This notice announces the opportunity to apply for funding under the Rural Health Network Development Planning Program (“Network Planning Grant”). The purpose of the Network Planning Program is to promote the planning and development of integrated health care networks to address the following legislative aims: (i) achieve efficiencies; (ii) expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of basic health care services and associated health outcomes; and (iii) strengthen the rural health care system as a whole. This program supports one year of planning and brings together key parts of a rural health care delivery system, particularly those entities that may not have collaborated in the past, to establish and/or improve local capacity in order to strengthen rural community health interventions and enhance care coordination. In addition to funding Network Planning programs through the Regular Network Planning track, in FY 2023 the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) will also offer an option for applicants to select the Advancing Health Equity (AHE) track. In addition to addressing the three legislative aims of the regular Network Planning program, applicants will select only one of these two tracks. AHE applicants will seek to coalesce community stakeholders to focus on addressing health equity needs and improve health outcomes for underserved members of rural communities. The intent of the AHE track is to focus on collaboration between entities to establish or improve local capacity and care coordination among rural Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality. The Network Planning program uses the concept of developing networks as a strategy toward linking rural health care network members together to address local challenges, and help rural stakeholders achieve greater collective capacity to overcome challenges related to limited economies of scale for individual hospitals, clinics, or other key rural health care stakeholders. Studies show that integrated health care networks formed in rural communities allow for better resource allocation of both personnel and shared assets to decrease and/or prevent chronic disease, create stronger buy-in, trust and input among stakeholders and community members, improve data sharing, and increase sustainability and longevity of the network. Because of the benefits a network provides, at least 88 percent of past Network Planning award recipients have reported the sustainability of at least some elements of their network activities post-grant.
Eligible applicants include domestic public or private, non-profit or for-profit entities. Domestic faith-based and community-based, tribes and tribal organizations are also eligible to apply. 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. The applicant organization must describe in detail their experience and/or capacity to serve rural populations in the Project Abstract section of the application.
For more details, see Program Requirements and Expectations.