February 2020

February 2020

Greetings Flex Coordinators,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued patience and flexibility as we experience some changes in your Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Project Officer team. Your current Project Officer assignment is as follows:

Tori Leach: Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Colorado, California, Nevada, Utah, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina

Natalia Vargas: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, South Carolina, Florida, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, North Dakota

As a reminder, you can always reach out to me as your Flex Program Coordinator for any questions you have. The Flex Program Non-Competing Continuation (NCC) Progress Report will be available in EHB on Friday, March 20, 2020 and will be due in EHB on Friday, May 15, 2020. On Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 2pm EST I will be holding a webinar to go over the details of the NCC, the Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC) will be sending out the information.

On February 11, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Telehealth Network Grant Program, due to grants.gov on April 13, 2020. HRSA will make 29 awards with total funding of $8.7 million to support 24-hour Emergency Department consultation services via telehealth to rural providers without emergency care specialists. Eligible applicants are rural or urban nonprofit entities that will provide direct clinical services through a telehealth network.

On February 12, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a request for information (RFI) to seek public comments regarding rural maternal health care. Specifically, the CMS Office of Minority Health (OMH) is seeking information related to opportunities to improve health care access, quality, and outcomes for women and infants in rural communities, before, during, and after pregnancy. This includes the reduction of maternal health disparities across this timeframe between rural and urban communities, within rural communities, and racial and ethnic disparities within rural communities. This notice also includes a request for information to seek public comments regarding readiness of rural providers, including emergency medical services (EMS) to handle obstetric emergencies (i.e., emergencies related to pregnancy, birth, and after birth) in rural areas. To be assured consideration, comments must be received by 11:59 p.m. EDT on April 12, 2020 (Note: 60 days from issuance). Comments should be submitted electronically to ruralmaternalrfi@cms.hhs.gov.

Tori Leach

Flex Program Coordinator

This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UB1RH24206, Information Services to Rural Hospital Flexibility Program Grantees, $1,009,121 (0% financed with nongovernmental sources). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.