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Category Archives: Funding

Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

November 9, 2017

What’s New

The Latest on Rural Health from the CDC.  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 differences in occupational exposure to vapor-gas, dust, and fumes between a cohort of rural and urban adults in Iowa.  While previous studies have focused exclusively on agricultural workers, this study assessed airborne occupational exposures in other types of jobs in rural settings as well.  COPD is one of the leading causes of death, and the American Thoracic Society estimates that 15% of COPD cases can be attributed to occupational exposures.  The findings of this report, which show that rural workers – including those who have never farmed – are more likely than urban workers to have high occupational exposures, allow for further exploration of interventions needed to reduce respiratory conditions related to work.

New Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program. Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 62% of rural counties do not have a Diabetes Self-Management Education program. For 2018, the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule is expanding the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP), an evidence-based lifestyle change curriculum shown to prevent type 2 diabetes among beneficiaries with prediabetes. Organizations in health care and community settings can implement the CDC-recognized Diabetes Prevention Program and, after enrolling as a MDPP supplier, may receive Medicare reimbursement for their services beginning April 1, 2018.  The National Institutes of Health explains the importance of screening for prediabetes and provides resources and referrals to support patients in this effort.

Help NIH Understand Rural Pregnancy. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) PregSource research project aims to improve national maternity care by getting first-hand accounts of the physical and emotional aspects of pregnancy, labor, delivery, and early parenthood. NIH plans to identify specific challenges facing subgroups of women, such as women with disabilities or those living in rural areas. Women have no hospital obstetric services in as many as 45% of rural counties, and recent research shows the losses continue. More information may help researchers and policymakers better address this access problem. Rural health care providers may also consider implementing model programs to improve their prenatal and obstetric care. Providers and researchers may also be interested in the HRSA Maternal and Child Health Bureau challenge competition offering $375,000 in prizes to innovators who develop low-cost technologies to improve prenatal care in remote and medically underserved areas.

NIH Health Disparities Research Centers. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced five-year funding for 12 centers of excellence focused on research, training, and community engagement to reduce health disparities. Each of these specialized centers will emphasize at least one of several populations facing social disadvantages, including marginalized racial and ethnic groups, people from less privileged socioeconomic situations, and residents of underserved rural communities. The two centers focusing on rural populations are the Arkansas Center for Health Disparities at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, focused on chronic disease risk factors, and the new Transdisciplinary Research, Equity, and Engagement Center for Advancing Behavioral Health at the University of New Mexico, focused on behavioral health.

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Application Deadline Extended for Students to Service Program!

October 19, 2017

Students to Service Application Deadline Extended

It’s not too late!

Complete and submit your application before the extended deadline of October 26, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. ET

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Students to Service Loan Repayment Program (S2S LRP) provides up to $120,000 to medical (MD and DO) or dental (DDS or DMD) students in their final year of school. In return, you will provide primary health care full time for at least 3 years at an approved NHSC site in a Health Professional Shortage Area of greatest need.

Technical Assistance

Recorded Webinar
NHSC S2S Program Application Webinar Recording

If you have questions or would like additional assistance, please contact the Customer Care Center at 1-800-221-9393, Monday – Friday between 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET (except federal holidays).
National Health Service Corps Students to Service Loan Repayment Program

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.

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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Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

September 27, 2017

What’s New

Roadmap to Behavioral Health.  A consumer guide that connects individuals to resources for disaster distress, suicide prevention, veterans crisis and recovery from substance use disorder was created by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  The guide provides simple explanations of feelings and behaviors that may need attention, a check list for getting help and treatment, and tips for managing long-term behavioral health care.  According to SAMSHA data from 2015, more than 18% of residents in non-metropolitan counties had some sort of mental illness in the previous year, which amounts to more than 6 million people.

CMS Reveals New Medicare Cards. CMS redesigned Medicare cards to include a unique, randomly assigned number in place of one’s Social Security number. Medicare beneficiaries can expect to receive their new card in the mail beginning in April 2018 and all cards must be replaced by April 2019. CMS will provide 21 months for health care providers and Medicare beneficiaries to transition to the new cards during which they can use either their current SSN-based Medicare number or their new Medicare number. Congress required new Medicare cards to prevent fraud and combat identity theft in the elder population. Rural hospitals can help by protecting facilities against malicious software attacks.

Effective Post-ER Suicide Prevention. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. and varies by geography. Rural communities have higher rates of suicide than urban areas and the disparity has widened over time. Recent research supported by the National Institute of Mental Health showed that sending caring postcards or letters each month to at-risk patients following an emergency visit reduced suicide attempts and deaths and slightly reduced health care costs. Universal screening of ER patients for suicide risk could substantially increase the public health benefits of the post-ER postcard intervention and other prevention efforts. Additional resources on suicide prevention can help rural hospitals and other providers improve mental health care in their communities.

