Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

ARC Notice for Repurposing Existing Federal Financial Assistance Programs and Awards to Support Response to COVID-19

ARC has notified our current grantees that they may be able to repurpose remaining balances in their ARC grants to support immediate efforts to combat the COVID-19 crisis in their communities. This allowance to repurpose derives from guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on April 9, 2020, which directs the federal government to marshal all legally available federal resources to combat the effects of COVID-19. Requests for repurposing should be discussed initially with the State ARC Program Manager and will require final approval by the State Alternate and the ARC Federal Co-Chair. Grantees should not assume that additional funds will be available should the repurposing result in shortages for the implementation of the originally approved grant.

ARC is carefully and continually monitoring the COVID-19 situation as it is impacting the Appalachian Region. We are assisting grantees who are unable to meet project goals or timelines due to the current situation. If you are a current ARC grantee experiencing such challenges, please email your ARC project coordinator and state program manager as soon as possible for help with needed accommodations regarding your project’s deliverables, timelines, budget, or other operations. (When emailing, please put your ARC project number in the subject line. This will make responding to your request easier).

Appalachian Leadership Institute Applications Due June 1


“It’s a really special thing to have 40 people from 13 states. I’m hoping I’m going to learn new strategies in and around building community capacity,” said Elizabeth Wells, the Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of LaFayette, Georgia and the City of Rossville, Georgia about her goals as a 2019-2020 Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellow. The Appalachian Leadership Institute is a comprehensive leadership and economic development training opportunity for people who live and/or work in Appalachia and are passionate about helping their communities thrive. Applications for the second class of the Appalachian Leadership Institute are due Monday, June 1, 2020!

Learn more about the Appalachian Leadership Institute including application requirements, schedule, and other information about the Class of 2020-2021, at

CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Engagement Calls – Week of 5/25/20

CMS hosts varied recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19. These sessions are open to members of the healthcare community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.

Call details are below. Conference lines are limited so we highly encourage you to join via audio webcast, either on your computer or smartphone web browser. You are welcome to share this invitation with your colleagues and professional networks. These calls are not intended for the press.

Calls recordings and transcripts are posted on the CMS podcast page at:

CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Calls (Tuesdays at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern)

Office Hour Calls provide an opportunity for hospitals, health systems, and providers to ask questions of agency officials regarding CMS’s temporary actions that empower local hospitals and healthcare systems to:

  • Increase Hospital Capacity – CMS Hospitals Without Walls;
  • Rapidly Expand the Healthcare Workforce;
  • Put Patients Over Paperwork; and
  • Further Promote Telehealth in Medicare

This week’s Office Hours:

Tuesday, May 26th at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 8977438

Audio Webcast link:

Lessons from the Front Lines: COVID-19 (Fridays at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern)

Lessons from the Front Lines calls are a joint effort between CMS Administrator Seema Verma, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Physicians and other clinicians are invited to share their experience, ideas, strategies, and insights with one another related to their COVID-19 response. There is an opportunity to ask questions of presenters.

This week’s Lessons from the Front Lines:

Friday, May 29th at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 877-251-0301; Access Code: 6350189

Web Link:


Weekly COVID-19 Care Site-Specific Calls

CMS hosts weekly calls for certain types of organizations to provide targeted updates on the agency’s latest COVID-19 guidance. One to two leaders in the field also share best practices with their peers. There is an opportunity to ask questions of presenters if time allows.

Home Health and Hospice (Tuesdays at 3:00 PM Eastern)

Tuesday, May 26th at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 4666966 Audio Webcast Link:

Nursing Homes (Wednesdays at 4:30 PM Eastern)

Wednesday, May 27th at 4:30 – 5:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 1243649 Audio Webcast Link:

Dialysis Organizations (Wednesdays at 5:30 PM Eastern)

Wednesday, May 27th at 5:30 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 6152699 Audio Webcast Link:

Nurses (Thursdays at 3:00 PM Eastern)

Thursday, May 28th at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 2988422 Audio Webcast Link:


To keep up with the important work the White House Task Force is doing in response to COVID-19 click here: For information specific to CMS, please visit the Current Emergencies Website.


USDA Provides Resources, Funding

Upcoming Calls and Webinars

  • Rural Stakeholder Call Invitation from ONDCP: On Tuesday June 2nd, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy will host a call from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. eastern time for rural stakeholders to provide a comprehensive overview of the policy changes, resources, and funding that have been made available to support rural communities impacted by substance use disorder during this public health emergency. To register, please RSVP to this link: For more information, see attached.
  • The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services and USDA collaborated recently to host a Rural Health and COVID-19 webinar.  You can find the recording, audio transcript, and presentation slides here. The webinar provided an overview of the rural health focused efforts by HHS and USDA and highlighted specific tools and resources to help combat COVID-19.


