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Rural Residency Planning & Development Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I apply to expand the number of residents, training sites, etcetera, in an existing residency program?

    No. This funding will support the development of new, separately accredited rural residency programs, not the expansion of existing programs. 

  2. What is the definition of “rural”?

    Entities that meet the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) definition of rural are eligible to apply for the program (see the Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer). However, if the applicant’s sustainability plan includes certain Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare GME funding, entities must also meet the CMS definition of rural. CMS defines rural in accordance with Medicare regulations at 42 CFR 412.64(b)(ii)(C); that is, a rural area is an area outside of an urban Metropolitan Statistical Area. This excludes hospitals that are physically located in an urban area, but reclassify to a rural area under 42 CFR 412.103. For more information, contact CMS or your Medicare Administrative Contractor. Please note that either the applicant or a consortium’s primary training partner must be in a rural area.

  3. Can I apply for funds to develop a rural training track (RTT)?

    Yes. The rural track must be a separately accredited rural training track (RTT) and not additional slots within an existing program. 

  4. Can an urban hospital apply?

    Urban hospitals may apply under conditions of a separately accredited rural training track as part of a GME consortium. Entities must ensure that their primary training partner is located in a rural area.

  5. ACGME has only accredited RTTs in Family Medicine to date. Can I apply to develop an RTT in specialties other than Family Medicine?

    Applicants planning to develop RTTs in specialties other than Family Medicine should contact the respective ACGME review committee to determine if this a viable option for their organization.

  6. Can funding support development of a residency program in other specialties or subspecialties, for example, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry?

    No. This grant is not intended to support subspecialties or specialties not listed in the NOFO. The purpose of this grant program is to develop new rural residency programs in family medicine, internal medicine, psychiatry, public health and general preventive medicine, general surgery or obstetrics and gynecology, to support expansion of the physician workforce in rural areas.

  7. Can funding support development of residency programs for other primary care health professional disciplines (e.g., nurse practitioners, physician assistants), or for fellowships?

    No. This grant supports the development of new rural residency programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), which accredits all graduate medical training programs in the United States.

  8. Can I apply if my program has just received initial accreditation?

    No. Applicants who have already achieved ACGME accreditation for a residency program by the application closing date are not eligible.

  9. For RTTs, should the applicant be the established residency program or the rural training site?

    This will depend on the sustainability plan and any applicable ACGME requirements. Ideally, the applicant and the institutional sponsor should be the rural training site.

  10. I’m a current RRPD recipient (HRSA-19-088). Am I eligible to apply to this program?

    No. Recipients of the RRPD-TA cooperative agreement and the FY2019 RRPD grant (HRSA-19-088) are not eligible to receive funding under this notice.

  11. Can I apply for other preventive medicine specialties other than public health and general preventive medicine?

    No. Although preventive medicine focuses on aerospace medicine, occupational medicine, and public health and general preventive medicine, eligible entities may only apply to develop a new rural residency program in public health and general preventive medicine.

  12. Can I use grant funding to support resident salaries and benefits, such as stipends, sign-on bonuses, etc.?

    No. Resident salaries and benefits are unallowable costs for this funding opportunity.

Date Last Reviewed:  June 2020