Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcemen ts

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HRSA Targeted Technical Assistance for Rural Hospitals – Apply by January 31. Applications are being accepted to receive two years of technical assistance through this FORHP-supported program for rural hospitals struggling to maintain health care services.  Technical assistance for this project is provided by the Center for Public Health Practice and Research at the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, and will begin March 2024. 

HRSA Primary Care Training: Physician Assistant Rural Training in Behavioral Health – Apply by March 15.  HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce will make up to 12 awards to accredited physician assistant training programs.  The goal of the program is to increase the number of physician assistants in rural areas trained to integrate behavioral health with primary care services. 

HRSA Behavioral Health Integration Evidence Based Telehealth Network Program – Apply by March 22. HRSA’s Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (OAT) will fund up to 25 local organizations to promote the integration of behavioral health services into primary care settings using telehealth technology. Applicants must propose to provide services to patients in rural and underserved areas, and will be required to work with the HRSA/OAT-supported Telehealth-Focused Rural Health Research Center to develop evaluation measures for patient-level data. Learn about what’s needed for a successful application at a technical assistance webinar on Wednesday, January 17 at 3:30pm EST to learn more about this funding opportunity.

The U.S. Playbook to Address Social Determinants of Health.  The plan sets the stage for structural changes – from the federal to state and community levels, both inside and outside of government – that are meant to address the social needs affecting health outcomes and hindering health equity.  Three pillars would form the initial scaffolding for a nationwide effort: 1) data gathering and sharing; 2) flexible funding for social needs; and 3) support for community-based organizations. Among the federal-level contributions is a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that began in 2015.  PLACES – Population-level Analysis and Community Estimates of Health – is the first initiative to connect county, place, and Census tract data with the CDC’s surveillance data to develop and implement targeted preventions.  

Ongoing: Updates to Requirements for Buprenorphine PrescribingAs announced by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in January 2023, clinicians no longer need a federal waiver to prescribe buprenorphine for treatment of opioid use disorder.  Clinicians are still required to register with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to prescribe controlled medications.  On June 27, the DEA began to require that registration applicants – both new and renewing – affirm they have completed a new, one-time, eight-hour training.  Exceptions for the new training requirement are practitioners who are board certified in addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry, and those who graduated from a medical, dental, physician assistant, or advanced practice nursing school in the U.S. within five years of June 27, 2023.  Watch this 11-minute video that explains the changes.  Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) still have the opportunity to apply for a $3,000 payment on behalf of each provider who trained between January 1, 2019 and December 29, 2022 (when Congress eliminated the waiver requirement).  Approximately $889,000 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.

**New: COVID-19 Home Tests Available.  Every home in the U.S. is again eligible to receive four (4) free at-home tests ordered at www.covid.gov.  Delivery is free through the U.S. Postal Service. 

**New: Home Test to Treat is a new program funded by the National Institutes of Health focused on providing COVID-19 care and treatment for adults who are at greater risk of being affected by COVID-19.  Adults who do not currently have COVID-19 or flu may enroll and receive free tests if they are uninsured or are enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Affairs health care system, or the Indian Health Services. Individuals who are currently positive for COVID-19 can enroll to receive telehealth services for COVID-19 and treatment (if prescribed) at no cost. Enrollees may also be invited to participate in a completely optional research component of the program. Informational flyers are available in English and Spanish.

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. Teams of critical care clinicians – critical care physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other specialized clinical experts – 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 through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act by the Federation of State Medical Boards and HRSA’s Office for the Advancement of Telehealth. 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 Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Psychologists, and Social Workers.  The site provides up-to-date information on emergency regulation and licensing in each state.

Housing Assistance Council Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans Initiative – January 22.  The national nonprofit provides funding for home repair needs for rural veterans who are low‐income, older, and/or persons with disabilities.  The program also helps veterans become homeowners, and/or secure affordable rental housing in rural areas.

