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Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

May 31, 2018

What’s New

Awards for Rural Health Care Services Outreach.  FORHP’s parent agency, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently awarded $11,961,114 to 60 rural communities for the 2018 Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program (Outreach Program).  This three-year, community-driven program requires collaboration between three or more local providers of health and/or social services to bridge together key elements of rural health care delivery.  The incoming cohort of Outreach Program awardees have proposed projects that will strengthen the health infrastructure using evidence-based strategies that have proven effective in other rural communities.  These projects will coordinate care and outreach to address health issues specific to the local population and must demonstrate improved outcomes and sustainability.  New to this program that started in 1991, is the Health Improvement Special Project (HISP), a collaboration between HRSA, the National Center for Health Statistics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that will use data to assess and track cardiovascular disease risk for a subset of individuals. Twelve of the new awardees will participate in this track.  To learn more about the objectives and approach of the Rural Health Care Services Outreach program, read about the projects that were funded in the 2015-2018 cohort.

New Requirements for Federal Grantees and ApplicantsIn March of this year, the U.S. General Services Administration announced actions to address fraudulent activity in its System for Award Management (SAM), which manages federally-funded grants.  At that time, GSA asked that all new organizations registering at SAM.gov submit an original notarized letter confirming identification of a grant recipient.  This requirement now applies to both new and existing entities registered with SAM.gov.  (Look for the small, red type toward the top of SAM’s home page.)

The Latest on Food InsecurityThe nonprofit Feeding America has issued its annual report on food insecurity, defined as the inability to reliably access a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.  Researchers looked at county-level data for a “better understanding of variations in local need to help communities develop more targeted strategies to reach people struggling with hunger.”  The findings report that 79 percent of counties with the highest rates of food insecurity are rural.

Funding Opportunities

DOJ Funding: Services for Victims of Human Trafficking – June 25.  The U.S. Department of Justice will make 18 awards of up to $925,000 each to enhance the quality and quantity of services available to assist victims of human trafficking.  Eligible applicants are state and local governments, including federally-recognized tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations with a demonstrated history of providing comprehensive services.  The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 covers force, fraud or coercion of children and adults into labor and sexual commerce.  According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, rural areas have several economic risk factors for human trafficking, including persistent rates of poverty, decreasing workforce participation rates and high demand for low-skilled manual labor.

Grants to Expand Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics – July 9. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will grant awards of up to $2 million each to 25 certified community behavioral health clinics (CCBHCs) or community-based behavioral health clinics that may not yet be certified but meet the certification criteria and can be certified within four months of award.  CCBHCs provide person- and family-centered services and are available in the 24 states that participated in the FY 2016 Planning Grants for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics. Participants in the CCBHC Expansion grant program must provide access to services for individuals with serious mental illness or substance use disorders, children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbance, and individuals with co-occurring disorders.  It’s estimated that 18.7 percent of residents of rural counties had some sort of mental illness in 2016, which amounts to over 6.5 million people, a challenge exacerbated by limited access to care.

Research to Promote Health and Well-Being For Children – July 18.  With the Healthy Eating Research Program, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supports investigation of policy, systems, and environmental strategies to promote optimal nutrition and healthy weight for children.  RWJF asks for scientifically rigorous, solution-oriented proposals from investigators representing diverse disciplines and backgrounds and places priority on lower-income and racial and ethnic minority populations.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, over 1 in 4 rural children are living in poverty, a factor that contributes to poor health and nutrition.

Policy Updates

No policy updates this week.  Visit the FORHP Policy page to see all recent updates and send questions to ruralpolicy@hrsa.gov

Resources, Learning Events and Technical Assistance

The History and Future of Rural Health Research – Monday, June 4 at 1:00 pm ET.  The Rural Health Research Center Program, funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) under the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), has played a critical role in providing the analysis and research that has helped inform the development of federal and state health policy.  Join FORHP staff and researchers from the oldest and newest Rural Health Research Centers in this hour-long webinar about the history and future of rural health research.

Northeast Telehealth Resource Center Regional Conference – June 5-6.  The HRSA-funded Northeast Telehealth Resource Center is hosting a two-day conference in Portland, Maine features regional and national telehealth leaders and seventeen breakout sessions on topics including strategies for planning and sustaining telehealth programs, telehealth for FQHCs, models for serving vulnerable populations through telehealth, a hands-on technology lab with the National Telehealth Technology Assessment Resource Center, and more.

National Rural Institute on Alcohol and Drug Abuse – June 10-14.  Registration is still open for this annual conference in Menomonie, Wisconsin.  The four-day agenda includes keynote presentations and meeting sessions on substance abuse treatment from a rural perspective.

