Understanding HRSA Modifications to the Definition of Rural for FORHP Grants

– Comment by May 28. On April 26th, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) announced a proposed modification to the definition of ‘rural’ used to designate eligible areas for rural health grants. Because access to needed health care is likely to be reduced when roads are most difficult to traverse, FORHP proposes to modify the definition of rural areas by integrating the new Road Ruggedness Scale (RRS) released in 2023 by the Economic Research Service (ERS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The proposed modifications are based on a data-driven methodology to identify areas with difficult mountainous terrain.  All areas included in the current definition of rural would remain included.