This notice announces the opportunity to apply for funding under the Rural Health Network Development (RHND) program. The purpose of this program is to support integrated rural health care networks that have combined the functions of the entities participating in the network, including skilled and experienced staff and a high functioning network board, in order to address the health care needs of the targeted rural community. Recipients will combine the functions of the entities participating in the network to address the following legislative aims: (i) achieve efficiencies; (ii) expand access, coordinate, and improve the quality of essential health care services; and (iii) strengthen the rural health care system as a whole.
The RHND Program encourages innovative solutions to local health care needs identified by local communities and supports rural communities in preparing for changes within the health care environment. Furthermore, the program creates an opportunity for rural health networks to collaboratively address the key priorities of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): mental health, substance use disorder, and value-based care.
The overarching goals for the RHND Program are to:
• Improve access and quality of health care in rural areas through sustainable health care programs created as a result of network collaboration;
• Prepare rural health networks for the transition to value-based payment and population health management;
• Demonstrate improved health outcomes and community impact;
• Promote the sustainability of rural health networks through the creation of diverse products and services;
• Utilize and/or adapt an evidence-based or promising practice model(s) in the delivery of health care services.
Broad network membership that includes traditional and non-traditional health care partners and have extensive collaborative experience with one another is essential for the transition to value-based care and is fundamental to improving population health. Delivery system reform over the upcoming years will strengthen this collaboration, as payment models for reimbursement will require participation and quality improvement across diverse clinical and community sectors influencing population health. Diverse network partners may include behavioral health organizations, critical access hospitals, rural health centers, community and social service organizations, and tribal organizations.
Networks applying to this program are encouraged to position themselves for this change while addressing the local health care need supported by the statutory charges (i, ii, and iii), outlined in the authorizing legislation.
The applicant organization must be a public or private nonprofit entity located in a rural area or in a rural census tract of an urban county, and all services must be provided in a rural county or census tract. The applicant’s EIN number should verify it is a rural entity. To determine rural eligibility of the applicant organization and the population served through this funding, please refer to: https://data.hrsa.gov/tools/rural-health to search by county or street address. The applicant organization’s county name must be filled out on the SF-424 Box 8, Section d. address. If the applicant is eligible by census tract, the census tract number must also be included next to the county name. A network serving rural communities, but whose applicant organization is not in a designated rural area, will not be considered for funding under this notice.
ii. In addition to the 50 U.S. states, only organizations in Guam, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Federated State of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau may apply. If you are located outside the 50 states, you must still meet the rural eligibility requirements.
iii. Faith-based and community-based organizations are eligible to apply for these funds. Tribes and tribal organizations are eligible to apply for these funds. Eligible organizations include state, local, and tribal governments, institutions of higher education, other nonprofit organizations (including faith-based, community-based, and tribal organizations), and hospitals.