In January 2018, HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) released a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2018 titled “Rural Quality Improvement Technical Assistance Cooperative Agreement” (RQITA).
This NOFO (HRSA-19-036) would enable the RQITA to improve quality and health outcomes in rural communities by providing technical assistance to Critical Access Hospitals and other rural providers. RQITA presents an opportunity to tackle public health challenges, such as mental health, opioid abuse, and childhood obesity
Rural providers typically face unique challenges ranging from treating a diverse population to having fewer available resources needed to report and implement quality improvement initiatives.
Quality Improvement Networks, Quality Improvement Organizations and Hospital Improvement Innovation Networks, can provide technical assistance but still technical assistance for rural providers is limited. This is particularly true for low volume, under-resourced rural hospitals, and clinics.
This means that the coordination of technical assistance between technical assistance providers nationally can be challenging since rural hospitals need technical assistance to address their unique environment. This cooperative agreement looks to provide the assistance to fill this gap.
Technical assistance to be include in responding to the NOFO but is not limited to:
- Data collection and analysis
- Improving the understanding of measure specifications, benchmarking, target setting, and health information technology
- Developing, implementing, and adapting effective quality improvement strategies as well as adapting existing resources for a rural audience as applicable
- Tracking the outcomes of quality improvement efforts
The FY 2018 President’s budget does not request funding for this program. This notice is a contingency action taken to ensure that should funds become available for this purpose, HRSA would then be in the position to process applications and award funds.
The estimated award amount for one cooperative agreement would be up to $500,000 per year if funded with the application due date scheduled to be May 1, 2018. Eligible applicants can include domestic, public, private, and nonprofit organizations plus tribes, tribal organizations, and faith-based and community-based organizations.