Category Archives: Current Affairs
June 21, 2018
FCC Approves Expansion of Rural Broadband Funding. On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to approve a 40 percent increase in annual funding for the Rural Health Care Program (RHCP), raising its cap to $571 million per year. The RHCP provides subsidies that allow rural health care providers to get telecommunications services at rates comparable to urban areas, where the cost is typically lower. In the previous two years, requests for funding superseded the $400 million annual cap.
CDC: Obesity Prevalence In Rural Areas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data showing a significantly higher prevalence of obesity (34 percent) among adults in rural counties compared to those in urban counties (29 percent). The CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity looked at self-reported data from 2016 in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and found that “in 24 of 47 states, obesity prevalence was significantly higher among persons in nonmetropolitan counties than among those in metropolitan counties; only in Wyoming was obesity prevalence higher among metropolitan county residents.”
EPA Provides Support to Rural Communities. On June 14, the Environmental Protection Agency announced technical assistance for six rural communities through Healthy Places for Healthy People, a federal initiative that engages local leadership “to create walkable, healthy, economically vibrant downtowns and neighborhoods.” Experts will meet with partners in each community – located in Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina and Washington state – to identify local assets that can be used to support health and economic revitalization.
CMS Opioids Roadmap. Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a roadmap outlining the agency’s efforts to address the opioid epidemic. Lack of resources, health care infrastructure and workforce has meant a greater impact on rural communities, and CMS provides a look at how they’re monitoring the situation and using data to better understand patterns and best practices for prevention and treatment.
June 20, 2018
The 2018 NHSC New Site Application is now open and will close on August 14, 2018 at 11:59 PM ET. Eligible sites include health care facilities that generally provide outpatient, ambulatory, and primary health care services (medical, dental, and behavioral) to populations residing in high-need urban and rural areas.
New This Year!
NHSC recently received $105 million for future NHSC Loan Repayment Program awards that expand and improve access to quality opioid and substance use disorder treatment in rural and underserved areas. Outpatient substance use disorder (SUD) treatment facilities are also now eligible to apply if you provide any of these services:
- General Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Treatment
- Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
- Opioid Treatment Program (OTP)
June 19, 2018
Strategies for Writing a Successful Rural Communities Opioid Response Planning (RCORP) Program Application
The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) invites you to join us for the webinar, Strategies for Writing a Successful Rural Communities Opioid Response Planning (RCORP) Program Application, on Friday June 29th at 2:00pm ET.
The objectives for this webinar are that, at the conclusion of the webinar, participants will be able to:
- Summarize the RCORP funding opportunity.
- Describe the steps and strategies to write a successful application.
- Identify resources available for supporting opioid-targeted funding opportunities.
This information will build upon NOSORH’s previous webinar, Rural Opioid Resources: Preparing Your Organization for Future Funding Opportunities. You can find the recording and slides available on the NOSORH website.
NOSORH encourages all of our partners to share this information with potential applicants and other stakeholders. A recording will be made available within 24 hours following the webinar on the NOSORH website.
For more information please contact Chris Salyers, Education and Services Director at NOSORH.
June 15, 2018
Additional Information about the Rural Communities Opioid Response Planning Program Deadline: July 30, 2018
What the Funding Will Do
The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, located in the Health Resources and Services Administration, released today a Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Rural Community Opioid Response Planning Grant Program, to fund approximately 75 high-risk rural communities at up to $200,000 per award. These funds will support a range of activities to help rural communities develop plans and strategies to address the rural opioid epidemic in their communities. Successful awardees will partner with at least three other separately-owned entities and develop plans to implement substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery interventions. This program is part of a multi-year, $130.0 million opioid-focused effort by HRSA. In FY 2019 and beyond, there will be additional funds available to provide continued support, including additional grants and National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program awards.
Eligible applicants include domestic public or private entities, nonprofit and for-profit, including faith-based and community-based organizations, tribes, and tribal organizations. All services must be provided in HRSA-designated rural areas. See Section III – Eligibility Information in the Notice of Funding Opportunity for more details on eligibility and consortium specifications.
How to Apply
It’s important to know that you cannot apply for a HRSA grant until three registrations are completed:
More information about the registration process can be found on the Grants section of HRSA’s website.
FORHP will hold an hour-long webinar for applicants on Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 1:00 pm ET. A recording will be made available for those who cannot attend.
**NEW INFORMATION: Please reference page ii in the Notice of Funding Opportunity for the dial-in and playback information for the webinar.
Federal Resources for the Opioid Crisis That May Help
For questions regarding this funding opportunity, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 14, 2018
Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America. The Economic Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture has updated its atlas of rural areas with the most recent data available from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics on a number of socio-economic factors for the people who live in small towns. The interactive map provides a pop-up window for each county with information on demographics, rural-urban classification, income, employment trends and status of veterans. The 2018 County Health Rankings makes a direct correlation between these socio-economic indicators and health outcomes.
Rural Health Research
Geographic Variation in Uncompensated Care Between Rural and Urban Hospitals. This brief just posted on the Rural Health Research Gateway reports on substantial differences in uncompensated care as a percent of operating expense between rural and urban hospitals and among regions of the country. Researchers at the North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center examined 2014-2016 Medicare Cost Reports and found that median uncompensated care costs declined across hospitals and Census regions. However, the costs increased for hospitals with less than $20 million in net patient revenue. In 2016, the hospitals with the highest median uncompensated care as a percentage of operating expense were Critical Access Hospitals, other rural hospitals, and urban hospitals in the South.
Subscribe to research alerts from the Rural Health Research Gateway to be notified when new reports are available.
Policy Updates for Rural Health
Comments Requested: Rural Health Workgroup for Quality Measurement – July 2. The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy has been partnering with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the National Quality Forum (NQF) on the Measures Application Partnership (MAP) Rural Health Workgroup. The group was formed by CMS in 2017 to include the perspectives of rural providers and patients as those most knowledgeable about the challenges in rural areas to measuring performance in health care delivery. The workgroup has developed recommendations and identified a core set of the best available (i.e., “rural relevant”) measures and identified rural-relevant gaps in measurement in the MAP Rural Health Draft Report 2 (pdf). Those wishing to comment on these recommendations can create an NQF account and submit online.
Comments Requested: Increasing Investment in the Healthcare Sector – July 7. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS or the Department) seeks comment from the public on an effort to increase private sector innovation and investment in health care. Specifically, the Department seeks input on the structure of a workgroup formed to increase dialogue and engagement between HHS and “those focused on innovating and investing in the healthcare industry, such as healthcare innovation-focused companies, healthcare startup incubators and accelerators, healthcare investment professionals, healthcare-focused private equity firms, healthcare-focused venture capital firms, and lenders to healthcare investors and innovators.” The request pertains only to the way such a workgroup may be convened and structured and seeks other ideas for ongoing public-private engagement. Rural stakeholders may have something to contribute to specific areas of focus and inquiry for the workgroup, including perceived barriers to innovation and competition in the healthcare industry and the effect of HHS programs and regulations on rural areas.