President Biden Announces Trio of RHC COVID-19 Initiatives
RHC COVID-19 Testing and Mitigation Program to Allocate $100,000 per RHC
Today, President Biden announced in a White House press release a trio of COVID-19 initiatives involving rural health clinics. They are as follows:
Shipping New Allocations of Vaccine to Rural Health Clinics: The Administration will send vaccines directly to rural health clinics in some of our most underserved communities. This initiative will include clinics in areas with a limited number of other vaccination sites, and enhance vaccine access in rural communities across the country.
While formal details are still to be determined, last Friday we asked RHCs to fill out a quick form if they were interested in receiving a direct allocation of vaccines supply from the federal government. We recommend that you fill out this form, at your earliest convenience, if your RHC is interested in receiving this supply.
Increasing Vaccine Education and Outreach Efforts in Rural Communities: The President announced over $100 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to approximately 4,600 rural health clinics across the country to support vaccine outreach in rural communities. This funding will be used to assist rural residents in accessing vaccinations as well as education and outreach efforts around the benefits of vaccination.
It is NARHC’s understanding that this funding will be made available through a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant program and that interested RHC will have to apply for this funding. The purpose of the grant will be to help pay for vaccine outreach and/or overcoming vaccine hesitancy in the population. We plan to work closely with HRSA on this initiative and will keep the RHC community apprised as more details are made available.
Increasing Funding for Rural Health Clinics and Hospitals to Respond to COVID-19 with Testing and Mitigation Measures: The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is providing nearly $860 million in ARP funding to help rural health clinics and rural hospitals broaden their COVID-19 testing and mitigation to slow the spread of the virus in their communities. HRSA will provide up to $100,000 per clinic to each of the 4,600 federally designated rural health clinics and up to $230,000 per hospital to 1,730 small rural hospitals to increase COVID-19 testing, expand access to testing in rural communities, and broaden efforts to respond to and mitigate the spread of the virus in ways tailored to community needs.
This program will be very similar to the $49,461.42 RHCs received last May for COVID-19 Testing, as this funding will be allocated directly to each and every RHC with no application necessary. However, a key difference between this forthcoming allocation and the funding from last year (besides the amount) is that this year’s funding can be used for COVID-19 Testing and Mitigation expenses, not just testing.
As many of you know, NARHC has been working with the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), NOSORH and the State Offices of Rural Health to provide technical assistance on the RHC COVID-19 Testing Program. We hope that we will be able to provide technical assistance for this forthcoming allocation as well. At this time, it is our understanding that RHCs will need to be properly registered on RHCcovidreporting.com in order to be eligible for this forthcoming allocation.
Like the RHC COVID-19 testing program this funding will be made directly to the banking information associated with each Tax Identification Number (TIN) organization that owns a rural health clinic. If the organization owns multiple RHCs, the organization will receive $100,000 per RHC.
We understand that many of you may have questions about what exactly COVID-19 mitigation entails and how the terms and conditions for this bucket of money may differ from previous (and other forthcoming) allocations. We have many of those same questions and we will be working to provide you with this crucial information as soon as it is available.