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Appalachian Commission Awards $12 Million to 33 Projects Supporting Appalachians Recovering from Substance Use Disorder

FY22 Awards for Investments Supporting Partnerships In Recovery Ecosystems (INSPIRE) Initiative Will Help Build & Expand Services in the Recovery Ecosystem

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) awarded $12 million to 33 projects through its Investments Supporting Partnerships In Recovery Ecosystems (INSPIRE) initiative, which aims to address Appalachia’s substance use disorder (SUD) crisis with investments in projects that create or expand services in the recovery ecosystem leading to workforce entry and re-entry.

These INSPIRE awardees will support the SUD recovery ecosystem in 11 Appalachian states by developing and deepening cross-sector recovery-focused partnerships, expanding peer recovery support networks, planning and implementing workforce training programs, strengthening community engagement and wraparound services, and more.

“The substance use disorder crisis isn’t solely a health and family issue—it’s also a workforce development issue, and thus a community issue. At ARC, we’re laser-focused on creating a comprehensive network of supports to help individuals recovering from substance use disorder succeed,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “INSPIRE projects are tackling the economic impacts of the substance use disorder crisis to grow the region’s labor force, and more importantly, provide hope and purpose for individuals in recovery. I congratulate the 2022 INSPIRE awardees and look forward to the many ways they’ll help our Appalachian friends, neighbors, and communities thrive.”

“The fight against substance abuse has torn apart communities and families throughout the nation, and the ARC’s INSPIRE initiative seeks to establish a holistic recovery ecosystem that will enable recovering individuals to re-enter the workforce while getting the help they need to heal, to recover, and to turn their lives around,” said ARC States’ Co-Chair Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland. “The disease of addiction affects every community across the Appalachian region, and our all-hands-on-deck approach will positively impact the lives of individuals on their journeys to recovery while bringing more jobs and economic development to the region.”

“Beating the overdose epidemic is a key part of President Biden’s Unity Agenda for our Nation, and I applaud the Appalachian Regional Commission for building the recovery support infrastructure to help more Americans reach and maintain recovery,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. “The President has proclaimed September as National Recovery Month because he knows that when Americans recover from substance use disorder, our Nation becomes stronger and more resilient. That’s why we are focused on expanding the peer recovery support services workforce and eliminating barriers to employment, safe and supportive housing, and education for people in recovery. Today’s funding announcement supports this work, and as the former West Virginia health commissioner, I’m so glad to see this critical investment in the people of the Appalachian states.”

ARC’s Substance Abuse Advisory Council (SAAC) developed initial recommendations to address the disproportionate impact SUD had on the workforce in Appalachia compared to the rest of the country, which resulted in the launch of INSPIRE. Since INSPIRE was established in April of 2021, ARC has invested $28.1 million in 83 projects across 289 Appalachian counties, improving nearly 1.2K businesses and helping prepare nearly 6.5K students and workers for new opportunities in the workforce.

ARC is expecting to issue a request for proposals for the next round of INSPIRE grant opportunities in early 2023. Additional information and resources are available at

Pennsylvania Health Department Recommendations Regarding the Bivalent COVID-19 Booster Vaccine

CDC Guidance released on September 1, 2022, recommends that patients 12 and older who received the primary series of any of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines should receive a booster dose of a mRNA bivalent COVID-19 vaccine. The mRNA bivalent booster dose should occur at least two months after the last dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The bivalent Pfizer BioNTech booster is approved for patients aged 12 years and older and the bivalent Moderna booster is approved for patients aged 18 years and older. The mRNA bivalent vaccines are only available for booster vaccinations. The original monovalent COVID-19 vaccine must be used for the primary series. The original monovalent COVID-19 vaccine can no longer be used for booster doses except for children aged 5-11 who are not eligible for the booster dose of the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine. Since there are now multiple formulations of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines it will be extremely important for vaccine providers to make sure that the correct vaccine is given to each patient. The CDC definition of up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccine is someone who has completed their primary vaccine series and received the most recent COVID-19 booster vaccine recommended for them by the CDC. It is highly recommended that patients also receive their Influenza vaccine this fall and can receive both the COVID-19 bivalent booster and the influenza vaccine during the same visit. For complete details, the full Health Advisory 659 will be available here when it is published.

