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RHIhub This Week - January 6, 2021

Call for Rural Innovations for COVID-19 Vaccination

Share how rural communities and healthcare providers are innovating to provide COVID-19 vaccination. Please email your examples to Kristine Sande at with the subject line: COVID-19 Innovations. Innovations addressing other aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic are also welcome for inclusion in the Rural COVID-19 Innovations section.

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Recent News

Program Patches a Hole in Rural Water-Plant Safety: PPE for Operators
Jan 5, 2021 -- Features the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) and their efforts to keep rural water-treatment employees healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic so local communities could continue to access potable water. Through a partnership, RCAP provided 105,000 N95 masks to water, wastewater, and solid waste treatment facilities in rural and tribal areas.
Source: The Daily Yonder

'Last Responders' Brace for Surge in COVID Deaths Across US
Jan 4, 2021 -- Discusses how the increase in COVID-related deaths has overwhelmed "last responders," or workers at morgues and funeral homes. Describes how funerals and grieving rituals have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically for Native communities who have been among the hardest hit with COVID illnesses and deaths.
Source: Kaiser Health News

Its Freezer Kaput, This NorCal Hospital Had Two Hours to Give out 600 Vaccine Shots
Jan 4, 2021 -- At a hospital in Northern California, a freezer that held 830 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine stopped working and medical staff had two hours to use them before they would no longer be viable. Details how medical professionals quickly distributed all of the doses to the county jail and the local community.
Source: Los Angeles Times

Meet the Nurse Who's Running a Texas COVID-19 Clinic All on Her Own
Jan 4, 2021 -- Features a nurse practitioner that manages the only health clinic in northern rural Grimes County, Texas, highlights her efforts to overcome challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and keep the clinic open. Describes how federal relief funding and temporary telehealth provisions helped her continue operations.
Source: Popular Science

Telemedicine is Sweeping Puerto Rico, and It's Here to Stay
Jan 4, 2021 -- Examines how Puerto Rico is benefitting from the expansion of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in rural communities with limited access to healthcare. Discusses how the pandemic and recent earthquakes have made it more difficult to access care, but telemedicine allows patients to seek care from wherever they are.
Source: Direct Relief

When Teachers Brought Free Lunch to Kids amid COVID-19, They Saw Poverty up Close
Jan 3, 2021 -- In some rural school districts where teachers and administrators volunteered to deliver food to needy families during the COVID-19 outbreak, educators encountered poverty firsthand. Highlights federal programs that helped families pay for groceries and the continued efforts by school districts across the country to ensure students did not go hungry.
Source: USA Today

Doctor Drives Three Hours to Get COVID-19 Vaccine to Rural Michigan Hospital
Dec 30, 2020 -- Features a doctor who drove almost three hours to deliver a cooler holding 130 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to a hospital in rural Michigan. Smaller hospitals and facilities face challenges receiving and storing the vaccines, but the vaccines bring hope to healthcare workers who have been fighting the disease for months.
Source: CNN

Federal Register

GAO: Request for Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) Nominations
Jan 4, 2021 -- The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is accepting nominations for appointment to the Medicaid CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC). Appointments are effective May 2021. Letters of nomination and resumes are due by January 26, 2021.
Source: Federal Register

IHS: Reimbursement Rates for Calendar Year 2021
Dec 31, 2020 -- Notice from the Indian Health Service (IHS) announcing the calendar year 2021 reimbursement rates for inpatient and outpatient care provided to Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal program beneficiaries by IHS facilities. The updated rates apply to all qualifying services provided on or after January 1, 2021.
Source: Federal Register

Funding & Opportunities

Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust Grants
Grants for organizations that work to meet the needs of ill and injured veterans and their families.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide
Application Deadline: Jan 29, 2021
Sponsor: Disabled American Veterans

