Tag: Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

HRSA Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Updates

From HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

What’s New

HRSA Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network Program – applications due March 18.  HRSA anticipates awards for more than 30 community-based organizations that will join an effort to train and place public health professionals in rural and tribal areas.  Eligible applicants include minority-serving institutions of higher education, Critical Access Hospitals, community health centers, nursing homes, Rural Health Clinics, substance use providers, and state or local workforce development boards.  Each grantee will receive approximately $1.5 million for a three-year project.  FORHP will hold a webinar for applicants on Wednesday, January 5 at 1:00 pm ET.  For those unable to view online, see the Events section below for dial-in information.

HRSA Rural Residency Planning and Development (RRPD) Program  – deadline extended until January 11. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) revised the program sustainability requirements and extended the deadline for RRPD grant applications. Applicants should review the changes and can resubmit their applications if needed. HRSA will only review your last submitted application. This program aims to increase opportunities for physicians to train in rural residencies. A total of $10.5 million will develop 14 new rural residency programs accredited by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Eligible applicants include rural hospitals, GME consortiums, and tribal organizations. For questions, email RuralResidency@hrsa.gov.

HRSA Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Program Funding Opportunity – applications due March 21. HRSA will be making approximately 40 awards of up to $200,000 each to support the planning and implementation of quality improvement activities in rural communities. Applicants must be rural domestic public or private nonprofit entities with demonstrated experience serving, or the capacity to serve, rural underserved populations in a HRSA-designated rural area. FORHP will hold a technical assistance webinar for applicants via Zoom on Wednesday, January 26, 2022 from 2-3 p.m. ET. A recording will be available for those who cannot attend.

Share Your Experiences on Rural Emergency Preparedness and ResponseThe Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub)  wants to hear about how rural communities, health care facilities, public health departments, first responders, tribes, rural serving organizations, and others have had to adapt, collaborate, and innovate in the face of disasters and public health emergencies. They are looking for examples of lessons learned, successes, challenges, or other helpful information to highlight related to emergency preparedness, response, and recovery for a variety of disasters. Examples will be shared in an emergency preparedness toolkit on the RHIhub website.

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.

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.


COVID-19 Resources

NARHC Assistance with Federal Programs for COVID-19 Testing, Vaccine Distribution, and Provider Relief FundThe National Association of Rural Health Clinics (NARHC) has background information and guidelines in its collection of technical assistance webinars for all COVID-related programs designated for Rural Health Clinics.

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

Rural Health Clinic Vaccine Distribution (RHCVD) Program.  Under the program, Medicare-certified RHCs will receive direct COVID-19 vaccines in addition to their normal jurisdictions’ weekly allocation.  Contact RHCVaxDistribution@hrsa.gov for more information.

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.  The toolkit includes common types of misinformation and a checklist to help evaluate the accuracy of health-related content.

Online Resource for Licensure of Health Professionals.  As telehealth usage increased during the pandemic, FORHP funded new work with the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards to reduce the burden of multi-state licensure.  The site provides up-to-date information on emergency regulation and licensing in each state for psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists assistants, and social workers.

HRSA COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund.  HRSA will provide claims reimbursement at the national Medicare rate for eligible health care providers administering vaccines to underinsured individuals.

HHS Facts About COVID Care for the Uninsured. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) helps uninsured individuals find no-cost COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccines.  The HRSA Uninsured Program provides claims reimbursement to health care providers generally at Medicare rates for testing, treating, and administering vaccines to uninsured individuals, including undocumented immigrants.  There are at-a-glance fact sheets for providers and for patients in English and Spanish.

CDC COVID-19 Updates.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides daily updates and guidance, including a section specific to rural health careCOVID-19 Vaccination Trainings for new and experienced providers, and Tips for Talking with Patients about COVID-19 Vaccination.

HHS/DoD National Emergency Tele-Critical Care Network.  A joint program of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is available at no cost to hospitals caring for COVID-19 patients and struggling with access to enough critical care physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other specialized clinical experts. Teams of critical care clinicians are available to deliver virtual care through telemedicine platforms, such as an app on a mobile device. Hear from participating clinicians, and email to learn more and sign up.

Mobilizing Health Care Workforce via Telehealth.  ProviderBridge.org was created by the Federation of State Medical Boards through the CARES Act and the FORHP-supported Licensure Portability Grant Program. The site provides up-to-date information on emergency regulation and licensing by state as well as a provider portal to connect volunteer health care professionals to state agencies and health care entities.

