HRSA eNews September 17, 2020

A Message from the Administrator

HRSA Administrator Thomas Engels

The opioid crisis is among the most daunting and complex public health challenges of our time. According to the CDC, more than three quarters of a million Americans have died from drug overdose deaths since 1999. It has hit rural communities particularly hard, as many face barriers to providing and accessing opioid use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services.

Earlier this week, we announced 80 funding awards totaling about $25 million as part of our Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP). This funding builds upon the RCORP awards made this August, reflecting a total fiscal year 2020 investment of nearly $115 million.

The awards announced this week focus on two areas:

  • Reducing the incidence of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).
  • Expanding the capacity of rural communities to help at-risk populations by providing opioid and substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery services.

We expect that these activities will decrease the incidence of NAS; increase opioid screenings and referrals to treatment; decrease overdoses; and result in an increase in the number of clinicians providing Medication-Assisted Treatment.

Thank you to our grantees - and more broadly everyone with whom HRSA partners to improve public health in America - for the tremendous work you are doing amid a disease pandemic unprecedented in our lifetimes. We stand ready to do everything necessary to help you continue your outstanding work.

Thank you,
Tom Engels

HHS Invests Nearly $115 Million to Combat the Opioid Crisis in Rural Communities

photo of a dad, mom and child

September 14 - Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded approximately $25 million to 80 award recipients across 36 states and two territories as part of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP). RCORP is a multi-year HRSA initiative to reduce morbidity and mortality of substance use disorder (SUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD) in high-risk rural communities. Today’s announcement builds upon HRSA’s RCORP awards made this August, reflecting a total fiscal year 2020 investment of nearly $115 million.

“The Trump Administration continues to provide historic levels of support for Americans with substance use disorders, especially those in rural areas, because the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t put a pause on our country’s opioid crisis,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “These grants are part of the Rural Action Plan that HHS launched in response to President Trump’s Executive Order on rural health, which lays out a path forward to transform and improve rural healthcare in tangible ways.”

Read the release.

HHS Awards $79 Million to Support Health Center Response to Emergencies

clipart of a hospital with an under construction banner across the image

September 8 - Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded over $79 million in construction and other capital support for 165 HRSA-funded health centers impacted by Hurricanes Florence and Michael, Typhoon Mangkut, and Super Typhoon Yutu, and wildfires and earthquakes occurring in calendar year 2018, and tornadoes and floods occurring in calendar year 2019.

“HRSA-funded health centers play a vital role on the front lines in their communities every day, and even more so during a crisis,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “This funding is the latest in the Trump Administration’s efforts to support Americans affected by the past several years of hurricanes, wildfires, typhoons, and earthquakes, and builds on other HHS investments to strengthen health centers’ readiness to serve their communities after disasters.”

Read the release.

Rural Health Resources Roundup: Rural Healthcare Surge Readiness Web Portal

rural scene - sunrise over a field

In this month's session of the Rural Health Resources Roundup Series, CAPT Renee Joskow talks about the Rural Healthcare Surge Readiness Web Portal HRSA Exit Disclaimer. The portal provides key and essential resources, tools, and training to prepare for and respond to COVID-19 in rural communities. It was developed by the Federal Healthcare Resilience Working Group and the Rural Surge Readiness Team.

Listen to the Rural Healthcare Surge Readiness Web Portal session HRSA Exit Disclaimer.

National Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15 - October 15

A photo of several people of Hispanic heritage

It is National Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the contributions and histories of the Hispanic and Latino communities. During this observance, HRSA shines a light on the generosity of Hispanic and Latino organ donors, and the lives saved by their selfless gifts. We also raise awareness of the more than 22,000 Hispanics and Latinos waiting for a life-saving organ.

The success of a transplant is often greater when organs are matched between people of the same racial or ethnic background. So, the more of us who register, the better the chance that those on the waiting list will find the right match. Share the gift of life during National Hispanic Heritage Month by joining the 165 million people in the U.S. who have already signed up to be organ, eye, and tissue donors.

