days and months after a disaster. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a mobile app with immediate access to resources for first responders. 

Talking About the Link Between ACEs, Overdose, and Suicide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) want greater awareness of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their connection to high rates of overdose and suicide. This week CDC announced a new training webpage, UrgentRelatedPreventable.org, designed in collaboration with the American Public Health Association to provide background and talking points. The site explains how exposure to certain events and conditions in childhood have lasting effects on health, well-being, and prosperity far into adulthood.  

CDC Evaluating Substance Use Prevention Frameworks Incorporating ACEs Prevention Strategy – February 22. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will make six awards with total investment of more than $24 million for rigorous evaluation of prevention approaches to substance use and overdose that incorporate efforts to prevent adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). The strongest applications will document established relationships between the institutions designing and leading evaluation efforts and the communities already implementing ACEs-related activities and/or substance use and overdose prevention strategies.

Ongoing: HRSA Payment Program for RHC Buprenorphine-Trained Providers.  In June 2021, 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.