New: Reaching Farm Communities for Vaccine Confidence.  The AgriSafe Network is a nonprofit organization that provides information and training on injury and disease related to agriculture.  Their health professionals and educators created a social media toolkit that aims to provide clear messages about COVID-19 vaccination for agriculture, forestry, and fishing workers.


Funding and Opportunities

SAMHSA Grants for Rural Emergency Medical Services Training – February 14.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will make 27 awards of up to $200,000 each to recruit and train emergency medical services (EMS) personnel with a focus on mental and substance use disorders.  Eligible applicants are rural EMS agencies operated by a local or tribal government and non-profit EMS agencies.


Policy Updates

Send questions to ruralpolicy@hrsa.gov.

Medicare Rule Adds 1,000 Physician Residency Slots and Other GME Policies.  Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized several graduate medical education (GME) proposals that will enhance the health care workforce and fund additional medical residency positions in hospitals serving rural and underserved communities.  This Fiscal Year 2022 Medicare Inpatient Hospital Payment Final Rule adds 1,000 new Medicare-funded residency positions prioritizing hospitals that serve areas with the greatest needs. It also allows new opportunities for rural teaching hospitals participating in an accredited rural training track to increase their full time equivalent (FTE) caps.  The rule also allows hospitals beginning a new medical residency training program to reset their FTE caps and per-resident amounts under qualifying circumstances.  Rural hospitals seeking a cap reset must start new residency training programs by December 2025.  Finally, CMS seeks comments on alternative methods to prioritize additional FTE resident cap slots and the review process to determine eligibility for per resident amounts or FTE cap resets in specified situations.

CMS Suspends Enforcement of Vaccine Mandate While Court Ordered Injunctions Remain in Effect (pdf). This month, CMS issued a memo to State Survey Agency Directors indicating that the agency will not enforce the new rule stipulating vaccination for health care workers in certified Medicare/Medicaid providers and suppliers (including nursing facilities, hospitals, dialysis facilities and all other provider types covered by the rule). Health care facilities may voluntarily choose to comply with the Interim Final Rule at this time.


Learning Events and Technical Assistance

Assistance for Rural Public Health Workforce Funding Applications – Wednesday, January 5 at 1:00 pm ET.  FORHP will hold a one-hour webinar via Zoom for those applying for the Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network Program.  Applications are due March 18th for the grant that will invest $48 million to place newly trained public health professionals in rural areas.  To dial in:  1-833-568-8864; Participant Code: 86083981. Contact RPHWTNP@hrsa.gov for more information or a recording of the webinar.


Resource of the Week

Federally Qualified Health Centers and the Health Center ProgramThis recently updated topic guide at the Rural Health Information Hub includes new FAQs on Medicare reimbursement for telehealth services, insight on financial and operational performances of health centers, and the differences between a Federally Qualified Health Center and a Rural Health Clinic.


Approaching Deadlines

Last Day for RHCs to Spend COVID-19 Testing Funds – December 31

Department of Labor Stand Down Grants for Veterans Services – December 31

USDA Guaranteed Loans for Rural Rental Housing – December 31

COVID-19 Extension for Medicare Graduate Medical Education (GME) Affiliation Agreement  – January 1

Treasury Department New Markets Tax Credit Program – January 3

CDC Grants for New Investigators/Research for Interpersonal Violence Impacting Children/Youth – January 4

HRSA Family-to-Family Health Information Centers (F2F HICs)  – January 5

NIHB/CDC Building Capacity for Tribal Infection Control – January 7

Nominations Sought for Indigenous Health Equity Committee – extended to January 7

NIH Research for AI/AN End-of-Life Care – January 8

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Seed Grants for Climate Change and Health – January 10

USDA Farm to School Grants – January 10

HHS Grants for Family Planning Services – January 11

HRSA Rural Residency Planning and Development (RRPD) Program – extended to January 11

HRSA Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program – January 13

HRSA Nurse Faculty Loan Program – January 13

HRSA Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – Implementation – January 13

SAMHSA Grants for Rural Emergency Medical Services Training – February 14

CDC Research on Telehealth Strategies for PrEP and ART – January 18

Comments Requested: DEA Regulation of Telepharmacy Practice – January 18

NIH Researching Behavioral Risk Factors for Cancer in Rural Populations – January 18