Looking for Final Recommendation Statements: Screening for Pre-diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes in Children and Adolescents

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released a final recommendation statement on screening for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents. The Task Force concluded that more research is needed to recommend for or against screening children and adolescents without signs or symptoms. To view the recommendation, the evidence on which it is based, and a summary for clinicians, please go here.

Tobacco Cessation and Lung Cancer Screening Brief Intervention Ask, Advise, Refer Workshop is Now Being Offered

The American Lung Association’s Ask, Advise, Refer to Quit Don’t Switch (“Ask, Advise, Refer”) training is now being offered as a live, interactive, virtual workshop. This training is ideal for frontline healthcare professionals, patient navigators, nurses, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, clinical support staff, community health workers, and tobacco treatment specialists. The curriculum is based on the CDC’s AskAdviseRefer (AAR) model and utilizes updated tools and strategies for facilitating the routine assessment of tobacco use status and lung cancer risk and low-dose CT scan eligibility among all patients, delivery of brief advice to quit tobacco use, referral to a clinician for a shared-decision making an appointment for those identified as high risk for lung cancer and referral of tobacco users to evidence-based cessation programs such as Freedom From Smoking®Click here for details and registration.

AmeriCorps Releases Notice of Funding

AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, has released a notice of federal funding available for Public Health AmeriCorps through AmeriCorps’ State and National program. Earlier this year, the agency launched Public Health AmeriCorps, a $400 million American Rescue Plan partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to support the recruitment, training, and development of a new generation of public health leaders. The 2023 grants competition prioritizes programs working to address community public health needs, including health inequities exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic, and is open to nonprofit, faith-based, tribal, and community-based organizations; higher-education institutions; state, local, and territorial government entities, including local public health departments. Organizations that previously have not received AmeriCorps funding are encouraged to apply for these grants.

The Federal 340B Drug Pricing Program: What It Is, and Why It’s Facing Legal Challenges

new report from the Commonwealth Fund explains that the federal 340B Drug Pricing Program was created to allow safety-net hospitals and clinics to purchase outpatient prescription drugs at significant discounts so they could stretch their resources to serve more financially vulnerable patients. But as 340B continues its rapid expansion over the last two decades, the efficacy of the program in reducing patient costs has come into question, and pharmaceutical companies have stepped up their efforts to rein in the program. The document examines the reasons behind the program’s growth, the claims and counterclaims made by drugmakers and healthcare providers, and how federal regulators and Congress are responding.

Court Decision Raises Questions about Insurance Coverage for Preventive Services

A Texas District Court decision is raising questions about whether private insurers will continue to be required to provide PrEP and other preventive services for free. While the plaintiffs argued only against providing free PrEP, their arguments take aim at the constitutionality of the entire Affordable Care Act provision requiring free coverage of preventive services. While the decision will certainly be appealed, its immediate impact on insurance coverage for preventive services is not yet clear.

U.S. Child Poverty Drops More than 80% Since 1993

The child poverty rate was 27.9% in 1993, but fell to a record low of 5.2% in 2021, according to new census data. The child poverty rate has decreased in every state, and it has fallen by about the same amount for Black kids, White kids, Hispanic kids, Asian kids, immigrants, and kids in one- or two-parent households. “Fewer children growing up in poverty is good for the future,” says Renee Ryberg, a co-author of a new report from Child Trends that digs into the data. “It’s as simple as that.” Lower child poverty rates not only mean immediate improvements to the well-being of kids and families but there are also long-term benefits for society, like lower rates of crime, lower health care costs, and more tax revenue. Pandemic-era expanded government benefits, from stimulus checks to an expanded child tax credit, were major drivers in reducing child poverty in 2020 and 2021. Academics and advocates have raised concerns that some of those additional gains may be erased now that the expanded child tax credit has expired, however, many of the driving factors behind the drop in child poverty—lower unemployment, a rise in single mothers’ participation in the workplace and expansions of the safety net—are longer term.

Look-alikes Now Eligible for Accreditation and PCMH Home Recognition Initiative Support

HRSA posted a new Program Assistance Letter (PAL) focused on its Accreditation and Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition Initiative. HRSA offers HRSA-funded health centers support for these processes. The most significant update is that this PAL now extends support for PCMH recognition to look-alikes. This support includes certain fees associated with PCMH recognition, initial, renewal, and add-on surveys. The new PAL replaces PAL 2015-02 (published in 2015). Other changes in this PAL align with changes from HRSA partners since that date. For example, the PAL includes current schedules for renewals of accreditation and PCMH recognition.