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Rural Health Information Center

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

June 22, 2017

What’s New

Continuing Population Loss for Rural Areas.  USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) tracks demographic change in non-metro areas and conducts research to help explain the relationship between population change and socio-economic well-being of rural residents. In its Population & Migration report released last week, the ERS finds that 14% of residents live in non-metro counties across the U.S., which cover 72 percent of the nation’s land area. This is only a -0.4 percentage loss over last year, but population loss is not evenly distributed across all rural areas. For those regions experiencing the most out-migration, ERS identifies rising unemployment, housing market challenges and energy sector developments as factors in a continuing decline in rural populations.

HHS Cybersecurity Keeps an Eye on Threats.  Last week, Microsoft and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported on vulnerabilities with Microsoft products similar to those that allowed the “WannaCry” virus to shut down large computer networks in May. DHS has identified a new threat, labeled “Hidden Cobra” that could possibly target health care and public health systems in the U.S.  Rural facilities may not be targeted as much as larger systems, but they may be less likely to have the resources to respond if they are hit, so it is especially important to remain vigilant and avoid these threats altogether.   HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) monitors cyber threats and maintains an up-to-date website with resources that may help.

Read more

Proposed Quality Payment Program Updates to Increase Flexibility & Reduce Burden

June 22, 2017

View the news and announcements.

Rural Health Information Hub

June 22, 2017

View the Rural Health Information Hub updates.

Rural Health Research & Policy Centers

June 22, 2017

View the Research Alert.

Top 20 CAH

June 20, 2017

Performance Excellence Awards for Critical Access Hospitals (Missouri Hospital awarded)

Recently, the National Rural Health Association announced its slate of 2017 Top 20 Critical Access Hospitals, selecting overall “Top 20 Winners” and “Top 20 Best Practice Recipients” in the areas of Quality and Patient Satisfaction.

Please join us in Congratulating:  Lafayette Regional Health Center in Lexington, MO for being honored as one of the recipients of the “2017 Top 20 Best Practice Recipient for Excellence in Quality” Award

The awards breakfast honoring all Top 20 CAH personnel will be held within NRHA’s Critical Access Hospital Conference, Sept. 27-29 in Kansas City. The breakfast will occur on Friday, Sept. 29 at 8:30 a.m.

The press release and all related materials, including a criteria sheet, may be found here.

CMS Region 7 Update

June 16, 2017

View the update.

New Funding Opportunity: Rural Health Opioid Program

June 16, 2017

The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy is pleased to announce a new pilot grant program: the Rural Health Opioid Program (HRSA-17-022).

This program will bring together health care providers, such as local health departments, hospitals, primary care practices, and substance abuse treatment centers, as well as social service and faith-based organizations, law enforcement, and other community-based groups to respond with a multifaceted approach to the opioid epidemic in a rural community.  Approximately $3 million will be awarded annually for up to 12 grantees during the 2017 – 2020 cohort.  Applications are due July 21, 2017.

The goal of the Rural Health Opioid Program is to reduce the morbidity and mortality related to opioid overdoses in rural communities.  Consortiums will work towards identifying individuals at-risk of overdose and guide them towards recovery by providing outreach and education on locally available treatment options and support services.  Consortiums are further encouraged to implement care coordination practices to organize patient care activities and support individuals in recovery by establishing new or enhancing existing behavioral counselling and peer support activities.  It is expected that consortiums will also educate the greater community about local opioid issues and what role community members can play in response to the crisis, in an attempt to gather support and reduce stigma throughout the community.

For additional information on the Rural Health Opioid Program please join us for a technical assistance webinar on July 13th at 2:00 pm EDT.  Additional information about this webinar can be found in the Notice of Funding Opportunity at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=284888.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Michael Blodgett:  mblodgett@hrsa.gov or 301-443-0144.