Department of Labor YouthBuild Program – January 21

CDC Centers for Agricultural Safety and Health – January 24

ACL Empowering Communities for Chronic Disease Self-Management – January 25

ACL Empowering Communities to Deliver and Sustain Falls Prevention Programs – January 25

CDC Seeking Public Input on Work-Related Stress for Health Workers – Extended to January 25

HRSA Delta Region Rural Health Workforce Training Program – January 25

CDC Cancer Prevention and Control for State, Territorial, and Tribal Organizations – January 26

HRSA Access to HIV Services for Women and Children – January 28

HRSA Rural Health Network Development Planning Program – January 28

HHS COVID-19 and Health Equity Impact Fellowship – extended to January 31

HHS Technology Challenge for Racial Equity in Postpartum Care – January 31

HRSA Centers of Excellence for Training Minorities in Health Professions – January 31

SAMHSA-American Psychiatric Association Diversity Leadership Fellowship – January 31

HRSA Leadership Education in Adolescent Health – February 1

Indian Health Service Forensic Healthcare Services for Domestic Violence Prevention – February 2

Indian Health Service Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention Program – February 2

Indian Health Service Zero Suicide Initiative – February 2

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Programs – Extended to February 3

CDC Research to Prevent Firearm-Related Violence and Injuries – February 4

RWJF Summer Health Professions Education Program for Underrepresented Minorities – February 5

HRSA Predoctoral Training in Public Health Dentistry and Dental Hygiene – February 7

SAMHSA Harm Reduction Program – February 7

VA Supportive Services for Veteran Families – February 7

USDA Farm and Food Worker Relief Grants – February 8

IHS Tribal Self-Governance Negotiation – February 10

IHS Tribal Self-Governance Planning – February 10

CDC Strengthening Infection Prevention – February 11

CDC Evaluating Substance Use Prevention Incorporating ACEs Prevention – February 22

HRSA Mobile Health Training – Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention – February 22

USDA Rural eConnectivity Broadband Loan and Grant Program – February 22

Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Behavioral Health Care Technical Assistance (RCORP-BHCTA) – March 9

HRSA Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network Program – March 18

HRSA Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Program – March 21

FCC/USAC Rural Health Care Connect Fund – April 1

FCC/USAC Telecommunications Program – April 1

USDA Local Food Purchase Assistance Program – April 5


Ongoing Opportunities

CFPB Rental Assistance Finder

HHS/DoD National Emergency Tele-Critical Care Network

Extended Public Comment Period for FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program

FCC Emergency Broadband for Individuals and Households

FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance

HRSA Payment Program for Buprenorphine-Trained Clinicians – Until Funds Run Out

AgriSafe Nurse Scholar Program – March 2022

AHRQ Health Services Research Demonstration and Dissemination Grants – September 2022

AHRQ Research to Improve Patient Transitions through HIT – December 2022

American Indian Public Health Resource Center Technical Assistance

ASA Rural Access to Anesthesia Care Scholarship

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Seed Grants for Climate Change and Health – Quarterly through August 2023

CDC Direct Assistance to State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Health Agencies

CDC Training Pediatric Medical Providers to Recognize ACEs

Delta Region Community Health Systems Development Program

Department of Commerce American Rescue Plan Funding for Indigenous Communities – September 2022

Department of Commerce: Economic Development Assistance Programs

Department of Labor Dislocated Worker Grants

DRA Technical Assistance for Delta Region Community Health Systems Development

EPA Drinking Water State Revolving Fund

FEMA/SAMHSA Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP)

GPHC & RWJF: Rapid Cycle Research and Evaluation Grants for Cross-Sector Alignment

HRSA Technical Assistance for Look-Alike Initial Designation for the Health Center Program

Housing Assistance Council: Housing Loans for Low-Income Rural Communities

HUD Hospital Mortgage Insurance Program

IHS Tribal Forensic Healthcare Training

IHS/DOD Medical Supplies and Equipment for Tribes (Project TRANSAM)

NARHC Certified Rural Health Clinic Professional Course

NIH Project Talk Initiative Host Site Applications

NIH Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health – May 2022

NIH Practice-Based Research for Primary Care Suicide Prevention – June 2022

NIH Research – Alcohol and Other Substance Use – Various Dates Through August 2022

NIH Research: Intervening with Cancer Caregivers to Improve Patient Outcomes – September 8, 2022

NIH Research on Minority Health/Health Disparities – September 8, 2022

NIH Research on Palliative Care in Home/Community Settings – September 8, 2022

NIH Intervention Research to Improve Native American Health – Various Dates Until September 2023

