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Fiscal 2020 Spending Package: Rural Health

The Fedearl Government avoided a shutdown before the new year after a spending agreement between the House of Representatives, Senate, and White House. In the eight-bill spending package, vital rural health initiatives were reauthorized and funded:

  • Rural Health Outreach. -The agreement provides not more than $12,000,000 for Outreach Service Grants; not less than $12,900,000 for Rural Network Development Grants; not less than $22,000,000 for the Delta States Network Grant Program; not less than $1,900,000 for Network Planning Grants; and not more than $6,400,000 for Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Grants.
  • Delta States Rural Development Network Grant Program. -The agreement provides $10,000,000 to support HRSA's collaboration with the Delta Regional Authority, as described under this heading in Conference Report 115-952.
  • Telementoring Training Center. -Within the total for Rural Health Research and Policy Development, the agreement includes no less than $1,000,000 to support a telementoring training center to train academic medical centers and other 20 centers of excellence in the creation of technology-enabled telementoring learning programs, as described in House Report 116-62.
  • Rural Hospital Flexibility Grants. -The agreement recommends HRSA give preference in grant awards to Critical Access Hospitals, as described in Senate Report 115-289.
  • Telehealth Centers of Excellence. -The agreement provides $6,000,000 for the Telehealth Centers of Excellence (Centers) awardees. The Centers are encouraged to develop best practices for treating HIV through telehealth that can be replicated across rural America and accelerate progress toward the goal of eliminating HIV transmission.
  • Telehealth Evaluation. -The agreement provides $1,000,000 to support a comprehensive evaluation of nationwide telehealth investments in rural areas and populations, as described in House Report 116-62.
  • Telehealth Network Grant Program. -The Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (OAT) is instructed to consult with the Bureau of Primary Health Care and develop a plan for the dissemination of the work of the school-based services clinical cohort, especially as it relates to providing assessments and referrals for health, mental health, or substance use disorder services to students who may struggle with behavioral or mental health issues. HRSA is instructed to provide a report on the OAT plan, including any findings from the school-based clinical cohort, to the Committees within 180 days of enactment of this Act.
  • Rural Communities Opioids Response Program. -The bill includes $110,000,000 to continue this program. The agreement includes $10,000,000 to continue the three Rural Centers or Excellence (Centers), as established in P.L. 115-245 and as directed by Conference Report 115-952. In addition to such conditions, the Centers shall work with neighboring States or regionally to implement surveillance, needs assessment, technical assistance, and educational 21 outreach in the form of subgrants to non-profit entities or academic institutions to implement demonstrated interventions.

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