USDA Rural Utilities Service – Community Connect Grants – February 20.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending the application window for this program, originally set to deadline on June 20, 2023.  Any applicant that applied under the March 20, 2023 Notice of Funding Opportunity must resubmit their application.  The program provides financial assistance to grantees that will provide broadband service in rural, economically challenged communities where it does not exist. 

Indian Health Service Scholarship Programs – February 28. The IHS provides scholarships for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) undergraduate and graduate-level students enrolled in specific health professions degree programs. 

Send questions to ruralpolicy@hrsa.gov.

Expanded Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy Begins.  In compliance with the Inflation Reduction Act, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Low-Income Subsidy Program (also known as Extra Help) will provide full financial assistance to beneficiaries enrolled in the Medicare Part D program with incomes up to 150% of the federal poverty level. Medicare beneficiaries who are eligible and enroll in Medicare Savings Programs are automatically eligible for full low-income subsidies, the payment of Medicare Parts A and B premiums, and cost-sharing. Other Medicare beneficiaries must apply for the Extra Help program via the Social Security Administration to obtain these subsidies.

CMS’ Proposed Rule Addresses Appeals Rights for Certain Changes in Patient Status – Comment by February 22.  The proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is in response to a federal court ruling that affects Medicare beneficiaries who received “observation services” in a hospital as outpatients.  The case of Alexander v. Azar in the U.S. District Court of Connecticut was decided by a federal judge in March 2020 and requires that beneficiaries who are initially admitted as hospital inpatients, but are subsequently reclassified as outpatients (resulting in a denial of coverage for the hospital stay under Medicare Part A), are entitled to an appeals process if they meet other eligibility criteria. CMS is requesting comment from the public on this proposal to create a standardized notice advising beneficiaries of their rights to three types of appeal – expedited, standard, or retrospective – depending on the patient’s current status.

See Resources of the Week below for new analysis of value-based care efforts.

Public Health Vending Machines – Monday, January 8 at 11:00 am Eastern.  The Great Lakes Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Regional Center will share lessons learned from this public health innovation that providing community access to harm reduction supplies, including sterile injection equipment, naloxone, and drug testing strips. 

3RNet January Training for Rural Health Care Recruiters – Tuesday, January 9 at 2:00 pm Eastern.  Formerly known as the National Rural Recruitment & Retention Network, 3RNET is the national nonprofit with expertise in finding and placing clinicians in underserved areas.  Each month, 3RNET holds a live training session explaining how to post jobs and find job seekers on its site. 

HRSA Virtual Job Fair for Health Professions – Wednesday, January 10 at 6:00 pm Eastern.  HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce holds regular online job fairs for clinicians and health care employers in underserved areas.

Research Priorities for Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s Disease – Tuesday, January 16 at 8:30 am Eastern. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine host a two-day workshop to identify barriers and explore promising areas of research.  Research published in 2021 showed lower prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in rural areas, but diagnosed residents in metropolitan areas experienced longer survival. 

HRSA Grants 101 Virtual Workshop in Spanish – Tuesday, January 16 at 12:00 pm Eastern.  Presented in Spanish with live English translation, this workshop will share information about HRSA’s funding opportunities and application process. 

Resources for Planning Rural Training for Doctors – Wednesday, January 17 at 12:00 pm Eastern.  In a one-hour session, experts will provide background information on Section 126 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 – the federal legislation that creates positions (also known as slots) for physician residencies in underserved areas.   This session hosted by the FORHP-supported program that helps hospitals plan and develop rural residencies will feature representatives from CMS to discuss the application process for Round Three, with a focus on considerations for rural hospitals interested in expanding rural residency training. 

Changes in Federal Regulation for Prescribing Buprenorphine – Thursday, January 18 at 1:00 pm Eastern.  Sponsored by HRSA’s Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) this webinar will review the federal requirements for prescribing medications for opioid use disorder. 

Assessing Value-Based Payment Policies for Rural Areas. In 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a goal to have all Original Medicare (fee-for-service) beneficiaries in care relationships with health care providers that are accountable for the beneficiaries’ total cost of care and quality by 2030. This policy paper from the Rural Health Value team discusses the challenges that are particular to rural areas as well as potential opportunities.