NIH Researching the Role of Work in Health Disparities – Various Dates Until September 2024

NIH Special Interest Research – Pandemic Impact on Vulnerable Children and Youth – May 2024

Nominations for Federal Advisory Commission on HIV, Viral Hepatitis, and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Nominations for National Advisory Committee on Migrant Health

Primary Care Development Corporation Community Investment Loans

Rural Graduate Medical Education Planning and Development

RWJF Investigator-Initiated Research to Build a Culture of Health

RWJF Pioneering Ideas Brief Proposals

SBA Guaranteed Loans for Small Business

Southeast Rural Community Assistance Loans

Tribal Grant Writing Training

USDA Community Facilities Program

USDA Community Food Projects Technical Assistance

USDA Drinking Water and Waste Disposal for Rural and Native Alaskan Villages

USDA Economic Impact Initiative Grants

USDA Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants

USDA Healthy Food Financing Initiative Technical Assistance

USDA Intermediary Relending Program

USDA Rural Business Development Grants

USDA Rural Business Investment Program

USDA Rural Energy Savings Program

USDA SEARCH – Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households (for Water/Waste Projects)

USDA Summer Food Program

USDA Technical Assistance for Healthy Food Financing Initiative

USDA Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans

USDA Funding for Rural Water and Waste Disposal Projects

USDOT Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (R.O.U.T.E.S)


The Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy are distributed weekly. To receive these updates, send an email with “Subscribe” in the subject line.

 

HRSA Announces Distribution of Phase 4 General Distribution Funds

The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) has announced that it will begin distributing Phase 4 General Distribution Payments on Thursday, December 16, 2021.  According to HRSA, approximately 75% of all Phase 4 applications have now been processed.  HRSA indicated that the remaining 25% of applications require additional review under its risk mitigation and cost containment safeguards.

HRSA further indicated that it began distributing American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural Payments on November 23, 2021.  As of December 14, 2021, HRSA has indicated that it has processed approximately 96% of ARP applications.  The ARP allocated a total of $8.5 billion to health care providers who serve rural Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP patients.  HRSA indicated that it will distribute $7.5 billion of these funds in its initial distribution.

To the extent a provider was determined to be eligible for either a Phase 4 payment or an ARP Rural Payment, the provider will receive both an email notification and a paper letter with additional details on these payments.  This will include the individual amounts attributed to any subsidiary TINs submitted as part of their application.  To the extent HRSA determined that you were not eligible for a Phase 4 payment, the email notice will provide an explanation for why you were determined to be ineligible.  These email notices will be sent to the email address provided in the Phase 4 application.  Providers selected for additional review will receive email notification as soon as HRSA completes its review process, which it indicated would be completed in “early 2022.”

AAA members are encouraged to look for this email.  If you have not received an email notification, we would suggest that you check your spam filter, as several of our members have indicated that the email was flagged as “spam” by their email system. 

HRSA | Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Update

HRSA | Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Update | May 13, 2021

What’s New

CDC and USDA Team Up for Vaccine Education Effort.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing $9.95 million in funding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to improve vaccine confidence in rural areas.  NIFA will work with local partners through the Land Grant University System and its Cooperative Extension System, a nationwide educational network that provides non-formal higher education and learning to farming communities.

HRSA COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund.  The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will provide claims reimbursement at the national Medicare rate for eligible health care providers administering vaccines to underinsured individuals. This may be particularly helpful in rural communities given higher rates of uninsured and underinsured.

HHS/DoD National Emergency Tele-Critical Care Network.  A joint program of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is available at no cost to hospitals caring for COVID-19 patients and struggling with access to enough critical care physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other specialized clinical experts. Teams of critical care clinicians are available to deliver virtual care through lightweight telemedicine platforms, such as an app on a mobile device. Hear from participating clinicians and email to learn more and sign up.

HHS Coordinates New Effort to Vaccinate Migratory/Seasonal Workers in Agriculture.  The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is working with several divisions, including the Food and Drug Administration and the Health Resources and Services Administration to boost vaccination rates in a workforce often at heightened risk of COVID-19 infection.

RAND/RWJF Report:  COVID-19 and the Experiences of Populations at Greater Risk.  The RAND Corporation joined with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to examine the way people view health issues. Researchers asked people in the United States about their experiences related to the pandemic, and their views on issues such as freedom, racism, and the role of government.


