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Category Archives: Current Affairs

Rural Health Information Hub

October 11, 2017

View the Rural Health Information Hub updates.

FY18 Outreach Program NOFO announcement

October 10, 2017

The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy is pleased to announce the release of the notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) HRSA-18-030 for the Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program (Outreach Program). The fundamental goal of the program is to support the expansion of health care service delivery to rural populations by encouraging consortia of health providers to innovatively address their community’s health concerns. Approximately $5 million will be awarded annually for up to 25 awardees during the 2018 – 2021 project period.  Applications are due December 6, 2017.

The Outreach Program’s all-encompassing nature allows communities to determine their most pressing health need and, accordingly, the best approach for addressing their identified barriers to health. During this competitive cycle, applicants will have the opportunity to apply for one of two tracks: (1) through the regular Outreach Program track in which the applicant will address any specified health need or focus area, or (2) through a newly created track within the Outreach Program called the Health Improvement Special Project (HISP) which focuses on cardiovascular disease risk. HISP applicants will be required to meet certain requisites as outlined in the NOFO and, if awarded, will utilize the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Heart Age Calculator in order to assess cardiovascular disease risk among their community members by tracking the same subset of individuals throughout the 3-year project period.

Historically, awardees have used funding to establish telehealth services, combat substance abuse, address shortages of mental health services, and prevent lapses in care through care coordination efforts. You can read more about the work of previous awardees on the Rural Health Innovation Hub  or by using the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Data Warehouse. You can also learn more about the pioneering work of our current awardees.

For additional information regarding the Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program, please join us for a technical assistance webinar on November 14, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. ET.  Additional information about this webinar can be found in the NOFO available through Grants.gov.

If you have any questions about the program or have opportunities for FORHP to present information regarding this funding opportunity, please contact Meriam Mikre: MMikre@hrsa.gov or 301-945-3110.

MoCAP Funding Opportunity: HRSA Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program

October 10, 2017

The Missouri Foundation for Health’s MoCAP program is an effort to provide technical assistance and consultation to organizations applying for grant funding—federal and nationally competed private funding.  The MoCAP FAQ page provides an overview of the program and its intent.

Your organization may be interested in these funding opportunities. Or please forward it to a potentially interested colleague.

Title: Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program
Funder: HRSA
Application Deadline: December 6, 2017
Award Amount: $200,000
Estimated Number of Awards: 25
Matching Requirement: N/A
Letter of Intent: N/A

Program Scope/Description: The program is designed to promote rural health care services through the enhancement and integration of healthcare delivery within rural communities.  Projects will focus on increasing access, developing adaptive strategies within a rapidly changing environment, and enrichment of community health.  Key areas of concern include: mental illness, childhood obesity, and substance abuse.

Eligibility: The applicant organization must be a rural nonprofit or rural public entity representing a consortium/network of three or more healthcare providers.  Additionally, the organization must be located in a non-metropolitan county or within a rural census tract of a metropolitan county.

Previously Funded Organizations: Northeast Missouri Health Council, Inc., Ozarks Medical Center, and Washington County Memorial Hospital

Link to Full Program Announcement: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=295218

After reviewing the links, consider:

  1. Is your organization ready to apply for federal funding? (The process is complicated.)
  2. Do you have an existing program or a developed concept for a new activity that would fit within the guidelines?

If your answer to both questions is yes, consider asking MFH for MoCAP assistance with this or other funding applications that would secure new funds for Missouri (federal or private). Send an email to mocap@mffh.org. Include all your contact information and ideally a draft concept paper or project outline in your correspondence.

Rural Health Research & Policy Centers

October 10, 2017

View the Research Alert.

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

October 5, 2017

Suicide Rates for Rural Counties Consistently Higher Than Urban Counties

In the latest edition of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Rural Health Series, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined suicide trends between 2001 – 2015.  Suicide is one of the top ten leading causes of death in the United States, and suicide occurs at a much higher rate in rural areas than urban.  While this is a documented rural-urban disparity, the new CDC report examines the annual changes in the rates of suicide by a number of additional variables including sex, race/ethnicity, age group, and mechanism of death.

