This notice announces the opportunity to apply for funding under the Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program (Outreach Program). The Outreach Program is a community-based grant program aimed towards promoting rural health care services by enhancing health care delivery to rural underserved populations in the local community or region. Through consortia of local health care and social service providers, communities can develop innovative approaches to challenges related to the specific health needs in rural areas that expand clinical and service capacity in rural communities. The overarching goals for the Outreach Program are to: • Expand the delivery of health care services to include new and enhanced services exclusively in rural communities; • Deliver health care services through a strong consortium, in which every consortium member organization is actively involved and engaged in the planning and delivery of services; • Utilize community engagement and evidence-based or innovative, evidence informed model(s) in the delivery of health care services; and • Improve population health, and demonstrate health outcomes and sustainability In addition to funding Outreach programs through the Regular Outreach track, in FY 21, FORHP will also afford applicants a unique opportunity to take part in a national effort that targets rural health disparities through a second track called the “Healthy Rural Hometown Initiative.” In 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Rural Health Task Force developed the Healthy Rural Hometown Initiative (HRHI). The HRHI is an effort that seeks to address the underlying factors that are driving growing rural health disparities related to the five leading causes of avoidable death (heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury/substance use, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke). A 2019 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report states that in 2017, approximately 61 percent of all deaths in the United States were related to the five leading causes of death and the number of potentially excess deaths from the five leading causes in rural parts of the country was higher than those in urban areas.2 Even though FORHP created the HRHI track to empower rural communities to address the long-standing rural health disparities noted by the CDC, it is important to note that rural racial and ethnic minority populations face even more challenges in terms of access to care and 2 Garcia MC, Rossen LM, Bastian B, et al. Potentially Excess Deaths from the Five Leading Causes of Death in Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Counties — United States, 2010–2017. MMWR Surveill Summ 2019;68(No. SS-10):1–11. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.ss6810a1external icon. related health care challenges that are often overlooked.3 Recognizing the link between health disparities and the five leading causes of death in rural communities, the HRHI track is ideal for applicants who want to identify and bridge the gap between social determinants of health and other systemic issues that contribute to achieving health equity with regards to excess death. For this reason, given the past success of Outreach grants, FORHP strongly encourages applicants to pursue the HRHI track, if it aligns with their community needs. FORHP intends to fund approximately 15 HRHI applicants and HRSA will select top ranked applications from the HRHI track and the Regular Outreach track when making funding decisions. The goal of the HRHI track is to demonstrate the collective impact of projects that better manage conditions, address risk factors and focus on prevention that relate to the leading causes of death (See Background Section). Applicants to the HRHI track will be required to meet specific guidelines outlined in this notice. FORHP expects HRHI projects to show improvements in health outcomes over time that can be attributed to the project intervention(s). Applicants to the HRHI track will be required to use the first year of the four-year project as a planning year to focus on planning activities, which may include, but is not limited to, conducting a Community Assessment in coordination with HRSA. Conversely, Regular Outreach track applicants are expected to focus on the delivery of health care services during all four years of the program and will be required to complete a strategic plan and assessment plan during the first year of the performance period. Please reference Appendix D for a side-by-side comparison of the Regular Outreach track and the HRHI track. Lastly, all award recipients will have the opportunity to work closely with technical assistance (TA) providers throughout the four-year period of performance. The targeted TA will assist award recipients with achieving desired project outcomes, sustainability and strategic planning, and will ensure alignment of the awarded project with the Outreach Program goals. The TA is provided to award recipients at no additional cost. This support is an investment made by FORHP in order to ensure the success of the awarded projects. FORHP has found that most award recipients benefit greatly from the support provided through these collaborations. If funded, award recipients will learn more about the targeted technical assistance and evaluation support.
Eligible applicants shall be domestic public or private, non-profit or for-profit entities, including faith-based, community-based, tribes and tribal organizations. The applicant organization may be located in a rural or urban area, but must have demonstrated experience serving, or the capacity to serve, rural underserved populations. Applicants should list the rural areas (counties) that will be served. Proposed counties should be fully rural, but if counties are partially rural counties, please include the rural census tract(s) in the Project Abstract. The applicant organization should also describe their experience and/or capacity serving rural populations in the Project Abstract section of the application. It is important that applicants list the rural counties (or rural census tract(s) if the county is partially rural) that will be served through their proposed project, as this will be one of the factors that will determine the applicant organization’s eligibility to apply for this funding.
To ascertain rural service areas, please refer to https://data.hrsa.gov/tools/rural-health. This webpage allows you to search by county or street address and determine rural eligibility.