Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Update

May 7, 2020

HHS Begins Distribution of Payments to Hospitals with High COVID-19 Admissions, Rural Providers. On May 1, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it is processing payments from the Provider Relief Fund to hospitals with large numbers of COVID-19 inpatient admissions through April 10, 2020, and to rural providers in support of the national response to COVID-19. Recipients of the $10 billion rural distribution will include, rural acute care general hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), and Community Health Centers located in rural areas.

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy FAQs for COVID-19.  A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from our grantees and stakeholders, updated regularly.

Request for Information: Clinical Experience in Suicide Prevention in Primary Care Settings – August 7.  The National Institutes of Health seeks information from the public to better understand the opportunities and barriers in the primary care community regarding efforts to care for individuals with suicide risk.  Relevant topics include how suicide screening is deployed, cultural/linguistic needs of patients, reaching disparity populations, and telehealth adaptations.

USDA Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America.  The Economic Research Service (ERS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has updated statistics on several socio-economic factors for rural areas.  Researchers at the ERS use data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, an ongoing function of the Census that keeps track of changes in demographics, employment trends, household incomes, veterans’ status, and other factors that help determine how federal and state funds are distributed.

NAM on Improving Access to Treatment for OUD.  The National Academies of Medicine (NAM) addresses the treatment gap in medically-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD), and presents strategies for increasing access to medicines such as buprenorphine and methadone.

FCC Report on Broadband Deployment.  On April 24, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued its report on access to broadband service in the U.S., with information specific to broadband access in rural and tribal communities and the U.S. territories.

CDC COVID-19 Updates.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides daily updates and guidance. New this week: 1) updated guidance on caring for someone sick at home; 2)  an interactive map with the number of cases and deaths for each state, and 3) a recording of La Vida Durante la Pandemia del Coronavirus, an all-Spanish webcast from April 29.  CDC also does regular clinical calls for public health emergency response, called Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA).

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases, Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Counties.  The RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis provides up-to-date data and maps on rural and urban confirmed cases throughout the United States.  An animated map shows the progression of cases beginning January 21.

Rural Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019.  The Rural Health Information Hub has created a guide to help you learn about activities underway to address COVID-19.