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HHS announces multiple funding programs in July to address COVID-19 in rural communities

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    HHS announces multiple funding programs in July to address COVID-19 in rural communities

    In recent weeks the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced several funding programs to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in rural communities. Funding announced in July, as summarized below, aims to increase vaccine confidence, support rural health clinics and hospitals, and expand COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, and mitigation.

    On July 9, HHS announced a new grant program entitled “Promoting Vaccine Confidence in Local Communities through Partnership with Regional Health Offices Department of Health and Human Services.” Counties are directly eligible for the grant, which will award about $750,000 across eight recipients to support local innovations to increase vaccine confidence and promote vaccine uptake for COVID-19 and other vaccine preventable diseases. The grant will specifically support partnerships that will implement innovations in locations with populations with low vaccination rates, such as rural communities. The deadline to apply for this opportunity is August 17.

    HHS announced on July 13 that it would allocate $398 million of American Rescue Plan funding to 1,540 small rural hospitals through the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP). The funding will be made available to State Offices of Rural Health who will then suballocate to small rural hospitals around the state to support COVID-19 testing and mitigation efforts in these facilities.

    More recently on July 22, HHS announced it would provide about $100 million in American Rescue Plan funding to 1,980 Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) to expand outreach efforts aimed at increasing vaccinations in rural communities. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) designates clinics in underserved rural areas as RHCs to help ensure access to care for rural residents. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will administer the program, issuing about $50,000 per clinic. A state-by-state breakdown of funding can be found here.

    Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that COVID-19 vaccination rates in rural communities have lagged slightly behind urban communities overall, due to factors such as access, lack of health insurance and hesitancy. Federal investments will help public health officials in rural counties to increase vaccinations and slow the spread of COVID-19 in their community. For more information on strategies and best practices for COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts in rural counties, see the NACo Brief, Vaccine Distribution in Rural Counties.

    Additional Resources

    • NACo’s COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Hub
    • NACo Brief: Vaccine Distribution in Rural Counties
    • NACo Blog: New CDC Report Outlines Disparities in COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage Between Urban and Rural Counties: NACo Brief Outlines Solutions

    In recent weeks the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced several funding programs to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in rural communities.
    2021-08-02
    Blog
    2021-08-02
HHS has announced in July several funding programs to address COVID-19 in rural communities New HHS funding programs will aim to increase vaccine confidence, support rural healthcare, and expand COVID-19 mitigation strategies Counties are directly eligible for these grants

In recent weeks the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced several funding programs to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in rural communities. Funding announced in July, as summarized below, aims to increase vaccine confidence, support rural health clinics and hospitals, and expand COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, and mitigation.

On July 9, HHS announced a new grant program entitled “Promoting Vaccine Confidence in Local Communities through Partnership with Regional Health Offices Department of Health and Human Services.” Counties are directly eligible for the grant, which will award about $750,000 across eight recipients to support local innovations to increase vaccine confidence and promote vaccine uptake for COVID-19 and other vaccine preventable diseases. The grant will specifically support partnerships that will implement innovations in locations with populations with low vaccination rates, such as rural communities. The deadline to apply for this opportunity is August 17.

HHS announced on July 13 that it would allocate $398 million of American Rescue Plan funding to 1,540 small rural hospitals through the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP). The funding will be made available to State Offices of Rural Health who will then suballocate to small rural hospitals around the state to support COVID-19 testing and mitigation efforts in these facilities.

More recently on July 22, HHS announced it would provide about $100 million in American Rescue Plan funding to 1,980 Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) to expand outreach efforts aimed at increasing vaccinations in rural communities. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) designates clinics in underserved rural areas as RHCs to help ensure access to care for rural residents. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will administer the program, issuing about $50,000 per clinic. A state-by-state breakdown of funding can be found here.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that COVID-19 vaccination rates in rural communities have lagged slightly behind urban communities overall, due to factors such as access, lack of health insurance and hesitancy. Federal investments will help public health officials in rural counties to increase vaccinations and slow the spread of COVID-19 in their community. For more information on strategies and best practices for COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts in rural counties, see the NACo Brief, Vaccine Distribution in Rural Counties.

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