COVID-19 Resources

New: FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit ProgramThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created this temporary program to help eligible individuals and households afford internet service during the pandemic. Eligible households can enroll through an approved broadband service provider or by visiting GetEmergencyBroadband.org.  The program will end when the fund runs out of money, or six months after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever is sooner.

We Can Do This: COVID-19 Public Education Campaign.  The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced a national effort to help community partners promote COVID-19 vaccine confidence.  The campaign includes educational materials targeted to specific audiences and seeks volunteers for the COVID-19 Community CorpsNew: The Rural Communities Toolkit provides resources for building vaccine confidence.  

Volunteer to Administer COVID-19 Vaccines.  The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has expanded its definition of persons authorized to give the vaccine.  These include, among others, current and retired traditional and non-traditional health care professionals, and students in health care programs.

HHS Facts About COVID Care for the Uninsured. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) helps uninsured individuals find no-cost COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccines.  The HRSA Uninsured Program provides claims reimbursement to health care providers generally at Medicare rates for testing, treating, and administering vaccines to uninsured individuals, including undocumented immigrants.  There are at-a-glance fact sheets for providers and for patients in English and Spanish.

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

COVID-19 FAQs and Funding for HRSA Programs. Find COVID-19-related funding and frequently asked questions for programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Frequently Asked Questions.  Includes information on terms and conditions, attestation, reporting and auditing requirements, general and targeted distributions, and how to report capital equipment purchases.

CDC COVID-19 Updates.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides daily updates and guidance, including a section specific to rural health care, a vaccine locator by state, and COVID-19 Vaccination Trainings for new and experienced providers.  NewUpdated Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 vaccination, including new guidance for use in adolescents 12 and older.

CMS Coronavirus Partner Resources.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides information for providers, health plans, state Medicaid programs, and Children’s Health Insurance Programs and holds regular stakeholder calls to provide updates.

HHS Coronavirus Data Hub.  The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) website includes estimated and reported hospital capacity by state, with numbers updated daily.

NIH Community Engagement Alliance Against  COVID-19 Disparities.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) created a collection of online resources with information for communities hit hardest by the pandemic, such as African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and American Indian/Alaska Natives.

COVID-19 Data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The site provides access to demographic and economic data, including state and local data on at-risk populations, poverty, health insurance coverage, and employment.

ATTC Network COVID-19 Resources for Addictions Treatment. The Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network was established in 1993 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  The online catalog of COVID-related resources includes regularly-updated guidance and trainings for professionals in the field.

GHPC’s Collection of Rural Health Strategies for COVID-19.  The FORHP-supported Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) provides reports, guidance, and innovative strategies gleaned from their technical assistance and peer learning sessions with FORHP grantees.  New: The Impact of Rural Residence on COVID-19 Disparities.

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases, Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Counties.  The RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis provides up-to-date data on rural and urban confirmed cases throughout the United States.  An animated map shows the progression of cases beginning March 26, 2020 to the present.

Rural Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019.  The Rural Health Information Hub has a compendium of rural-specific activities and guidelines, including Rural Healthcare Surge Readiness, a tool with resources for responding to a local surge in cases.

SAMHSA Training and Technical Assistance Related to COVID-19.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) created this list of resources, tools, and trainings for behavioral health and recovery providers.

Mobilizing Health Care Workforce via Telehealth.  ProviderBridge.org was created by the Federation of State Medical Boards through the CARES Act and the FORHP-supported Licensure Portability Program. The site provides up-to-date information on emergency regulation and licensing by state as well as a provider portal to connect volunteer health care professionals to state agencies and health care entities.

Online Resource for Licensure of Health Professionals.  Created by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, the site provides up-to-date information on emergency regulation and licensing in each state for psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists assistants, and social workers. 


Funding and Opportunities

Nurse Corps Scholarship Program – extended to May 26. The Nurse Corps Scholarship Program provides financial support to students enrolled in nursing degree programs in exchange for a commitment to serve in high-need areas across the country. This year, Nurse Corps has additional funding for qualified nursing students that includes tuition, fees, other reasonable educational costs, and a monthly living stipend.

DOJ National Tribal Clearinghouse on Sexual Assault – June 3. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will make one award for $980,000 to an organization that can provide nationwide training and technical assistance for response to sexual assault crimes and services for victims in American Indian/Alaska Native communities.

