|HHS Announces $1 Billion to Certain Rural Providers and Other Providers from Small Metropolitan Areas. On July 10, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced an additional $1 billion in Provider Relief Funds to certain special rural Medicare designation hospitals in urban areas as well as others who provide care in smaller non-rural communities. HHS estimates the funding will provide relief of over $1 billion to 500 of these hospitals with payments ranging from $100,000 to $4,500,000 for rural-designated providers and $100,000 to $2,000,000 for the other providers. This is in addition to the $10 billion in funding to almost 4,000 rural health care providers including hospitals, health clinics, and health centers, announced by HHS in May.
Telehealth Information for Patients Now Available in Spanish. The recently-created website for telehealth launched by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services in April now provides information in Spanish to help patients understand what types of care are available, how to prepare for a telehealth visit, and tips on finding telehealth options. Information in Spanish that’s geared toward providers will be available in the future.
USPSTF Requesting Comment on Plan for COPD – July 29. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has posted a draft research plan on screening for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Request for Information: Seeking Stakeholder Input on Scientific Gaps and Research Needs Related to Delivery of Cancer-related Care via Telehealth – July 30. The National Cancer Institute is seeking information on scientific gaps and research needs related to the delivery of cancer-related care via telehealth. This request for information is part of a planning effort designed to identify promising opportunities and set priorities for research in this area.
CDC Requesting Information on ACEs and Opioid Misuse in Tribal Communities – August 31. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seeks public comment on an information collection project related to research to identify community-level protective factors and primary prevention strategies.
AJPH Examines the Rural-Urban Gap in Health and Social Services. In a special issue released this week, the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) features a collection of 15 new studies demonstrating the connection between health and social services. The publication makes the case that these cross-sector connections have been slower to develop in rural communities than in urban.
Federal Office of Rural Health Policy FAQs for COVID-19. A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from our grantees and stakeholders, updated regularly.
COVID-19 FAQs and Funding for HRSA Programs. Find all funding and frequently asked questions for programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
CDC COVID-19 Updates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides daily updates and guidance, and ongoing Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA). New this week: guidance for transferring patients from overwhelmed local health care facilities.
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.
Funding and Opportunities
NIHB COVID-19 Tribal Telehealth Mini-Grant – July 21. The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) will make 18 awards of up to $10,000 each to build capacity for the delivery of telehealth services and fulfill immediate Tribal telehealth needs. Eligible applicants are tribal governments, tribal organizations, and inter-tribal consortia.
CDC Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System – Extended to August 11. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will make 57 awards of up to $175,000 each to support collection of population-based data on maternal and child health indicators that can be used to inform programs, research, and systems changes that influence maternal and infant health. Eligible applicants include state, local, and tribal governments, community-based organizations, and institutions of higher education.
USDA Delta Health Care Services Grant Program – August 24. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will make ten awards of up to $1 million each to address unmet health needs. Applicants must be a consortium formed by institutions of higher education, academic health and research institutions and/or economic development entities located in the Delta region. One member of the consortium must be designated as the lead entity by the other members of the consortium and have legal authority to contract with the federal government.
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.
The Unique Impact of COVID-19 on Older Adults in Rural Areas. The University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center identifies pre-existing rural/urban inequities related to health care capacity, economic security, access to technology, and social needs that amount to heightened risk of illness and isolation for many older adults in rural areas.
Development of a National Childhood Obesogenic Environment Index in the United States: Differences by Region and Rurality. Researchers at the Rural and Minority Health Research Center identified community-level variables associated with healthy eating and physical activity for youth and ranked all counties to develop a childhood obesogenic environment index (COEI). The COEI can be applied to benchmark obesogenic environments and identify geographic disparities and intervention targets. Future research can examine associations with obesity and other health outcomes.
Post-Acute Skilled Nursing Care Availability in Rural United States. This study from the Southwest Rural Health Research Center finds that portions of rural America are possibly skilled nursing deserts, thus lacking the physical presence of facilities to provide post-acute skilled nursing care.
Comments Requested: Rural-Relevant Quality Measures – July 30. The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy has been partnering with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the National Quality Forum on the Measures Application Partnership (MAP) Rural Health Workgroup. The group has built upon previous work and the current report provides recommendations for rural-relevant quality measures for testing of statistical approaches to address low case-volume. The MAP Rural Health Draft Report for Comment is posted for public comment. All public commenters should use this link to submit comments through July 30, 6 PM ET.
Updates to Regulations on Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records. This week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued a final rule that makes changes to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) regulations governing the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records. The final rule includes a discussion of comments, some of which address rural issues.