A few key findings across all urbanization levels during the study time period include:

  • Suicide rates for males were four to five times higher than for females
  • Non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Natives had the highest suicide rates
  • Higher suicide rates were observed among persons aged 35-64 years
  • Firearms were the most often used mechanism of death, with rates in rural counties almost double those in large and medium/small metropolitan counties

“The trends in suicide rates by sex, race, ethnicity, age, and mechanism that we see in the general population are magnified in rural areas,” said James A. Mercy, Ph.D., director of CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention.  “This report underscores the need for suicide prevention strategies that are tailored specifically for these communities.”

CDC recently released a technical package of strategies representing the best available evidence to prevent or reduce public health problems like violence.  The package includes examples of programs that can be customized to fit the cultural needs of different communities.

Additional forthcoming work on disparities in suicide rates in rural areas includes:

  • The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services has identified suicide as an important rural disparity to address, and will be issuing a policy brief with recommendations to the Secretary of HHS later this year;
  • A HRSA commentary on suicide trends in rural America will be authored in the coming weeks;
  • CDC findings on suicide and other injury-related topics will be highlighted during National Rural Health Day activities the week of November 13th.

Rural Health Information Hub

October 4, 2017

View the Rural Health Information Hub updates.

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

October 4, 2017

What’s New

Comments Requested: Strategic Plan for HHS – October 27. Every four years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) updates its strategic plan, which describes the objectives and strategies the Department will employ to enhance the health and well-being of Americans. The draft strategic plan for 2018-2022 highlights five goals, two of which include objectives that specifically improve rural health: reducing provider shortages (objective 1.4) and leveraging telehealth to improving access to mental health and substance use disorder services (objective 2.3). HHS seeks comments on the plan. Interested commenters may consider topics addressed by the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services or other areas where HHS can explicitly target improvements in rural health and human services.

USDA Childhood Obesity Study. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) named reducing childhood obesity one of three clinical priorities, and several HHS agencies have taken the lead on funding, guidance and standards.  The Economic Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) studies economic and policy issues in rural America and finds that obese children tend to live in a disadvantaged household with limited or no access within a 15-mile radius to supermarkets that carry healthful foods (p. 12). This finding suggests improving access to nearby grocery stores may help reduce rates of rural childhood obesity. The HHS Administration for Children & Families Healthy Food Financing Initiative helps bring grocery stores to underserved rural and urban communities. Rural health care providers may also consider additional strategies and efforts to help increase access to healthful foods in their communities.

Assessment for Preventing Medical Errors – December 15.  The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) launched a medication safety self-assessment that may help rural providers in both inpatient and outpatient settings assess and compare their performance to health providers with similar populations as a way to reduce adverse drug events related to high-alert medications. This tool is funded via a contract with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and “focuses on best practices for eleven medication categories,” including insulin, opioids, and chemotherapy. Information submitted by providers to ISMP will be anonymous. Adverse drug events (ADEs) include medication errors and allergic reactions and overdoses, and can be a challenge to identify in small rural hospitals where there is limited pharmacist support.

Funding Opportunities

USDA Delta Health Care Services Program – October 10. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Delta Health Care Services (DHCS) Program provides financial assistance to address continuing unmet health needs in the Delta region. USDA extended the application deadline for 2018 funding from July 24 to October 10. Further, USDA clarified that all members of applicant consortia must have a physical address or headquarters located in one of the eight states served by the Delta Regional Authority. Applicants may revise and resubmit applications by the new deadline. ALERT: DHCS may be an opportunity to extend the impact of organizations in the FORHP Delta States Rural Development Network Grant Program, which supports rural communities in the eight Delta states implement preventive or clinical services for chronic diseases.

Improve Tribal Road Safety – December 11. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration requests grant applications for Tribal Transportation Safety Funds for projects to prevent and reduce serious injuries and deaths in transportation-related crashes on tribal lands. Eligible projects can develop transportation safety plans; assess, improve, or analyze crash reporting data; or complete infrastructure improvements. On average, two American Indians die every day in motor vehicle crashes, predominantly in large, rural states. Staff responsible for roadway safety can find tools to improve safety on rural and tribal roads and guidance for effective tribal crash reporting. Health care providers serving rural and tribal communities can help by implementing proven prevention strategies to help reduce transit injuries and deaths.

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