DOJ Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Site-Based Program – June 7. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will make 110 awards with total funding of $163 million to support state, local, tribal, and territorial response to use of illicit substances.  A subcategory of the program will award up to $600,000 each for projects in rural areas, small counties, and tribal areas with a population of fewer than 100,000 for a federally recognized tribe.

HRSA Rural Northern Border Region Planning Program – June 14. The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) will make approximately four awards of up to $190,000 each to support health care needs in underserved rural communities of the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) service area.

DOJ Second Chance Act Youth Offender Reentry Program – June 15.  The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will make 13 awards of up to $750,000 each to support youth returning to their communities from correctional facilities.  The program encourages collaboration between state agencies, local government, and community- and faith-based organizations.  Separately, the DOJ will make approximately 15 awards of up to $750,000 each for the Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Program – June 15.

USDA Local Food Promotion Program – June 21.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will make grants of up to $200,000 each for planning grants, and up to $750,000 for implementation grants.  Grant recipients will create or expand projects that increase the availability of locally produced food.

DOJ Strategies to Support Children Exposed to Violence – June 22.  The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) estimates eight awards with total investment of $7 million to support community-level strategies for children exposed to violence.  Priority consideration will be given to applications promoting civil rights, building trust between law enforcement and the community, and that are intended to benefit high poverty areas.

HUD Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS – July 6.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will make 18 awards of up to $2.25 million each for community projects that provide housing for people with HIV/AIDS in underserved areas. Rural populations are among those of interest for ensuring health equity. Also known as Housing as an Intervention to Fight AIDS, the program aims to create housing and service models that can be replicated in other similar localities.


Rural Health Research

Research in this section is provided by the HRSA/FORHP-supported Rural Health Research Gateway.  Sign up to receive alerts when new publications become available. 

Medicare-Paid Naloxone: Trends in Nonmetropolitan and Metropolitan Areas.  Previous research has found that Medicare paid for an increasing share of naloxone prescriptions from 2016 to 2018 and pays for 1/3 of all naloxone dispensed from retail pharmacies as of 2018.  This brief from the Rural and Underserved Health Research Center examines trends in Medicare-paid naloxone dispensing rates in nonmetropolitan versus metropolitan areas from 2014 to 2018.


Policy Updates

Visit the FORHP Policy page to see all recent updates and send questions to ruralpolicy@hrsa.gov.

Request for Information on Advancing Equity and Support for Underserved Communities – Comments due July 6.  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) seeks input from a broad array of stakeholders in the public, private, advocacy, not-for-profit, and philanthropic sectors, including State, local, Tribal, and territorial areas, on available methods, approaches, and tools that the Government can use to promote equity and support underserved communities.

Increased Medicare payment for COVID-19 monoclonal antibody infusions.  The Centers and Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS) announced last week an increase in the national average payment rate for administering monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 from $310 to $450 for most health care settings.  Additionally, they have established a higher national payment rate of $750 for monoclonal antibody treatments administered in a beneficiary’s home, including the beneficiary’s permanent residence or temporary lodging.  CMS is updating its COVID-19 toolkits for providers, states, and insurers to reflect this change.

Medicare Guidance on Interoperability Rule Requirements for Hospitals.   This interpretive guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) outlines the Conditions of Participation (CoPs) requiring hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) to send electronic patient event notifications of a patient’s admission, discharge, and/or transfer to another healthcare facility or to another community provider or practitioner, which are effective as of May 1, 2021.  These CoPs were finalized in the May 2020 Interoperability and Patient Access Final Rule and are addressed in the recently released Interoperability Final Rule FAQs.

Medicare Waiver for Ambulance Treatment in Place.  This Fact Sheet describes the circumstances in which ground ambulance services may be reimbursed by Medicare for treatment provided in place because a patient was not able to be transported to a destination permitted under Medicare regulations due to community-wide emergency medical service (EMS) protocols due to the COVID-19 PHE.  This waiver is retroactively effective to March 1, 2020.


Learning Events and Technical Assistance

ONDCP Workshop for SUD: Rural Faith-Based Leaders – Thursday, May 13 at 1:00 pm ET.  The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) will hold a second session (90 minutes) in its series for faith leaders in rural areas.  The workshops are meant to increase understanding of substance use disorder (SUD) and provide guidance on connecting faith to prevention, treatment, and recovery.  If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Betty-Ann Bryce, Special Advisor for Rural Affairs at MBX.ONDCP.RuralAffairs@ondcp.eop.gov with your name, title, organization, state/county, and contact information/email address. The Rural Health Information Hub has a recording of the first workshop for faith leaders in its Community Toolbox for SUD.

