Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

CMS Issues Guidance for Medicaid Programs on “Unwinding Period” for PHE Continuous Coverage Provisions

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued guidance for state Medicaid Programs setting out how an ‘unwinding period’ for PHE continuous coverage provisions could proceed:

The guidance establishes a 12-month period during which Medicaid programs could complete re-determinations of enrollees afforded continuous coverage during the PHE:

The guidance will permit states to conduct a more aggressive re-determination effort. States could, potentially, begin re-determinations as soon as 60-days prior to any announced PHE termination, with loss of enrollee coverage, based upon review, to commence as early as 60-days after the end of the PHE.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is #Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Awareness Month. CRC is the second leading cause of cancer death for both men and women. Overall, the most effective way to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer is to get screened for colorectal cancer routinely, beginning at age 45. Go to the Pennsylvania Cancer Control News for colorectal cancer information and resources.

Black persons have the highest CRC rates of any racial/ethnic group in the United States. CRC is expected to be the third leading cause of cancer death in this group according to the American Cancer Society. These disparities may be partially attributed to differences in exposure to risk factors (i.e., smoking, obesity) and health care access (ACS, 2020). However, Blacks are less likely to receive follow-up after a positive screening test in a timely manner.  To learn more about screening barriers and key messages designed for this population and others check out these George Washington University (GW) tools:  GW Cancer Control TAP CRC Awareness Month Campaign Resources.

Statement of HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson on President Biden's National Mental Health Strategy

Last night, President Biden announced an ambitious strategy to address our national mental health crisis. At the Health Resources and Services Administration, we stand with the President in his call for unity in our national response and know that for the millions of Americans living with a mental health condition or caring for a loved one with a mental health condition, the time for action is now.

The trauma and loss of COVID-19 has heightened long-standing needs and inequities in our mental health system, and the President’s strategy charts a path forward to address these gaps to help all Americans thrive.

At HRSA, our work to implement the President’s strategy means taking action to dramatically expand the supply, diversity, and cultural competence of the mental health and substance use disorder workforce through our health professions training, scholarship and loan repayment programs; increasing the number of community health workers and peers providing behavioral health services; launching new programs to support the mental health and well-being of our heroic health care workers to reduce burnout; expanding access to substance use disorder treatment in rural communities, and bolstering the work of HRSA-funded community health centers, which provide health care to nearly 29 million Americans, to address the mental health needs of children and families in underserved communities across the country. We will continue to pull all available levers to help meet this critical moment for the nation’s mental health.

Read Administrator Johnson’s statement and more about the President’s plan.

HRSA Works to Expand Health Care Access and Resources in Underserved Populations

In February, HRSA announced the winners of the Promoting Pediatric Primary Prevention Challenge, $66.5 million to support community-based vaccine outreach efforts, more than $560 million in pandemic relief payments to health care providers, funding to increase virtual care quality and access, and new funding to support primary care residency programs.

In February, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services devoted to improving health outcomes in underserved communities, promoting health equity, and supporting the health workforce, took the following actions:

HHS Announces Availability of $19.2 million to Expand Training of Primary Care Residents in Rural and Underserved Communities
HRSA announced the availability of $19.2 million in American Rescue Plan funding to support and expand community-based primary care residency programs. Awardees will use this funding to train residents to provide quality care to diverse populations and communities, particularly in underserved and rural areas.

HHS Provides $66.5 Million to Expand Community-Based Outreach Efforts to Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations
HRSA provided $66.5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence and vaccinations. The funding was awarded to eight grantees to expand outreach efforts in 38 states and the District of Columbia. Recipients are continuing to make progress in building vaccine confidence in diverse communities across the country.

HHS Announces Winners of National Challenge to Increase Pediatric Vaccinations and Well-Child Visits
HRSA announced 20 winners of the Promoting Pediatric Primary Prevention (P4) Challenge, a nationwide competition to increase pediatric vaccination rates and well-child visits. Challenge projects generated more than 52,000 pediatric well-child visits and nearly 23,000 immunizations.

HHS Awards Nearly $55 Million to Increase Virtual Health Care Access and Quality Through Community Health Centers
HRSA awarded nearly $55 million to 29 HRSA-funded health centers to increase health care access and quality for underserved populations through virtual care such as telehealth, remote patient monitoring, digital patient tools, and health information technology platforms. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, health centers have quickly expanded their use of virtual care to maintain access to essential primary care services.

HHS Distributing $560 Million in Provider Relief Fund Payments to Health Care Providers Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic
HRSA is making more than $560 million in Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 General Distribution payments to more than 4,100 providers across the country. These funds help health care providers prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus. Health care organizations that are facing workforce shortages and staff burnout also are able to use these funds to support their recruitment and retention efforts (PDF – 129 KB).

See News & Announcements on