Grants to Support Rural Health

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) https://www.ncdhhs.gov recently issued the Request for Applications (RFA) titled “Rural Health Centers Support: Medical Access Plan, Innovation, and Planning and Implementation Grants AFY 2018-2019” through their Office of Rural Health (ORH) https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/orh.

The goal is to give further support and funding to state-designated rural health centers so that these centers will be able to do more to help underserved communities and populations develop innovative strategies to improve access, quality, and cost-effective healthcare.

One of the opportunities for funding in the RFA addresses Medical Access Planning (MAP) which is available to uninsured and underinsured residents. MAP is a sliding fee scale program to help residents of North Carolina access primary healthcare services when they meet specified financial criteria found in the current MAP manual and don’t have primary healthcare coverage. Visits are reimbursable for on-site face-to-face provider encounters less the patient copay amount.

Another opportunity for funding involves developing innovation projects but the projects must show the ability to create systems and processes that promote sustainability for the organization being funded

Innovation projects must also support efforts to become recognized as a National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH). Funding must support an outside subject matter expert to assist with PCMH recognition or costs associated with educating site personnel with becoming a PCMH Certified Content Expert.

Funding related to innovation needs to enable rural health centers to propose activities that could increase and/or improve the Center’s efficiencies, effectiveness, transformation, sustainability quality, or access to care. Funding may also enable rural health centers to hire or retain professional services.

In addition, the funding needs to support the creation and implementation of a sustainable technological infrastructure. This may include hardware, software, and administrative, and clinical innovations to sustain primary medical deliver models through the adoption of EHRs and the use of North Carolina’s HealthConnex formerly known as the HIE. .

Applications for funding may include innovative methods to collect, exchange, store, and disseminate health information but also needs to include a plan to support an operational move toward long term sustainability.

For Rural Health Centers to be eligible for the funds, the Centers must be a designated a State-Designated Rural Health Center by ORH. The maximum total grant award will be given to the Rural Health Center most dependent on need.

New and/or additional requirements may be added to any grant award throughout the SFY 2018-2019 grant period as emerging topics, trends, and best practices will not be limited to and may include social determinants of health, HIEs, telehealth including telepsychology, and integrated care.

Go to https://www.ncdhhs.gov/rural-health-center-support-grant-sfy-2018-2019 for more information.

The award date is scheduled to be 7/1/18. For more details, email Andrea Murphy at andrea.murphy@dhhs.nc.gov or Robert Coble at Robert.coble@dhhs.nc.gov.

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