Grants for Expansion and Sustainability of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances
Supports the operation, expansion, and integration of Systems of Care intended to increase the provision and availability of mental health services to children and youth with serious emotional disturbances and their families.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide and U.S. Territories
Application Deadline: Feb 5, 2021
Sponsors: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG)
Grants for fire departments, EMS organizations, and fire academies for equipment, training, personnel wellness programs, capital funding, and collaboration/regional communication efforts.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide and U.S. territories
Application Deadline: Feb 12, 2021
Sponsors: Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Dental Trade Alliance (DTA) Foundation Grant
Funding for innovative projects designed to increase access to oral healthcare.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide and U.S. territories
Letter of Intent (Required): Feb 12, 2021
Application Deadline: May 20, 2021
Sponsor: Dental Trade Alliance Foundation

Grants to Prevent Prescription Drug/Opioid Overdose-Related Deaths
Provides funding to states, U.S. territories, and the Red Lake Band of Chippewa that receive the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant to reduce the number of prescription drug and opioid overdose-related deaths and adverse events among individuals 18 years of age and older.
Geographic coverage: Eligibility is limited to states, U.S. territories, pacific jurisdictions, and tribal entities that receive the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block grants.
Application Deadline: Mar 1, 2021
Sponsors: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Rural Health Care Telecommunications Program
Assistance to healthcare providers for eligible expenses related to telecommunications and voice services for the use of telemedicine and telehealth.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide
Application Deadline: Apr 1, 2021
Sponsor: Universal Service Administrative Company

Rural Healthcare Connect Fund
Provides assistance to healthcare providers for eligible expenses related to broadband connectivity at a flat discounted rate of 65%. Participants can apply as a member of a consortium or a stand-alone entity.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide
Application Deadline: Apr 1, 2021
Sponsor: Universal Service Administrative Company

Certified Rural Health Clinic Professional Course
A course designed to teach directors, clinic administrators, and other Rural Health Clinic leaders how to operate a successful Rural Health Clinic. Upon course completion and the attainment of an 80% or higher exam score, participants will earn certification.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide
Applications accepted on an ongoing basis
Sponsor: National Association of Rural Health Clinics

Summer Food Service Program
Funding to provide free, nutritious meals and snacks to help children in low-income areas get the nutrition they need during the summer months.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide
Applications accepted on an ongoing basis
Sponsors: U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA Food and Nutrition Service

New Resources

Brandeis Opioid Resource Connector
Collection of over 160 community-based program models, data and mapping information, and other resources for communities to reduce opioid addiction and overdose. Program models cover prevention, harm recovery, recovery, and treatment, and can be filtered by setting to select rural-specific examples.
Sponsoring organization: Opioid Policy Research Collaborative

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Could Improve Its Wage Index Adjustment for Hospitals in Areas With the Lowest Wages
Analyzes characteristics of hospitals with area wage indexes (AWI) in the bottom quartile in 2020, including rurality, geography, Medicaid expansion status, and hourly wages. Provides an overview of the hospital wage index system and AWI, circularity, and the impact of these policies on prospective payment system (PPS) hospitals. Offers policy recommendations to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regarding future adjustments.
Additional links: Full Data Brief
Sponsoring organization: Office of Inspector General (HHS)
Date: 12/2020

Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) Calls/Webinars
Up-to-date guidance for clinicians from subject matter experts on key emergency preparedness and response topics. Many recent calls are focused on COVID-19 vaccination and related concerns. Slides and webinar recordings for past COCA calls are available.
Sponsoring organization: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Date: 12/2020

Collecting Early Childhood Obesity Measurements Through a Home Visiting Program: A Proof-of-Concept Study
Describes the development, implementation, and evaluation of a proof-of-concept protocol for collecting data on weight and length/height of children aged 6 months to 5 years through existing home visiting programs in rural and urban areas of South Carolina, Texas, Illinois, and Florida. Features a measurement checklist for parent educators and discusses implications for public health, such as obesity prevention.
Author(s): Julie Kapp, Brian Hall, Allison Kemner
Location: Preventing Chronic Disease, 17
Date: 12/2020

