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Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

September 14, 2015


1. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is now accepting proposals for a new cohort of Benefits Enrollment Centers (BECs). BECs provide assistance to low-income seniors and persons with disabilities, helping them learn about and enroll in Medicare benefits programs for which they are eligible.  As of 2014, 18% of urban residents were enrolled in Medicare compared to 23% in rural areas where, on average, residents are older than their urban counterparts.   Rural beneficiaries are also more likely to live below the federal poverty line and be dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare than urban beneficiaries (18% of rural beneficiaries are dual eligible versus 16% of urban beneficiaries).  NCOA will award eight grants totaling $100,000 for 16 months to qualified state and community-based organizations.  Proposals are due Friday, November 13 at 5 pm ET.

2. Applications are being accepted until October 22nd for the 2016 National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Students to Service Loan Repayment Program, which provides fourth-year medical students up to $120,000 in tax-free loan repayment in return for three years of full-time service in underserved areas. On Thursday, September 17th from 7-8 pm ET, the NHSC will hold a technical assistance webinar to answer questions about the application process, program eligibility and service commitment.  Join the webinar at; dial-in number: 1-888-566-6151, passcode 4221465.


3. The AgriSafe Network invites you to a “train the trainer” webinar to learn about “Stand T.A.L.L.”, a set of instructional materials that teaches younger workers about hazards on the job in agricultural settings and how to ask questions if they don’t understand a task or are uncomfortable performing it.  The webinar will explore various components of the curriculum, including PowerPoint presentations, activities, lesson plans and more.  Register online for this free event taking place Monday, September 14th at 4:30 pm ET.

4. The Office of Regional Operations at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will hold a “Virtual Rural Health Symposium” on Wednesday, September 16th at 11:00 am ET.   In a series of short (10-20 minutes) presentations, federal and state public health officials will discuss key issues in health care – such as health literacy, the future of telehealth, and delivery system reform – and how they can be adapted to improve health outcomes in rural communities. A representative from HRSA’s Office of Federal Assistance Management will discuss the application process for HRSA grants.  Guest speakers will focus their presentations on HRSA’s Region VI (AR, LA, NM, OK, TX) but all are welcome to attend.  To get the full agenda, contact Joseph Walker at or 214-767-3888.

5. On Thursday, September 24th, the Delta Regional Authority will join with HRSA to host a free Federal Health Funding Opportunities Workshop in Memphis, TN.  Prospective applicants for HRSA grants in the Delta region will get detailed information on upcoming funding opportunities, how to apply, and strategies for writing a responsive application.   Attendance is free and includes breakfast and lunch.  Register online for limited seating.  For more information, contact Aprill Springfield Blanco at 202-309-6038 or Mirielle Burgoyne at


6. The Rural Assistance Center has just published a new guide, Scholarships, Loans, and Loan Repayment for Rural Health Professions that provides an overview of scholarship, loan, and loan repayment programs available for healthcare students who intend to practice in rural areas. It also provides information and successful models for the development of scholarship, loan repayment, and loan forgiveness programs designed to attract health professionals to rural areas.

7. Don’t miss the latest issue of MLN Connects, a weekly newsletter with news and updates on CMS rollouts that may impact rural providers. Previous issues and a link to subscribe to MLN Connects are available in the archive.

The Announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy are distributed weekly. To be added to the distribution list, please e-mail Michelle Daniels at

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