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 & Medicaid Services (CMS). Nearly 5,000 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, four 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 CMS-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. Nearly 2,000 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.

Expanding Access to COVID-19 Testing Supplies

  • Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 Testing Supply Program provides free COVID-19 testing supplies to CMS-certified RHCs. RHCs choosing to participate receive direct shipments of COVID-19 testing supplies to distribute in their communities. Supplies available through this program include: at-home self-test kits, point of care testing supplies (POC) and other COVID-19 specific supplies such as N95 masks, as available.

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.

The RHC COVID-19 Testing Supply Program:
RHCTestKit@hrsa.gov.

Our web site has links to many other federal agencies, and in a few cases we link to private organizations. You are subject to that site's privacy policy when you leave our site. We are not responsible for Section 508 compliance (accessibility) on other federal or private Web sites.

Reference in this web site to any specific commercial products, process, service, manufacturer, or company does not constitute its endorsement or recommendation by the U.S. Government or HHS. HHS is not responsible for the contents of any "off-site" web page referenced from this server.

Date Last Reviewed:  March 2022