  • The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs announced that it has awarded more than $83 million to five states and the District of Columbia to address the public safety challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19.
  • Applications Open for $1.5 Billion in EDA CARES Act Funds to Respond to COVID-19 PandemicEDA is now accepting applications from eligible grantees for $1.5 billion in economic assistance to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic using funds authorized by under the CARES Act
  •  The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced the launch of the COVID Coach app, a new mobile app designed to help both veterans and civilians cope with feelings of stress and anxiety they may be experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The app includes practical tools, information and resources that can all be used from the safety of one’s home to track well-being, mood swings and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), announced a new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) that will award $5 million in fiscal year 2020 to support novel, high-impact studies that evaluate the responsiveness of health care delivery systems, health care professionals, and the overall U.S. health care system to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Delta Leadership Institute Now Accepting Applications for the 2020-2021 Executive Academy The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) has launched the application cycle for the 2020-2021 Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy.  Since 2005, DLI has provided leadership development to more than 500 community leaders from diverse backgrounds, sectors, and industries to strengthen skills development, information sharing, regional collaboration, and improve the economic competitiveness and social viability of the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt.
  • Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center:  The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) supports a national Training and Technical Assistance effort designed to enhance and promote continuous best practices and quality improvement of services for youth and families served by FYSB funded runaway and homeless youth grantees.  FYSB expects to award one cooperative agreement to enhance the programmatic and administrative capacities of public and private agencies to provide services to the targeted populations.  Closing date June 26, 2020
  • INFINITE HERO FOUNDATION provides grants of up to $100,000 to nonprofit organizations offering innovative and effective programs or treatments to active duty service members, veterans, and/or military families for service-related mental and physical injuries. Grants must be applied directly to program costs and cannot be used for fundraising or administrative overhead. Deadlines: July 1, 2020 (letters of interest); invited grant applications must be submitted by Sep. 15, 2020.
  • AMERICAN LEGION CHILD WELFARE FOUNDATION provides nonprofit organizations with a means to educate the public about the needs of children across the United States. The Foundation supports organizations that contribute to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual welfare of children through the dissemination of information about new and innovative programs designed to benefit youth, or through the dissemination of information already possessed by well-established organizations. Grant requests should have the potential to help American children in a broad geographic area (more than one state). Closing date July 15, 2020
  • FCC High Speed Broadband/Rural Opportunity Fund: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designed the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to bring high speed fixed broadband service to rural homes and small businesses that lack access.  The first phase of the FCC reverse auction will target over six million homes and businesses in census blocks that are entirely unserved by voice and broadband with download speeds of at least 25 Mbps. Closing date October 22, 2020



  • CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Calls (Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern); CMS hosts varied recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19. These sessions are open to members of the healthcare community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.  Calls recordings and transcripts are posted on the CMS podcast page.
  •  Mental Health in a Time of COVID-19 Webinar Series: Part 3: Task-Shifting To Address Increasing Challenges Tues., May 26th, 12:00 ET, Register here “Task-shifting” is a term used to describe when non-mental health professionals are trained to use specific skills when addressing mental health concerns. With the expected increase of mental health challenges related to COVID-19, our third webinar in this series will highlight faith-based and community groups that are using online training and resources to develop mental health skills in their leaders.

Pennsylvania Governor’s Administration Awards $9.6 Million in Grants to Help the Charitable Food System

These grants will allow food banks, shelters, and soup kitchens to cover the costs of equipment purchases necessary to prepare, transport and store food acquired from retailers, wholesalers, farms, processors and cooperatives.  Increased demand on the charitable food system related to COVID-19 has demonstrated an immediate need for resources to support additional cold storage space, and more flexibility and changes to this grant program.

The awards come from the expanded Food Recovery Infrastructure grant program announced in April.

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Issues Guidance to Licensees Regarding New Drinks-to-Go Law

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has issued guidance to licenses regarding Act 21 of 2020, signed into law today by Governor Tom Wolf, which allows certain hotel and restaurant licensees to temporarily sell prepared beverages and mixed drinks to go, effective today.

Hotel and restaurant licensees that have lost at least 25% of average monthly sales due to COVID-19 business restrictions, and that offer meals to go, may now sell prepared beverages and mixed drinks – liquor and one or more mixer combined on the licensed premises in quantities from four to 64 ounces – in sealed containers.

The announcement can be seen here

A Q&A on this guidance can be found here

March Margin Triggers Dairy Margin Coverage Program Payment 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced this week that the March 2020 income over feed cost margin was $9.15 per hundredweight (cwt.), triggering the first payment of 2020 for dairy producers who purchased the appropriate level of coverage under the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

Current projections indicate that a DMC payment is likely to trigger every month for the remainder of 2020, a different expectation from last July when some market models had forecast no program payments for 18 months

To learn more, see the release here 

New RUPRI Policy Brief: County-Level 14-Day COVID-19 Case Trajectories

By Fred Ullrich, BA; and Keith Mueller, PhD

Many locations in the United States are relaxing their community-level COVID-19 mitigation measures. But one of the key “gating” indicators for doing this is a downward trajectory of new cases over a 14-day period. The rural data brief examines county-level 14-day trajectories for new confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Please click here to read the brief.

NIOSH Publishes New Industry Updates

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has published the following industry-specific updates.

Meat and Poultry Processing Employers and Employees
CDC has developed two fact sheets with easy-to-read strategies for employers and employees to prevent COVID-19 infection. Use these tips at work and at home to stay safe.

What Construction Workers Need to Know About COVID-19
CDC has published a new fact sheet that offers steps construction workers can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These everyday actions include maintaining distance of 6 feet from others, practicing good hand hygiene, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces often.

For more information, please visit the COVID-19 webpage. To stay up to date on new developments, sign up for the COVID-19 newsletter.