Category Archives: Funding
October 4, 2017
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.
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.
September 27, 2017
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 20, 2017
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.
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.
August 31, 2017
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.
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.
June 22, 2017
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.
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: email@example.com or 301-443-0144.