The Coronavirus Pandemic Highlights Why Family Caregivers Need to Be Integrated into the Health Care Team and Shows Us How to Make It Happen
Describes the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on family caregiving. Identifies approaches to help integrate family members into care teams. Discusses the use of telehealth, virtual visits, and other digital technology such as patient portals which can include family caregivers.
Sponsoring organization: RAND Corporation
Date: 01/2021

COVID-19 CISA (Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment) Clinical Consultation
Healthcare providers and health departments in the U.S. can request a consultation for a complex COVID-19 vaccine safety question that is (1) about an individual patient residing in the U.S. or vaccine safety issue and (2) not readily addressed by CDC or Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices guidelines.
Sponsoring organization: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Date: 12/2020

COVID-19 Response Practices in Transit
Provides descriptions and examples of practices implemented by rural, tribal, and urban transit agencies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Includes discussion on practices for protecting passengers and workers; cleaning, disinfecting, and ventilating vehicles and infrastructure; operational considerations; passenger communications; and technology and innovation.
Sponsoring organization: National Rural Transit Assistance Program
Date: 01/2021

Diagnosing and Managing Mild TBI in Rural Kids
Discusses the challenges of diagnosing and treating pediatric mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) in rural areas. Covers recommendations and rules for computerized tomography (CT) scans and symptom assessment, recovery and support for patients, educational resources for patients and families, and telemedicine as an option that increases access to follow-up care for mTBI.
Sponsoring organization: National Rural Health Association
Date: 01/2021

How Does DATA-Waiver Provider Patient Capacity Relate to Opioid and Buprenorphine Prescribing?
Explores if regulatory changes to increase the patient capacity among buprenorphine waivered providers effects buprenorphine and opioids prescription rates at the county-level. Compares prescription rates by metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties.
Sponsoring organization: HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Date: 12/2020

Innovative COVID-19 Programs to Rapidly Serve New Mexico: Project ECHO
Details an evaluation of 10 different telementoring programs created by Project ECHO to address the COVID-19 pandemic in New Mexico. Compares the attendance data and infection data by county. Explores lessons learned and discusses Project ECHO's potential role in future crises.
Author(s): Joanna G. Katzman, Laura E. Tomedi, Karla Thornton, et al.
Location: Public Health Reports, 136(1), 39-46
Date: 11/2020

Medicare Severe Wound Care: Spending Declines May Reflect Site of Care Changes; Limited Information Is Available on Quality
Reports on an analysis of where Medicare beneficiaries received care for severe wounds in 2018 and Medicare payment for these services. Provides an overview of the implementation of a dual payment system for long-term care hospitals in 2016, and examines how the dual payment system affected the availability and quality of severe wound care for Medicare beneficiaries. Includes data on severe wound care by facility type in addition to Medicare spending by urban and rural location.
Additional links: Full Report
Sponsoring organization: Government Accountability Office
Date: 01/2021

Synergistic Disparities and Public Health Mitigation of COVID-19 in the Rural United States
Describes how public health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic emphasize racial, economic, and geographic disparities, especially among rural and poor populations. Covers public health mitigation measures, including disease surveillance, physical distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene, and public health communication. Discusses the ethical demands of public health practice during and following a public health emergency.
Author(s): Kata Chillag, Lisa Lee
Location: Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 17(4), 649-656
Date: 11/2020

Water Safety in California Public Schools Following Implementation of School Drinking Water Policies
Study examining results from a California testing program created to detect lead in charter and public school drinking water. Analyzes factors associated with access to safe drinking water, including differences between rural and urban schools. Features data and statistics indicating whether school water systems were compliant with health standards and whether school drinking water was tested for lead.
Author(s): Isioma Umunna, Lauren Blacker, Christina Hecht, et al.
Location: Preventing Chronic Disease, 18
Date: 12/2020