Learning Events and Technical Assistance
“Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America” Stakeholder Webinar – Thursday, July 16 at 2:00 pm ET. The HHS Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy will host a stakeholder webinar on efforts to implement the Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE) initiative. Announced in 2019, the EHE initiative currently focuses on 48 counties where more than 50 percent of new HIV diagnoses have occurred, and seven states that have a substantial rural burden.
CMS: Infection Prevention for COVID-19 in a Nursing Home – Thursday, July 16 at 4:00 pm ET. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) hold this hour-long webinar open to nursing home leaders, clinical and administrative staff members and others interested in nursing home infection prevention in the era of COVID-19.
CMS COVID-19 Lessons from the Front Lines – Friday, July 17 at 12:30 pm ET. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) holds this 90-minute call twice a month. Find a schedule for all stakeholder calls, including those for home health and hospice facilities, nursing homes, and others – online at the CMS Coronavirus Partner Toolkit.
RWJF: Exploring Data in the US COVID Atlas – Tuesday, July 21 at 3:00 pm ET. As part of its County Health Rankings & Roadmaps’ special topic series, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) will explore features of the US COVID Atlas, a tool with county-level data and indicators related to COVID-19.
Podcast Series for Mid-Level Hospital Managers – Tuesdays through July 28. Produced by The National Rural Health Resource Center, this six-part podcast series was developed by the Small Rural Hospital Transition Project for rural hospital mid-level management (MLMs). Guests feature MLMs from rural hospitals and subject-matter experts. Tune in to learn best practices for leading through the transition to value and population health. New episodes are released every Tuesday through the end of July.
Rural Social Isolation: Promoting Well-Being During Crisis – Wednesday, July 22 at 10:00 am ET. The Mental Health Technology Transfer Center will hold a 90-minute webinar to discuss programs designed to make connections between and among individuals and organizations to promote well-being in the aging population.
USAC: Best Practices for Requests for Rural Broadband – Wednesday, July 22 at 2:00 pm ET. The Universal Service Rural Health Care Program funds telecommunications or broadband services for eligible entities, including rural public or nonprofit health care providers. The program is managed by the non-profit Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) for the Federal Communications Commission. Application to the program for FY2021 ended on April 30 (extended from original deadline of April 1). For those who have completed the application and are preparing to submit Request for Service forms, this one-hour webcast will review best practices.
VA: COVID-19 Training for Clinicians – Wednesday, July 22 at 2:00 pm ET. The first of two trainings offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will review strategies to improve provider wellbeing and resilience. The second COVID-19 training on Wednesday, July 29 will discuss potential acute complications of COVID-19 in adults, including central nervous system complications, acute kidney injury, acute liver injury, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and hematologic complications. Register for both events at the link above. The trainings are open to VA and non-VA clinicians. Continuing education credit is available for those who preregister in VHA TRAIN.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Transportation Services for Older Adults – Thursday, July 23 at 3:00 pm ET. The National Aging & Disability Transportation Center will discuss operation of volunteer driving programs during the pandemic in an hour-long webinar.
NAMI: Suicide Prevention for Agricultural Communities – Thursday, July 23 at 4:00 pm ET. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center are partnering to provide a 90-minute suicide prevention class tailored to farming communities.
Payment Deferrals: USDA Guaranteed Loans for Rural Development – Until September 30
Rural Health Equity Postdoctoral Program – July 20
CDC Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System – Extended to August 11
DRA Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy – August 18
IHS Tribal Management Grant Program – August 24
USDA Delta Health Care Services Grant Program – August 24
USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program – August 28
AHA Rural Hospital Leadership Team Award – August 31
Senior Corps Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) – September 1
NRHA Rural Health Fellows Program – September 3
NIH Research on Minority Health/Health Disparities – September 8
USDA Capacity Building for 1890 Land-Grant Institutions – September 10
AHRQ Innovation Challenge for Rural Postpartum Mental Health – September 15
BIA Native American Business Development Institute Grant – September 15
IHS Tribal Injury Prevention Program – October 1
HRSA Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children – October 6
FCC High Speed Broadband/Rural Opportunity Fund – October 22
NIH Digital Interventions to COVID-19 Secondary Effects – December 30
AHRQ Research to Improve Patient Transitions through HIT – December 2022
CMS Hardship Exception for Hospital Interoperability – September 1, 2020; November 30 for CAHs
NIH Pilot and Feasibility Studies for Drug/Alcohol Prevention Trials – January 7, 2021
NIH Research – Alcohol and Other Substance Use – Dates Through August 2022
USDA Guaranteed Loans for Rural Rental Housing – through 2021