Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Biden-Harris Administration Extends Moratorium on Residential Evictions in USDA Multifamily Housing Communities in Accordance with CDC Guidance

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended the eviction moratorium to affected multifamily housing residents through June 30, 2021. This halt in residential evictions allows the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to extend relief to the hundreds-of-thousands of Americans who rely on USDA-supported multifamily housing communities.

“Due to COVID-19, the United States is facing a nationwide housing affordability crisis. That’s why, in a whole-of-government effort, USDA is taking this important action today to extend rental relief to the tens-of-thousands of individuals in USDA-supported multifamily housing communities,” said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson. “Currently, more than 40,000 tenants are rent overburdened, paying more than 30 percent of their income on rent. Today’s actions will give tenants at USDA-financed properties essential relief while the Department works as quickly as possible to extend the $100 million for emergency rental assistance provided by the American Rescue Plan Act to USDA’s most rent overburdened tenants.”

For more information about the protections provided under this moratorium extension, see the FACT SHEET: The Biden-Harris Administration’s Multi-Agency Effort to Support Renters and Landlords | The White House.

In a recent Census Bureau survey, nine million renters (or an estimated 15 percent of all renters) reported being behind on rent. The same survey showed that about 29 percent of Black families and 17 percent of Hispanic renters were behind on rent.

USDA’s Multi-Family Housing Programs provide affordable multi-family rental housing in rural areas by financing projects geared for low-income, elderly and disabled individuals and families, as well as domestic farm workers. USDA extends its reach by guaranteeing loans for affordable rental housing designed for low- to moderate-income residents in rural areas and towns. USDA also provides grants to sponsoring organizations to repair or rehabilitate housing for eligible families and subsidizes rents for low-income tenants who cannot afford to pay their full rent.

COVID-19 has had a lasting impact on Rural America. Families have lost their homes, students have resorted to unconventional solutions to access schoolwork online, the need for food assistance has grown, and access to COVID-19 testing and vaccinations have been limited. The American Rescue Plan implements funding that invests in the people of Rural America:

  • $100 million through September 2022 in rental assistance for low-income and elderly borrowers.
  • $39 million through September 2023 to help refinance direct loans under the Single-Family Housing Loan Program and the Single-Family Housing Repair Loans & Grants.
  • $500 million in Community Facility Program funds to help rural hospitals and local communities broaden access to COVID-19 vaccines & food assistance.

In addition to programs facilitated by USDA, the American Rescue Plan provides significant investments into rural communities by expanding internet connectivity and establishing a homeowner assistance fund to assist struggling homeowners with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities and other housing related costs.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate, smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit

3/29/21 COVID-19 Vaccine Resources: What Partners Need to Know Now

As COVID-19 vaccines continue rolling out across the country, CMS is taking action to protect the health and safety of our nation’s patients and providers and keeping you updated on the latest COVID-19 resources from HHS, CDC and CMS.

With information coming from many different sources, CMS has up-to-date resources and materials to help you share important and relevant information on the COVID-19 vaccine with the people that you serve. You can find these and more resources on the COVID-19 Partner Resources Page and the HHS COVID Education Campaign page. We look forward to partnering with you to promote vaccine safety and encourage our beneficiaries to get vaccinated when they have the opportunity. For more information, visit the CMS COVID-19 Policies and Guidance page.


According to a recent CMS survey, many Medicare beneficiaries reported forgoing non-COVID-19 care such as regular check-ups or medical screening tests due to the pandemic. A recent CMS data analysis also showed a significant decline in service use for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) beneficiaries, particularly for mental health and substance use disorders. With that, the number of services delivered via telehealth has significantly increased during the public health emergency.

As COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more readily available, CMS is encouraging beneficiaries to contact their health care professionals to discuss getting vaccinated, schedule any missed appointments and discuss other healthcare needs, including preventive care, screenings, and mental health services, as well as utilize telehealth services when appropriate.

If you work with CMS beneficiaries

Share the messaging below to encourage beneficiaries to take care of their health during the pandemic:

  • Don’t put off necessary care, especially if it’s urgent or may lead to complications, such as heart attack or stroke.
  • Continue preventive care such as immunizations and cancer screenings. Talk to your doctor about which services are right for you.
  • Learn about telehealth – Many regular health care services can be handled over the phone, a portal, app, or other option. Call your doctor to ask about your options.
  • Be active in your health care by taking care of yourself and your family. Exercise, diet, sleep, and relaxation are important parts of staying healthy.
  • Need health insurance coverage? Visit to sign up for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. 

