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Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcement

April 11, 2019

Funding Opportunities

National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program – May 16. Through the Health Resources and Services Administration, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) will provide tuition, fees, and monthly stipend for full-time enrollment in primary health care professions training for up to four school years.  In exchange, NHSC scholars will commit to serving in a high-need urban, rural, or frontier community upon graduation.

USDA Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program – May 24. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will make awards of up to $230,000 each to Land Grant Institutions, and other colleges and universities with significant minority enrollments to increase diversity in the food and agricultural scientific and professional workforce.  The program seeks projects that integrate social and biological sciences to address challenges facing agriculture and rural communities.  These include increasing food production in the face of limited natural resources, alleviating poverty through economic opportunity, and fostering healthy lifestyles and diet.

USDA Higher Education Challenge Grants Program – May 29.  In a separate program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will make 15 awards of up to $750,000 each to public and private nonprofit colleges and universities to facilitate better working relationships between academia and the private sector to enhance food and agricultural sciences. Similar to the Multicultural Scholars program posted above, this grants program seeks projects that integrate social and biological sciences to address challenges facing agriculture and rural communities.

HHS: YES Initiative for Minority and Disadvantaged Youth – May 31.  The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) will make 14 awards of up to $400,000 each for the Youth Engagement in Sports (YES) Initiative.  Eligible applicants are public and private nonprofit entities,  including tribal organizations and governments.  Successful projects will improve physical activity and nutrition behaviors for racial/ethnic minority and socio-economically disadvantaged youth, particularly girls, in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.

USDA Rural Community Development Initiative – June 5.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture will make 25 awards of up to $250,000 each for projects related to housing, community facilities, and community and economic development in rural areas.  Eligible applicants are local governments, nonprofit community-based housing and development organizations, federally-recognized tribal governments, and qualified private organizations located in towns of 50,000 residents or less.  Points will be added to applications with projects that address substance use disorder in high-risk communities.

Community Development Financial Institution Program – June 6.  The U.S. Department of Treasury provides funding for economic development in communities that need it through Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).  The CDFI Fund provides access to financial products and services in low-income communities, specifically designed to create and build business and jobs that improve economic prospects.  This funding opportunity offers two types of awards:  1) financial assistance in the form of loans, grants, deposits, and equity investments that require a dollar-for-dollar match with funds from a non-federal source; and 2) technical assistance grants that allow CDFIs and prospective CDFIs to increase their capacity to serve their communities.  The Treasury Department offers a similar opportunity through the Native American Community Development Financial Assistance – June 6.

SAMHSA Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Grants – June 7.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) will make 11 awards of up to $550,000 each to develop and disseminate training and technical assistance for rural communities to address opioid issues affecting these communities.  It is expected that grantees will facilitate the identification of model programs, develop and update materials related to the prevention, treatment and recovery activities for opioid use disorder (OUD), and ensure that high-quality training is provided.

USDA Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant – June 10.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will make 25 grants of up to $150,000 each to public and private nonprofit organizations that can provide financial and technical assistance to rural areas through its ongoing Community Facilities Program.

Policy Updates

HRSA Requests Public Feedback on Health Center Service Areas.  The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently announced an upcoming request for information (RFI) on its Health Centers Program. HRSA will be seeking input from the public on service area considerations that may inform decisions to expand the program through the addition of new service delivery sites onto existing health centers.  The considerations include factors such as proximity to existing health centers, parameters for unmet need, and consultation with other local providers.   The Service Area RFI announcement will begin with a 30-day preview period. Instructions on how to submit feedback are forthcoming. Following the preview period, HRSA will accept public feedback for 60 days.

Latest CMS Podcast Episode Features Rural Providers. Last week, CMS released the latest episode of their podcast, CMS: Beyond the Policy. This episode brings highlights from the 2019 CMS Quality Conference, including perspectives from rural providers at the conference. The theme of this year’s conference was “Innovating for Value and Results.”

Additional Telehealth Benefits for Medicare Advantage Finalized. To implement provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, CMS has finalized provisions allowing Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to offer additional telehealth benefits as part of the basic benefits.  While Medicare Advantage plans have always been able to offer more telehealth benefits than traditional Medicare, this rule gives MA plans even more flexibility with paying for these services, which could expand telehealth further.  For example, enrollees in urban and rural areas may be able to receive telehealth from their homes. In 2017, about one in four rural Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in an MA plan.

Enhancements to the CMS Mapping Medicare Disparities (MMD) Tool. The MMD tool provides interactive maps to illustrate disparities between subgroups of beneficiaries on key measures of health outcomes, use, and spending.  CMS recently added rural and urban data to the population view, so users can view and compare across rural and urban counties. They also added four opioid use disorder indicators, including hospital and ER visits and medication-assisted therapy utilization.