AmeriCorps State and National Grants – January 4

Proposed Update: Medicare Advantage/Prescription Drug Plans Comment by January 5

CDC Community Health Worker Services for HIV in Rural Communities – January 5

NARHC Bill Finerfrock Health Policy Fellowship – January 5

Proposed Updates: Health Insurance Marketplaces and Insurers for 2025 – Comment by January 8

NIDA Seeking Telemedicine/Remote-Based Platforms for SUD Treatment – January 8

Alzheimer’s Association Supporting Research in Health Disparities, Policy, and Ethics – Letters of Intent January 9

Request for Information: Upcoming ICD-11 – Comment by January 12

Public Comments Requested: Interventions for High Body Mass Index in Children and Adolescents – Comment by January 16

Treasury Department Native American Community Development Financial Institution Assistance Program – January 16

Housing Assistance Council Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans Initiative – January 22

NTIA Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program – January 23

Udall Foundation Native American Congressional Internship – January 24

Rural Health Network Development Planning Program – January 26

USDA Supporting Community Agriculture and Local Education Systems (Project SCALES) – January 26

HHS Environmental Justice Community Innovator Challenge, Phase 1 – January 30

EPA Small Communities, Big Challenges Competition – January 31

Frontline Indigenous Partnership Ohiyesa Premedical Program – January 31

HRSA Targeted Technical Assistance for Rural Hospitals – January 31

Department of Labor YouthBuild Grants – February 1

HHS Innovation Challenge: Preventing Human Trafficking/Women and Girls – February 1

CMS Enforcement of State Medicaid Renewal Requirements – Comment by February 2

EPA Training/Technical Assistance for Safe Drinking Water in Small Public Water Systems – February 2

HRSA Nurse Faculty Loan Program – February 5

HRSA Regional AIDS Education and Training Centers – February 5

RWJF Summer Health Professions Education Program – February 5

USDA Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program – February 6

Indian Health Service Community Opioid Intervention Prevention Program – February 7

HRSA Rural Residency Planning and Development Program – February 12

Department of Treasury Community Development Financial Institutions – February 15

USDA Sustainable Community Projects for Children, Youth, and Families At-Risk – February 15

NOSORH Rural Health Grant Writing Institute – February 16

HHS Assistance for Tribal Self-Governance Negotiation – February 19

USDA Rural Utilities Service – Community Connect Grants – February 20

HRSA School-Administered Loans for Public Schools – February 21

SAMHSA Strategic Prevention Partnerships for Communities – February 21

SAMHSA Strategic Prevention Framework/Partnerships for States – February 21

CMS’ Proposed Rule Addresses Appeals Rights for Certain Changes in Patient Status – Comment by February 22

HRSA Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program – February 26

SAMHSA FentAlert Challenge: Empowering Youth for Safe Choices – February 26

Indian Health Service Scholarship Programs – February 28

USDA Produce Prescription Program – February 28

USDA Rural Business Development Grants – February 28

Institute of Museum and Library Sciences Native American Library Services Basic Grants – March 1

HRSA Physician Assistant Rural Training in Behavioral Health – March 15

CMS Advancing All-Payer Health Equity Approaches and Development (AHEAD) Model – March 18

SAMHSA Rural Emergency Medical Services Training – March 20

NIHB/CDC Strengthening Tribal Public Health Systems – March 21

HRSA Behavioral Health Integration Evidence Based Telehealth Network Program – March 22

HRSA Needs Rural Reviewers for Grant Applications

Economic Development Administration Public Works/Economic Assistance Program (CARES Act Funding)

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

FCC Affordable Connectivity Program for Broadband Service

National Indian Health Board Vaccination Event Funding – Ongoing while funds last

SAMHSA 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Volunteer and Job Opportunities

USDA Disaster Repair Grants for Rural Community Facilities – Ongoing while funds last

USDA Water Infrastructure Grants for 2022 Disaster Areas – Ongoing while funds last