Know What Telehealth Resources are Available

CMS updated policy changes effective January 1, 2021, which included adding services to the Medicare telehealth list during the public health emergency during for the pandemic. See the fact sheet and the list of services payable under the Medicare PFS, which includes office visits, psychotherapy, consultations and other medical or health services, for more information. Providers may also find the CMS COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Toolkit helpful for coverage on administering the vaccine.

Medicaid covers some telehealth services, but coverage differs from state to state. CMS developed a Medicaid & CHIP Telehealth toolkit to help states accelerate adoption of broader telehealth coverage policies in the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) during the COVID-19 emergency.

In response to the increased use and expanded coverage of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, From Coverage to Care (C2C) released two new resources to support providers and patients in making the most of virtual care:

Telehealth for Providers: What You Need to Know Providers can learn how and when to use telehealth. Topics include how to set up telehealth services, how to conduct a successful visit, and how to keep up to date on telehealth payment (particularly for Medicare and Medicaid).

Telehealth: What to Know for Your Family – Patients can find out the types of care they can receive through telehealth, how to prepare for an appointment, what to expect during a visit, and more. This resource is also available in Spanish.

Providers and partners can download graphics to post on their social media channels and help spread the word about these new resources. All of these resources can be downloaded at

For more information, please contact us at:

Screening for Hearing Loss in Older Adults: Final Recommendation

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released a final recommendation statement on screening for hearing loss in older adults. The Task Force concluded that more research is needed to determine whether to screen older adults for hearing loss before they have symptoms. To view the recommendation, the evidence on which it is based, and a summary for clinicians, please go here. The final recommendation statement can also be found in the March 23, 2021 online issue of JAMA.

Pennsylvania Launches Portal to Ensure High-Risk Populations Have Access to Opioid Reversal Medication

Pennsylvania Governor Wolf Administration’s Opioid Command Center announced the availability of the Statewide Naloxone Allocation Request Portal. The portal allows eligible organizations serving high-risk populations the ability to request additional naloxone nasal spray. This portal will supplement the Central Coordinating Entities’ (CCEs) efforts through the Naloxone for First Responders Program (NFRP) with a dedicated supply of naloxone focused on supporting distribution efforts to reach high-risk and high-need populations. Eligible organizations must utilize naloxone provided through this portal to support one or more of the following priority populations:

  • Individuals using Syringe Service Programs (SSPs) and harm reduction services
  • Individuals leaving state prisons and county jails
  • Individuals engaged in and/or leaving treatment or detox and those who are in recovery
  • Individuals who have experienced a nonfatal overdose
  • Other high-risk populations identified by the organization (i.e., pregnant/post-partum women with a history of opioid use disorder, individuals experiencing homelessness, etc.)

Patient-Centered Strategies for Teledentistry: The Potential Business Case

Dental practices across the country are using quality improvement methods to develop synchronous teledentistry service lines to better meet their patients’ needs. Learn how three organizations used teledentistry to provide preventive dental services, support patient self-management, reduce no-show rates, and developed a business case that will provide excellent patient care now and into the future during this NNOHA-sponsored webinar on April 14 at 4:00 pm. One CDE will be offered. Registration is required.

New Technology – Water Fluoridation Tablets

Technology funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could give 19 million people in the U.S. access to optimally fluoridated water for the first time. The system uses a fluoride tablet that dissolves in water, similar to how chlorine tablets work for swimming pools. Learn more.

Happy News During a Pandemic

In a conclusion that even surprised its editors, the 2021 World Happiness Report found that, amid global hardship, self-reported life satisfaction across 95 countries on average remained steady in 2020 from the previous year. The United States saw the same trend — despite societal tumult that yielded a national drop in positive emotions and a rise in negative ones. The country fell one spot, to 19th, in the annual rankings of the report, which was released Saturday. The report is good news regarding global resilience according to experts. Read more.

PPP Application Deadline Moving to May 31

Applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will now be accepted through May 31, 2021. The extension from the original March 31 deadline was passed by the House and Senate and has moved on to President Biden for signature. Health centers are eligible for First Draw PPP Loans if they have 500 or more employees but fewer than 500 employees per location. Existing PPP borrowers that did not receive loan forgiveness by Dec. 27, 2020, can reapply for a First Draw PPP loan. If borrowers previously returned some or all of their First Draw PPP loan funds, they may request to modify their First Draw PPP loan amount if they did not accept the full amount for which they were eligible. Second Draw PPP Loans are only available to entities that have received, plan to use, or have used the First Draw PPP loan for authorized uses in its entirety. Entities must have no more than 300 employees per location and can demonstrate at least a 25 percent reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.