Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Announcements

Date: April 28, 2022

SAMHSA Certified Behavioral Health Clinics – Planning, Development, and Implementation Grants – May 17.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will make 156 grants, each for $1 million to establish new Certified Behavioral Health Clinic programs. Eligible applicants are community-based nonprofit organizations; local governments; and facilities operated by a tribe, tribal organization, or under the authority of the Indian Health Service. A separate program, SAMHSA Certified Behavioral Health Clinics – Improvement and Advancement – May 17, for existing Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) that meet certification criteria.  SAMHSA expects that applicants will include a focus on groups facing health disparities.  In rural areas, these disparities are driven by accessibility, availability, affordability, and acceptability.

CMS Focus on Health Equity. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has a new, proactive plan to bring more equitable health outcomes to people in underserved and disadvantaged communities. The CMS Framework for Health Equity calls for improved data collection, more culturally appropriate services, and broader access to health-related social services for those who receive care paid for by the nation’s largest health insurer. This public health insurance covers nearly 64 million enrolled in Medicare and more than 83 million beneficiaries of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan. Health equity goals for the 2022 Strategic Plan include incentivizing other insurers to enter single-issuer rural counties in the individual market.  CMS will host a Health Equity Symposium today at 1:00 pm to provide more details on the health equity plan. 

Comments Requested: New Questions for Census Survey – May 18. In April 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau launched a new project to inform on a range of topics experienced by households during the COVID-19 pandemic. New questions for the Household Pulse Survey are being formulated, for example, changing the focus of one vaccination question from reasons for not receiving the vaccine to reasons for not receiving a vaccine booster dose. The Department of Commerce invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on proposed and continuing information collections.

Ongoing: HRSA Payment Program for RHC Buprenorphine-Trained Providers. In June 2021, the Health Resources and Services Administration (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.