Funding Opportunities

For CAHs: Pediatric Readiness Quality Improvement – October 13.  The Emergency Medical Services for Children Program at HRSA requests applications from Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) to participate in this initiative.  Participating hospitals will receive mentoring from the Pediatric Readiness Quality Collaborative (PRQC); physicians can earn Maintenance of Certification Part IV credit and nurses can receive Continuing Nursing Education credit. The PRQC will focus on pediatric patient safety, patient assessments, inter-facility transfer guidelines, and disaster preparedness. Using a train-the-trainer model, teams will be supported through targeted quality improvement education, the provision of tools and resources to support local efforts, and sharing of best practices.  The deadline to submit a letter of interest has been extended to October 13, 2017. More information about the Pediatric Readiness Quality Improvement Collaborative is at https://emscimprovement.center/collaboratives/PRQuality-collaborative/  Additional questions can be directed to qeca@texaschildrens.org.

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Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

September 20, 2017

What’s New

Combating the Opioid Epidemic.  Last week, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded more than $200 million to health centers and rural health organizations in every state to increase access to substance abuse and mental health services.  More than $3 million of these funds will support programs in the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy:  the Rural Health Opioid Program supports collaboration at the community level to find individuals with opioid use disorder and direct them into treatment; and the Substance Abuse Treatment Telehealth Network Grant Program allows treatment providers to cover a wider geographic region. Use the Find Grants Tool (“Grants-Awarded” under Data by Topic) at the HRSA Data Warehouse to learn more about the rural organizations awarded by FORHP.

The Geography of HIV.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a map showing that, while the majority of HIV diagnoses in the U.S. are in urban areas, there are parts of the country where the rates are surprisingly high for suburban and rural areas.  These include the South, where 23% of new HIV diagnoses are suburban/rural, and the Midwest where the number is 20%.  CDC provides fast facts with the map, indicating that geography is only one factor creating challenges for prevention, treatment and care.

Funding Opportunities

Small Rural Hospital Transition Project – October 16.  Nine rural hospitals will be selected to receive on-site technical assistance for the transition to value-based care and Alternative Payment Models.  Applicants may select either a financial operational assessment or quality improvement project.  Preview questions in advance of the application period opening September 25th and get helpful hints for submitting a successful application.

Federal Investment in Rural Transportation – October 16. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will provide $500 million in federal funding for transportation infrastructure projects that spur local economies.  The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program reserves no less than $100 million for rural and tribal communities, with special consideration to projects improving access to reliable, safe, and affordable rural transportation. DOT funded nine rural TIGER projects in 2016, including a safer, less congested main street in Live Oak, CA and improved access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Walland, TN. Consider contributing to TIGER projects by helping eligible applicants describe how better transportation choices and access to care can improve health and quality of life. To learn more about how to submit a successful application, including a special session for rural and tribal applicants, register for the 2017 TIGER webinar series.

Loan Repayment for Health Disparities Research – November 15.  The National Institutes of Health will pay up to $35,000 toward health profession education loans in exchange for a two-year commitment to research health disparities populations, including rural, Native American/Alaska Natives and those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged.

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Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

August 31, 2017

What’s New

AHRQ Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report.  The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) issued its annual report, mandated by Congress, providing a comprehensive overview of the quality of health care received in the U.S. and disparities experienced by different racial and socioeconomic groups.  In addition to trends and changes in disparities over time, the report looks at initiatives across the country demonstrating quality improvement for vulnerable populations.  For example, Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a telehealth-based program jointly funded by federal and state government agencies and private partners that provides medical education and access to specialty treatment in rural and underserved areas.

Funding Opportunities

HRSA Forecasts $2 Billion for FY2018.  The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the HHS agency that houses FORHP, has forecasted around 40 funding opportunities for Fiscal Year 2018.  This includes approximately 765 expected awards and nearly $2 billion in potential funding to cities, states, and local community-based organizations.  HRSA is the primary agency for improving health care to people who are geographically isolated and medically vulnerable, with bureaus that focus on primary care through health centers, the health workforce, HIV/AIDS, organ donation and transplantation, maternal and child health, and rural health.  To help evaluate grant applications submitted by rural organizations, our office is always looking for qualified reviewers with expertise in social, cultural and health care issues of rural populations. Grant application review is a process that most often takes three days or less over internet and phone and non-federal grant reviewers receive an honorarium.

Students to Service (S2S) Loan Repayment Program – October 19.  The National Health Service Corp (NHSC) is now accepting applications for their 2018 Students to Service Loan Repayment Program. The S2S awards up to $120,000 to medical and dental students in their final year of school in return for a commitment to provide primary care services full-time for at least 3 years at an approved NHSC site in an underserved rural, tribal or urban area. One in every four NHSC clinicians serves in a rural community.  For more information, review the 2018 Application and Program Guidance and attend an informational webinar for applicants on Thursday, September 7 at 7:00 pm ET.

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