Learning Events and Technical Assistance

HRSA Requests Public Feedback on Health Center Service Areas.  The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently announced an upcoming request for information (RFI) on its Health Centers Program. HRSA will be seeking input from the public on service area considerations that may inform decisions to expand the program through the addition of new service delivery sites onto existing health centers.  The considerations include factors such as proximity to existing health centers, parameters for unmet need, and consultation with other local providers.   The Service Area RFI announcement will begin with a 30-day preview period. Instructions on how to submit feedback are forthcoming. Following the preview period, HRSA will accept public feedback for 60 days.

Latest CMS Podcast Episode Features Rural Providers. Last week, CMS released the latest episode of their podcast, CMS: Beyond the Policy. This episode brings highlights from the 2019 CMS Quality Conference, including perspectives from rural providers at the conference. The theme of this year’s conference was “Innovating for Value and Results.”

Additional Telehealth Benefits for Medicare Advantage Finalized. To implement provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, CMS has finalized provisions allowing Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to offer additional telehealth benefits as part of the basic benefits.  While Medicare Advantage plans have always been able to offer more telehealth benefits than traditional Medicare, this rule gives MA plans even more flexibility with paying for these services, which could expand telehealth further.  For example, enrollees in urban and rural areas may be able to receive telehealth from their homes. In 2017, about one in four rural Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in an MA plan.

Enhancements to the CMS Mapping Medicare Disparities (MMD) Tool. The MMD tool provides interactive maps to illustrate disparities between subgroups of beneficiaries on key measures of health outcomes, use, and spending.  CMS recently added rural and urban data to the population view, so users can view and compare across rural and urban counties. They also added four opioid use disorder indicators, including hospital and ER visits and medication-assisted therapy utilization.

Approaching Deadlines

DOJ Training and Technical Assistance for Violence Against Women – April 11

DOJ Grants to Tribal Governments for Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction Solicitation – April 11

OMH Hepatitis B Demonstration Grant Program – April 13

CDC: Collecting Information for the National Violent Death Reporting System – April 15

Full-Service Community Schools Program – April 15

NIH Grants to Translate Research Into Clinical Practice – April 15

USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants – Opioid – April 15

Nurse Anesthetist Traineeship Program – April 15

CDC Violent Death Reporting System – April 15

USDA Community Connect Grant Program – April 15

Strengthening Care for HIV and Opioid Use Disorder – April 16

SAMSHA Grants for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances – April 19

SAMHSA Grants Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health – April 19

HRSA Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Grant Program – April 22

SAMHSA: Substance Use Disorder Treatment for Minorities at High Risk for HIV/AIDS – April 22

NIH Summer Research Education Experience Program – April 23

Comprehensive Cancer Control Mentorship Program – April 26

Mary Kay Foundation Domestic Violence Shelter Grants – April 30

CDC Overdose Data Collection – May 2

Comments Requested: CMS Proposed Updates to Interoperability & Patient Access to Health Data – May 3

Comments Requested: ONC Proposal for Interoperability of Health IT – May 3

Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Implementation (RCORP-Implementation)  – May 6

RCORP-Evaluation Funding Opportunity – May 6

HRSA Maternal Opioid Misuse Model – May 6

SAMHSA Grants for First Responders to Opioid Overdose – May 6

HRSA: Graduate Psychology Education Program – May 7

HRSA Opioid Workforce Expansion Program – May 7

DOJ Opioid Affected Youth Initiative – May 7

DOJ:  Building Capacity for Tribal Researchers – May 13

DOJ: Tribal Justice Technical Assistance – May 14

NIH Intervention Research to Improve Native American Health – May 14

CDC Grants for Health and Wellness in Indian Country – May 15

USDA Traditional Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program – May 15

National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program – May 16

NIH: Researching Interventions to Heart and Lung Disease Risk – May 17

HRSA: Enhancing Oral Health Infrastructure in Health Centers – May 21

HRSA: Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies – May 24

USDA Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program – May 24

USDA Higher Education Challenge Grants Program – May 29

HHS: YES Initiative for Minority and Disadvantaged Youth – May 31

Capacity Building for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research – May 31

USAC Telecommunications Program for Rural Health Care – May 31

USDA Rural Broadband Loan and Grant Program – May 31

USDA Rural Community Development Initiative – June 5

Community Development Financial Institution Program – June 6

Native American Community Development Financial Assistance – June 6

SAMHSA Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Grants – June 7

USDA Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant – June 10

Research for Smoking Cessation in Disadvantaged Populations – June 13

Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program – Ongoing through August 2019

NIH: Research for Disparities Among Minority/Underserved Children – Cycles thru May 2020

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

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