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Expanding COVID-19 Response in Rural Communities through Rural Health Clinics

To expand access to vaccines and ensure equity in COVID-19 response in rural communities, the Health Resources and Services Administration is working with Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) across the nation to strengthen vaccine allocation and confidence, and to expand COVID-19 testing and mitigation.

RHCs are a special certification given to health care practices in underserved rural areas by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). More than 4,600 Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) in 45 states make up a key part of the rural health care infrastructure and help address health equity gaps in medically underserved rural communities to improve health outcomes for rural residents.

Rural Health Clinic (RHC) COVID-19 Programs

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, three new programs are available to help RHCs meet community needs and improve rural health care services:

Expanding COVID-19 Testing and Mitigation

Ensuring Equitable Distribution of Vaccines in Rural Areas

  • Rural Health Clinic Vaccine Distribution (RHCVD) Program was launched in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Under the program, enrolled Medicare-certified RHCs will receive direct COVID-19 vaccines in addition to their normal jurisdictions’ weekly allocation.

Building Vaccine Confidence

  • Rural Health Clinic Vaccine Confidence (RHCVC) Program supports outreach efforts to increase vaccinations in rural communities. More than 1,980 RHCs are using these resources to promote vaccine confidence and work to get more people vaccinated and protected from COVID-19 in medically underserved rural communities.

Resources

Contacts

For additional questions related The RHC COVID-19 Testing or Testing and Mitigation Program:
RHCCOVID-19Testing@hrsa.gov

The RHC COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Program:
RHCVaxDistribution@hrsa.gov

The RHC Vaccine Confidence Program:
RHCVaxConfidence@hrsa.gov.

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Date Last Reviewed:  June 2021