Open Calls for Contributions

Call for Proposal: 2021 Annual Colorado Rural Health Center Forum - VIRTUAL
Deadline: Jan 29, 2021
Colorado Rural Health Center
Event Dates: Apr 7 - 9, 2021
Conference Website

Call for Proposals: 2021 16th Annual Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum
Deadline: Feb 5, 2021
National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center
Event Dates: Jun 20 - 24, 2021
Anchorage, AK
Conference Website

Upcoming Events

COVID - 19 Vaccine Information with Department of Public Health
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Eastern
Kentucky Primary Care Association
Crisis Standards of Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Real-time Legal Issues & Solutions: A Webinar
Time: 3:30 - 4:45 p.m. Eastern
National Academy of Medicine
Challenges in COVID Vaccine Allocation & Distribution
Time: 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Central
University of Minnesota Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences
COVID-19 Therapeutic Administration in FQHCs and RHCs
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Eastern
Kentucky Primary Care Association
The Value of Becoming A Patient Centered Medical Home
Time: 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Central
Alabama Rural Health Association
Strengthening Resilience: Promoting Positive School Mental Health Among Indigenous Youth
Time: 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Central
Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network, Mountain Plains MHTTC
The Importance of Resiliency During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Time: 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Central
Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network, National American Indian and Alaska Native MHTTC
Idaho - Critical Access Hospital (CAH) Conditions of Participation 2021: 5 Part Series
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Mountain
Virtual sessions held January 19 - February 16, 2021
Registration is due January 12
Idaho Hospital Association
Practical Grant Writing Strategies Webinar- Part 2
Time: 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Eastern
Rural Communities Opioid Response Program - Technical Assistance
Train the Trainer: Prevention of Zoonotic Diseases
Time: 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Central
AgriSafe Network
2021 Annual Idaho Public Health Association Meeting - VIRTUAL
Idaho Public Health Association
NALBOH Town Hall - COVID-19 - Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals
Time: 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Central
National Association of Local Boards of Health
FY21 RCORP Implementation Applicant Technical Assistance Webinar
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Eastern
Call: 800.369.1956
Participant Code: 9970670
Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Early Childhood Rural Peer Learning Network: Strategies for Building the Supply of Child Care at the County Level
Time: 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Eastern
National Association of Counties
HRSA-NETRC Telehealth Webinar Series - Part 1: Strategies for Addressing the Behavioral Health Needs of Unsheltered and Vulnerable Populations during the Pandemic
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Eastern
Health Resources and Services Administration, Northeast Telehealth Resource Center
2021 South Carolina Hospital Association Annual Meeting - VIRTUAL
South Carolina Hospital Association
A Pathway for Rural Health to Thrive in a Post COVID-19 World
Time: 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Central
Center for Optimizing Rural Health
2021 32nd Annual Rural Health Policy Institute - VIRTUAL
National Rural Health Association
816.756.3140 Ext.12
2021 17th Annual 340B Coalition Winter Conference - VIRTUAL
Virtual sessions held February 16 - 24, 2021.
340B Coalition
2021 Texas Hospital Association Annual Conference and Expo - VIRTUAL
Virtual sessions held February 16 - 19, 2021.
Factors Impacting Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers in the Southeast: Farm Stress, Mental Health, and Social Structural Components
Time: 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Central
Mississippi State University Extension
Suicide Prevention Webinar Series: School-Based Suicide Prevention
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Central
Indian Health Service
Coding and Billing for Critical Access Hospitals (CAH)
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Central (16th)
8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Central (17th)
Mississippi Rural Health Association
Data as the Foundation for Broadband Planning
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Central
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
2021 34th Annual Rural Health Care Leadership Conference - VIRTUAL
American Hospital Association
2021 AAHPM & HPNA Annual Assembly - VIRTUAL
American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
2021 North Carolina Healthcare Association Winter Membership Meeting - VIRTUAL
North Carolina Healthcare Association

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