Grants Assistance for Tribes: Perspectives of a Grantee and a Reviewer – Wednesday, June 13 at 1:00 pm ET.  This 90-minute webinar is the third in a series to help tribes and tribal organizations learn about the federal grant application process and will feature perspectives from a successful grantee and from a grant reviewer.  HRSA’s holds this series on the second Wednesday of every month to help participants learn: how to write better grant proposal, developing an evaluation plan for projects, strategies for successful grant management, and more.  The series also offers a chance to connect with HRSA subject matter experts, grant reviewers and successful grant applicants to learn best practices.

Planning for Funding – HIV Prevention and Care – Wednesday, June 13 at 3:00 pm ET.  The Technical Assistance Resources, Guidance, Education & Training  (TARGET) Center is an online resource supporting HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.  This hour-long webinar, hosted by the TARGET Center, will help with planning for community-level HIV prevention and care.  Representatives from the Washington State Department of Health will join to describe experiences, challenges, and lessons learned integrating the funding of prevention and care services within the state.  The CDC reports that the majority of HIV diagnoses are in urban areas, but suburban and rural areas in certain parts of the country have seen an increase in new cases.

HRSA Virtual Job Fair for Primary Care Clinicians – Wednesday, June 27 at 6:45 pm ET.  HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce seeks clinicians and employers for participation in this 3.5 hour event.  Virtual Job Fairs are free, interactive events held online to allow primary care providers a chance to talk about their NHSC- or NURSE Corps-approved site, the community they serve and currently available positions.  Job-seeking primary care trainees and practicing clinicians can connect with as many 100 organizations during this event.  Clinicians may register until the day of the event, but the registration deadline for employers is Wednesday, June 6.

Approaching Deadlines

Funding for Patient-Involved Research – June 1
Wellness and Resilience for AI/AN Children – June 4
Grants for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Programs – June 4
DOJ Funding for Drug Courts – June 5
NHSC and NURSE Corp Site Registration for HRSA Virtual Job Fair – June 6
DOJ Funding for Opioid Crisis – June 7
Request for Proposals:  Outreach for COPD – June 8
CDC Funding for Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke – June 11
NURSE Corps Scholarship Program – June 14
Director Training for Rural Residency Programs – June 15
Resources for Tribal Self Governance Planning – June 17
Resources for Tribal Self Governance Negotiation – June 17
Family-to-Family Health Information (DE, HI, ME, MT, NV) – June 18
State Initiative for Child Abuse and Neglect – June 18
Call for Abstracts:  SEARCH Telehealth Research Symposium – June 20
Tribal Behavioral Health Grant Program – June 22
DOJ Funding: Services for Victims of Human Trafficking – June 25
Evidence-Based Tele-Behavioral Health Network Program – June 25
Comments Requested: Interoperability/Data Sharing in Hospitals and CAHs
– June 25
CDC Health Promotion Research Centers – June 25
Comments Requested: CMS Updates Payment and Policy for Hospitals – June 25
Comments Requested: Policy Updates to Medicare Hospice – June 26
Comments Requested: Policy Updates to Psychiatric Facilities – June 26
Comments Requested: Policy Updates for Rehabilitation Facilities – June 26
Comments Requested: Policy Updates for Skilled Nursing Facilities – June 26
Faculty Loan Repayment – June 28
Preventing Rural Teen Pregnancy – June 29
CMS Annual Call for Medicare EHR Incentive Program Measures  – June 29
Rural Health Care Telecommunications Program – June 29
Comments Requested: HRSA Burden Reduction – July 2
Grants to Expand Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics – July 9
Comments Requested: Policy for Durable Medical Equipment in Rural Areas – July 9
CDC – Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) – July 16
Coordinating Research for Rural Opioid HIV Initiative Letters of Intent – July 16
Research to Promote Health and Well-Being For Children – July 18
Family-to-Family Health Information Centers (Tribes and U.S. Territories) – July 19
Invest in Rural Transportation – July 19
CDC Funding to Address Obesity in High Risk Rural Areas – August 8
Guaranteed Loans for Rural Rental Housing – Ongoing through 2021
Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans – Ongoing
Funding for Rural Water and Waste Disposal Projects –  Ongoing
Drinking Water and Waste Disposal for Rural and Native Alaskan Villages – Ongoing
HIT Strategies for Patient-Reported Outcome Measures – Ongoing
HIT to Improve Health Care Quality and Outcomes – Ongoing
Community Facilities Program –  Ongoing
Summer Food Service Program – Ongoing