MATRC: Answering Questions About Telehealth and Telemental Health – Friday, May 14 at 12:00 pm ET.  The Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center (MATRC) holds a live, two-hour event to answer questions about the basics.  The MATRC is one of 14 FORHP-Supported Telehealth Resource Centers.  This is a recurring session taking place every other Friday from 12:00 to 2:00 pm ET.

HRSA Telehealth Series: Learn About Licensure Compacts – Monday, May 17 at 12:30 pm ET.  Experts from the National Center for Interstate Compacts will discuss agreements for doctors, nurses, psychologists and other clinicians to see patients across state lines via telehealth.

SBIRT for SUD Native American Communities – Tuesday, May 18 at 11:00 am ET.  Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is a process to quickly assess substance use disorder (SUD) in a person and move them toward more extensive treatment.  This hour-long session is hosted by the National American Indian & Alaska Native Prevention Technology Transfer Center.

AgriSafe: Zoonotic Disease and Pregnancy – Wednesday, May 19 at 1:00 pm ET.  The AgriSafe Network will hold a one-hour session to explain the risk that diseases transmitted between farm animals and humans pose to pregnant women.

Overcoming Mental Health Stigma in Rural Communities – Wednesday, May 19 at 2:00 pm ET.  The Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network will host a one-hour workshop to discuss what influences negative attitudes toward mental health and techniques to overcome various forms of stigma.

Assessment of Opioid Misuse Risk Among Farmers in the Clinical Setting – Friday, May 21 at 1:00 pm ET. The AgriSafe Network will host an hour-long webinar to provide insight on misuse risk factors and warning signs among farmers.

SAMHSA Connecting Prevention Specialists to Native Communities – Friday, May 21 at 1:00 pm ET.  The Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) holds virtual trainings to cover topics such as crisis response, youth engagement, and sexual assault awareness.  Trainings will take place on the third Friday of each month.


Resource of the Week

Successful COVID-19 Messaging in Rural CommunitiesIn this 30-minute video, the state leadership in West Virginia present insight from their research and vaccine outreach campaign.


Approaching Deadlines

CDC Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Surveillance – extended to May 14 (from April 25)

Park and Recreation Mentorship Grants for Rural Youth Impacted by Opioids – May 15

ARC Investments Supporting Partnerships/Recovery Ecosystems – Letters of Intent May 17

CDC Drug Free Communities – extended to May 17 (from May 10)

Cross-Jurisdictional Sharing in Public Health: Small Grants Program – May 17

EPA Technical Assistance for Wastewater Treatment – May 17

SAMHSA Overdose Treatment for Use by First Responders – May 17

HRSA Expanding Community-Based Workforce for COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach – May 18

Comments Requested:  Proposed Changes to the Census Bureau Definition of Urban – May 20

CMS Primary Care First Model Cohort 2 – extended to May 21 (from April 30)

CDC Community Health Workers for COVID Response – May 24

New Sites for National Health Service Corps (NHSC) – May 25

Native American Agriculture Fund Grants for Youth – May 25

Nurse Corps Scholarship Program – extended to May 26

CMS | 4/13 Webinar | HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program

From CMS on April 12, 2021

Upcoming Webinar for Providers on the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program: Interested in learning more about the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program? Participating providers are reimbursed at Medicare rates for testing, treating and administering COVID-19 vaccines to uninsured individuals.

Providers who have conducted COVID-19 testing to uninsured individuals, provided treatment for uninsured individuals with a COVID_19 diagnosis on or after February 4, 2020, or administered COVID-19 vaccines to uninsured individuals can begin the process to file claims for reimbursement. Providers can familiarize themselves with this process at https://www.hrsa.gov/coviduninsuredclaim, and learn more and file claims at https://coviduninsuredclaim.linkhealth.com/. Providers can also view Frequently Asked Questions about the program.

Join us on Tuesday April 13, 2021 at 2PM ET for an informational webinar.

Register Now

Feel free to share this with others who may be interested!

Rural Healthcare Grants from HRSA FORH

From the HRSA Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy has released the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program (Outreach) (HRSA-21-027).  HRSA plans to award 60 grants to rural communities as part of this funding opportunity.