ACF Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

ACF Rural Community Development Program for Rural Water Systems

Addiction Policy Forum: Sites for Anti-Stigma Pilot

AgriSafe Mental Health Training for Agricultural Producers & Families

American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) Foundation – Accreditation Grants

American Heart Association Rural Health Care Outcomes Accelerator

American Indian Public Health Resource Center Technical Assistance

AmeriCorps American Connection Corps for Broadband in Rural Areas

Appalachian Community Fund Technical Assistance Grants

Appalachian Regional Commission J-1 Visa Waivers for Doctors

ASA Rural Access to Anesthesia Care Scholarship

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

CDC Training Pediatric Medical Providers to Recognize ACEs

CORH Targeted Technical Assistance for Rural Hospitals Program

Delta Region Community Health Systems Development Program

Delta Regional Authority Community Infrastructure Fund

Delta Doctors J-1 Visa Waiver Program

Department of Commerce: Economic Development Assistance Programs

DRA Technical Assistance for Delta Region Community Health Systems Development

EPA Drinking Water State Revolving Fund

EPA Water Infrastructure and Innovation Act Program

FEMA/SAMHSA Post-Disaster Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program

GSA Federal Surplus Property Available for Public Use

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

HRSA/SAMHSA Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Training and Mentoring

HRSA Seeking Nominations for Migrant Health Advisory

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

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

HUD Distressed Cities and Persistent Poverty Technical Assistance Program

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

National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence Technical Assistance

National Indian Health Board Vaccination Event Funding

National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center Technical Assistance for Domestic Violence Programs

Native Americans into  Medicine

Host Sites for National Environmental Public Health Internship

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

NIH Research to Improve Native American Health – October 2024

NIH Researching Mental Health Practices in Low-Resource Settings – September 2024

NIH Researching Social, Behavioral, and Economic Impact of COVID-19 in Underserved/Vulnerable Populations – September 2024

NIH Researching the Role of Work in Health Disparities – Various dates until September 2024

NIH Addressing the Impact of Structural Racism and Discrimination – Various dates until October 2025

NIH Research to Address Vaccine Hesitancy in Health Disparity Populations – June 2026

NIH Planning Grants for Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH) – various dates until July 2026

NIH Research to Understand Disparities in Maternal Morbidity and Mortality – Various dates until October 2026

NIH Data Informed, Place-Based Community-Engaged Research to Advance Health Equity – January 2027

NIH Project Talk Initiative Host Site Applications

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

NRHA Chief Nursing Officer Certification Program for Rural Hospitals

Oweesta Native CDFI Loan Funds and Technical Assistance

Primary Care Development Corporation Community Investment Loans

Rural Community Assistance Corporation Community Facility Loans for Western States and Pacific Islands

Rural Community Assistance Corporation Environmental Infrastructure Loans for Western States

Rural Graduate Medical Education Planning and Development

Rural Grocery Transition Specialist Program

RTT Collaborative: Rural Training Track Directors University

RWJF Investigator-Initiated Research to Build a Culture of Health

RWJF Pioneering Ideas Brief Proposals

SAMHSA Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program for Communities Post-Disaster

SAMHSA Training to Provide Medication Assisted Treatment

SBA Guaranteed Loans for Small Business

Southeast Rural Community Assistance Loans

Tribal Grant Writing Training

Treasury Department Opportunity Zone Economic Development Program

United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc Tribal Health Program Support

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 Multifamily Housing Loan Guarantees

USDA National School Lunch Afterschool Snack 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 and Loan Guarantees

USDA Funding for Rural Water and Waste Disposal Projects

USDA Water and Waste Disposal Grants to Alleviate Health Risks on Tribal Lands and Colonias

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

Veterans Affairs Health Professional Scholarship Program

Veterans Affairs Virtual Living Room – Using Technology to Address the Critical Healthcare Needs of Veterans in Rural Areas

Western Region Public Health Training Center – Future Leaders Program

WWAMI Area Health Education Center Scholars Program

3RNET Recruitment and Retention Assistance

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