Technical Assistance Application Period Now Open for the Delta Region Community Health Systems Development Program

photo of four health care workers having a discussion

The competitive application period is currently open for technical assistance support under the Delta Region Community Health Systems Development Program. The program provides technical assistance to eligible health care facilities HRSA Exit Disclaimer located in the 252 counties and parishes served by the Delta Regional Authority (a HRSA partner), and supports capacity building for health care facilities around quality improvement, financial and operational improvement, telehealth, community care coordination, workforce, emergency medical services, and population health.

Interested applicants that meet program readiness and project requirements HRSA Exit Disclaimer can submit a notice of intent now through November to be considered.  A new cohort of eligible health care facilities is forming now and will begin programming in winter 2020.

Webinar: Telehealth for HIV Care

photo of a woman in a telehealth appointment

Register for the Telehealth for HIV Care webinar HRSA Exit Disclaimer, part of HRSA’s Telehealth Learning Webinar Series, on Tuesday, September 29 from 2 - 3 p.m. EDT. Attendees will learn how telehealth is transforming access to quality care and treatment for people with HIV during the coronavirus pandemic and gain a deeper understanding of the telehealth technical resources available to care for HIV.

The webinar will feature speakers from HRSA’s Office of Regional Operations, the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s School of Medicine, and the Center for Key Populations, Community Health Center, Inc. A maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ is available through this webinar.

Webinar: Approaches to Transform American Health Care and Delivery in the Wake of COVID-19

National Academy of Medicine Leadership Consortium

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Leadership Consortium will host a webinar on Thursday, September 24, 11 a.m. - 1:45 p.m. EDT. This HRSA-supported webinar will explore approaches and sector-by-sector opportunities to strengthen, transform, and reimagine how health care is delivered across the nation in the wake of COVID-19. U.S. Surgeon General VADM Jerome M. Adams will kick off the webinar with a keynote address. A webinar recording will be posted on the NAM website.

Register to attend HRSA Exit Disclaimer.

Webinar: Readiness to Train Assessment Tool

photo of a person on a conference call on their laptop

HRSA is working to enhance health centers’ capabilities to recruit, develop, and retain their workforce. We aim to connect health and allied health professions students, trainees, and residents with education and training programs at health centers.

Health centers can help inform this process by completing the Readiness to Train Assessment Tool (RTAT™). With HRSA support, Community Health Center, Inc. developed the tool to help health centers assess and improve their readiness to engage in health professions training programs. Health center representatives can learn more about the tool at this webinar:

State and Regional Primary Care Associations will use the RTAT results to expand targeted workforce training and technical assistance capabilities.

New Publications on Oral Health and Telehealth from the National Organizations of State and Local Officials (NOSLO)

photo of a family with a health care worker

The National Academy for State Health Policy posted a case study HRSA Exit Disclaimer on how Medicaid agencies in Colorado, Maine, and Oregon are leveraging primary care-based accountable care programs to improve the delivery of oral health care to adults and children.

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) published a brief on the Impact of Telehealth on Maternity Care HRSA Exit Disclaimer (PDF - 228 KB) offering ways states can improve access to maternal care.

Both publications were developed through HRSA’s cooperative agreement with NOSLO.

National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day: September 18

National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day

On September 18, HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) will commemorate National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day. On this day, we bring attention to the growing number of people living long and full lives with HIV, thanks to the availability of high-quality health care, support services, and appropriate medical treatment.

The RWHAP client population is aging. Of the more than half a million clients served by RWHAP, 46.1 percent were aged 50 years and older. In 2018, 91.5 percent of clients aged 50 years and older receiving HIV medical care were virally suppressed.

Learn more about the RWHAP aging client population (PDF - 445 KB).

National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: September 27

National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

On September 27, HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program will commemorate National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This observance recognizes the disproportionate impact of the HIV epidemic on men who have sex with men (MSM). Of the more than half a million clients served by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, 47.3 percent were MSM. In 2018, approximately 88.1 percent of MSM receiving HIV medical care were virally suppressed.

Learn more about the RWHAP MSM client population (PDF - 431 KB).

Date Last Reviewed:  October 2020

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