Review the Funding Opportunity

The Outreach Program administered by HRSA’s FORHP focuses on expanding the delivery of health care services to include new and enhanced services exclusively in rural communities. Applicants are required to deliver health care services through a consortium of at least three health care provider organizations, use an evidence-based or promising practice model to inform their approach, and demonstrate health outcomes and sustainability by the end of the four-year performance period.

In addition to funding Outreach programs through the regular Outreach track, in FY 21, FORHP will also afford applicants a unique opportunity to take part in a national effort that targets rural health disparities through a second track called the “Healthy Rural Hometown Initiative.” This initiative was created through the HHS Rural Task Force and driven by findings from a report published by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that noted that the number of preventable death from the five leading cause of death in rural areas was higher than those in urban areas. Unfortunately, these findings echo earlier CDC research on the rural disparities in avoidable or excess death in 2017.

The Healthy Rural Hometown Initiative (HRHI) is an effort that seeks to address the underlying factors that are driving growing rural health disparities related to the five leading causes of avoidable death (heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury/substance use, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke). The goal of the HRHI track is to demonstrate the collective impact of projects that better manage conditions, address risk factors and focus on prevention that relate to the leading causes of death in rural communities. This track should be a good fit for applicants who want to identify and bridge the gap between the social determinants of health and other systemic issues that contribute to achieving health equity with regards to excess death in rural communities. Furthermore, this is a rural-specific and community-based approach to addressing these disparities and represents a new and more targeted strategy given the enduring health gaps between rural and urban populations.

Of the successful 60 award recipients, HRSA aims to award approximately 45 to regular Outreach track applicants and at least 15 to HRHI applicants for a ceiling amount of up to $200,000 (Regular Outreach) or $250,000 (HRHI) total cost (includes both direct and indirect, facilities and administrative costs) per year (and final numbers will be subject to how applicants score). 

The HRHI is part of an ongoing multi-year effort by FORHP to highlight how rural community health efforts can improve health at the local level. We are encouraging rural health stakeholders to join us in this broader effort while also taking on the challenge of addressing these long-standing rural health disparities related to the five leading causes of death.    

NOTE: The eligibility criteria for this program has changed and now includes all domestic public and private, nonprofit and for-profit entities with demonstrated experience serving, or the capacity to serve, rural underserved populations. Urban-based organizations applying as the lead applicant should ensure there is a high degree of rural control in the project. The applicant organization must represent a network that includes at least three or more health care provider organizations and, at least 66% (or two-thirds) of consortium members must be located in a HRSA-designated rural area.

Please review the guidance in its entirety for more information about eligibility criteria and specific program requirements. Visit www.grants.gov to review the Outreach NOFO and apply. Learn about the Outreach Program.

A webinar for applicants is scheduled on Tuesday October 13, from 3-4:30 p.m., EST. A recording will be made available for those who cannot attend.

For more information about this funding opportunity, contact the Program Coordinator, Alexa Ofori, at RuralOutreachProgram@hrsa.gov.

Congress Passes SIREN Act

On December 12, 2018, Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill (S. 3042) by a 386-47 vote in the House and 87 – 13 vote in the Senate. Included in the final Bill was language similar to the SIREN Act (S. 2830, H.R. 5429) to reauthorize the Rural EMS Grant program.

In an effort to ensure the funding would go to the most needy, small, and rural EMS providers, the language of the amendment and SIREN Act would change the eligibility to just governmental and non-profit EMS agencies. Therefore, small rural for-profit ambulance service providers would no longer be eligible to apply for grants – which haven’t been funded for over a decade. These grants would now provide funds up to $200,000 for training, equipment, and personnel retention in rural areas. The grants also require a 10% contribution by the grant recipient.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will issue a guidance with the details on how these grants will be administered. Since the program has been unfunded for so long, it is unclear at this time, how it will be rolled out. HRSA will most likely follow past protocol providing details through guidance including how to submit and deadlines. The AAA will be sure to share additional details as soon as they become available.

While the AAA had advocated that language be revised to ensure small rural for-profit providers would still be able to apply for grants, we are happy to see this program reauthorized. The AAA was concerned not to push too hard for any changes because the House-passed version of the Farm Bill did not include the SIREN Act provision and didn’t want to give lawmakers any reason not to include the provision in the final Farm Bill.

Special thanks to the IAFC and NAEMT, and other partner organizations for all of their work in getting this legislation passed. The AAA would also like to thank members Congress who advocated for the passage of the SIREN Act including Senators Durbin, Roberts and Stabenow.