Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Pennsylvania Human Services Convenes First Meeting of 340B Workgroup

On February 15, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) held the first meeting of its 340B Workgroup. The workgroup has representatives from Community Health Centers, managed care organizations, associations representing covered entities, and others. The workgroup is scheduled to meet almost weekly through February and March and is tasked with helping DHS identify a process to acknowledge contract pharmacies and accurately and effectively identify and exclude 340B drug claims to allow 340B covered entities and the patients they serve to continue to receive the benefits of 340B savings.

Read the Updated Catalog of Value Based Initiatives for Rural Providers

The newly updated resource from the team at Rural Health Value contains one-page summaries of rural-relevant, value-based programs currently or recently implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services, primarily by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and its Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation. The Rural Health Value team is funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.

Expanding GME Training at Your Hospital: How to Apply for Section 126 Positions

 This is a recording of a one-hour webinar that took place on Monday, February 13.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Rural Residency Planning and Development Technical Assistance (RRPD-TA) Center provided an overview of the application process for the second round of 200 Medicare residency slots available to eligible hospitals, including rural hospitals, interested in expanding residency training. Applications for Fiscal Year 2024 must be submitted through the Medicare Electronic Application Request Information (MEARIS™) by March 31, 2023. For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions and the application submission process guide.

HRSA Announces Advanced Nursing Education Nurse Practitioner Residency and Fellowship Program 

  HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce will make 43 awards to accredited schools of nursing and other approved entities such as Rural Health Clinics and Critical Access Hospitals to establish or enhance community-based residency training for Nurse Practitioners (NPs). Several studies have identified training in rural areas as one factor influencing recruitment and retention of NPs to rural areas.  Learn more about current research on educating a rural nursing workforce. Apply by April 11, 2023!

New Public Health Scholarship Program Focuses on Next Generation of Rural Health Leaders 

The Rural Health Innovation Program at Berkley Public Health will offer 100 fully-paid scholarships to eligible online students seeking a Master’s in Public Health to support leadership development for rural public health leaders.  The program, with backing from the Barr-Campbell Foundation, was announced at the recent National Rural Health Association Policy Institute and will also cover other expenses such as books, fees, and travel expenses.  Within that cohort, the program will also support 10 scholars with an interest in activating change to focus on rural policy efforts. Apply by August 13, 2023!

HRSA Makes $30 Million Available for Health Centers to Expand Early Childhood Development Services

Funding will help health centers provide recommended developmental screenings and follow-up services for children and further integrate early childhood development into care teams. 

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced the availability of approximately $30 million for HRSA-funded health centers to expand early childhood development care through increased screenings and follow-up services.

“HRSA-funded health centers are dedicated to meeting the unique needs of their communities – including providing key preventive services and care to help their youngest patients thrive,” said Administrator Carole Johnson. “This funding will strengthen and expand the availability of early childhood screenings and follow-up services that are vital for ensuring that kids get the support they need and have the tools to lead healthy, happy lives.”

Health centers provide essential preventive and primary care services to underserved communities across the country. Children undergo rapid physical, cognitive, linguistic, and emotional growth and development at this stage, and screening efforts help identify developmental or behavioral conditions, language delays, or other needs, such as food insecurity and housing instability, that can contribute to gaps in school readiness and impact a student’s ability to succeed.

Health centers that receive these awards will use the funding to strengthen their capacity to provide more children with recommended developmental screenings and follow-up services, including by developing the health center workforce necessary to deliver these services and focusing on the patient and caregiver experience.

Applications are due in on March 17, 2023 and in HRSA Electronic Handbooks on April 18, 2023. Visit the Early Childhood Development Technical Assistance Webpage for the notice of funding opportunity, technical assistance information, and other resources.

HRSA-funded health centers served 30 million people through nearly 1,400 health centers across the United States, collectively operating more than 14,000 service delivery sites in communities across the country.

To locate a HRSA-supported health center, visit:

USDA Seeks Feedback from Broadband Technical Assistance Providers and Rural Communities

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) (Pub. L. 117-58) provided the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Telecommunications Program with funding for technical assistance and pre-development planning activities to support the most rural communities. RUS received additional funding for these purposes in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (Pub. L. 117-328). RUS will host two listening sessions to solicit important feedback from rural communities interested in receiving broadband technical assistance and technical assistance providers serving rural communities.

Rural Communities interested in receiving broadband technical assistance are encouraged to register to attend the Broadband Technical Assistance for Rural Communities Listening Session on Thursday, February 23rd at 1 PM ET. Register for this session here.

The goal of this listening session is to solicit valuable insight into the challenges communities face in gaining broadband access, the types of technical assistance resources that would best serve these communities, and how RUS can best provide support.

Technical Assistance Providers interested in providing broadband technical assistance to support the most rural communities are encouraged to register to attend the Broadband Technical Assistance Providers Listening Session on Tuesday, February 28th at 1 PM ET. Register for this session here.

The goal of this listening session is to solicit input on the opportunities available to provide technical assistance for rural communities, the barriers to deliver these services, and how RUS can help providers overcome these barriers.


If you have any questions or issues, please complete the Contact Us Form.

Pennsylvania Dentists Discuss Oral Health During Children’s Dental Health Month

From WITF, On the Spark

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1 in 5 children between the ages of 5 and 11 have at least one untreated decaying tooth and children between the ages of 5 and 19 are twice as likely to have cavities if they come from low-income households.

According to the University of Illinois College of Dentistry, there is a connection between oral health and a person’s overall health and well-being.

February is Children’s Dental Health Month and Dr. LaJuan Mountain, vice president of dental services at Family First Health, and Dr. Sam Mansour, Pennsylvania Dental Association’s statewide national children’s dental health month chair, joined us on The Spark Thursday to discuss the importance of children’s dental health, the barriers to receiving dental care and ways to overcome them.

Dr. Mountain said, a healthy mouth consists of firm and pink gums and no disruptions or discoloration in the enamel. She also said, oral health is not the general consensus that she is seeing in our communities because of a lack of accessibility, high costs, insurance challenges, dentist office schedules, a lack of oral health literacy and more.

On The Spark we also discussed the Family First Health’s Mobile School Dentist program that provides in-school dental care for all ages and grade levels in York, Adams and Lancaster County.

“It’s having a tremendous impact. I’ve been doing this program for almost a decade and I’m actually seeing kids that I first started to treat in Head Start, and they’re now in junior high. So that means we’ve actually followed kids throughout their entire academic life thus far, and we’re seeing improvement,” Dr. Mountain said. “…We’re exposing them to the importance of their oral health, but also opportunities in health care, especially because the individuals we’re interacting with are often in that low socioeconomic environment.”