Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Announcements

Date: May 5, 2022

Apply to Provide Technical Assistance for Rural Health Workforce Training by June 8. In response to pandemic-related workforce shortages, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will make one award to strengthen training and certification programs in the following support roles for health care in rural areas: community health workers, health IT and/or telehealth technical support, community para-medicine and case management staff, and respiratory therapists. Eligible applicants are public and private, nonprofit entities that can assist networks formed by HRSA’s Rural Public Health Workforce Network Training Program.   

County Health Rankings for 2022. The annual ranking of health for nearly every county in the nation takes a closer look at four specific social determinants that impact health outcomes: living wage, gender pay gap, childcare cost burden, and school funding adequacy.  References to rural areas throughout the report highlight major geographic disparities before and after the pandemic.

COGME Reports on Strengthening Rural Health WorkforceThe Council on Graduate Medical Education, COGME, provides ongoing assessment of physician workforce trends and makes recommendations to federal policymakers. In this new report, COGME focuses on gaps in rural health care and makes six recommendations for federal policy and investment, including programs such as the National Health Service Corps, Rural Residency Planning and Development, and other training programs funded by HRSA.   

Evaluating the Million Hearts Model. In 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the Million Hearts Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Model. Designed by the CMS Innovation Center to test if health care costs could be lowered by prevention, the program called on participants to reduce the incidence of first-time heart attacks and strokes among Medicare beneficiaries.  A little more than a third (36 percent) of the original participants – primary care and specialty practices, health centers, and hospitals – were rural providers. While this report only evaluates the first four years of a five-year program, results show improved preventive care for cardiovascular disease. 

HRSA News Round-Up for April. In case you missed it, HRSA announced investments to: support community-based doulas; strengthen home visiting supports for parents, infants, and children; expand investments in state responses to the maternal mortality crisis; launch the largest investment ever made in Community Health Worker training; and build new data tools to reduce health disparities through health centers.

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 $1.2 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.