On Tuesday May 4, 2021, President Biden announced three new COVID-19 initiatives impacting RHCs. Nearly $1 billion of funding is being made available as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to support rural COVID-19 response efforts and increase COVID-19 vaccine availability in rural communities.
The President’s announcement included the following initiatives:
- Shipping New Allocations of COVID-19 Vaccine to Rural Health Clinics
- Increasing Vaccine Education and Outreach in Rural Communities
- Increasing Funding for Rural Health Clinics and Hospitals to Respond to COVID-19 with Testing and Mitigation Measures
Shipping New Allocations of COVID-19 Vaccine to Rural Health Clinics
Vaccines will be shipped directly to RHCs in some of the most medically underserved areas. This includes those clinics in areas with limited vaccination sites with the goal of enhancing COVID-19 vaccine access in rural communities across the United States. Formal details on this allocation have yet to be announced.
If your RHC is interested in receiving a direct allocation of vaccine supply from the government, please visit the following link provided by the National Association of Rural Health Clinics (NARHC) and complete the short survey. This is not a guarantee of direct allocation.
Increasing Vaccine Education and Outreach in Rural Communities
More than $100 million in funding will be made available to approximately 4,600 RHCs across the county in an effort to increase vaccine confidence in rural communities. This funding will support vaccine outreach in those communities and will assist those residing in rural areas in accessing vaccines, as well as educating rural populations about the importance of COVID-19 vaccination. Funds will allow RHCs to increase outreach efforts in hopes of boosting COVID-19 vaccinations.
NARHC has stated that they believe this funding will be made available through a HRSA grant program, therefore only RHCs interested in COVID-19 education and outreach should apply. HRSA will fund all eligible RHCs that apply for this program. The purpose of the grant will be to help cover costs for vaccine outreach and/or overcoming vaccine hesitancy in rural populations.
NARHC will be working closely with HRSA on this initiative and will provide more details as they are made available. Questions regarding the Rural Health Clinic Vaccine Confidence Program may be sent to RHCVaxconfidence@hrsa.gov.
Increasing Funding for Rural Health Clinics and Hospitals
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is providing nearly $860 million in funds from the ARP to help RHCs and rural hospitals expand their COVID-19 testing and mitigation to slow the spread of COVID-19 in their communities.
Of that $860 million, a total of $460 million will be allocated directly to RHCs. That means RHCs can expect up to $100,000 per clinic in funding to be used for expansion of COVID-19 testing, increasing access to testing in rural communities, and enhancing efforts to respond to and mitigate the spread of Coronavirus using strategies tailored to their rural communities.
The remaining $398 million of those funds will be allocated to small rural hospitals for the same efforts.
This funding is similar in nature to the $49,461.42 in direct allocation paid out to RHCs in May 2020 for COVID-19 Testing. However, it is important to note that this new round of funding is for COVID-19 Testing and Mitigation. Make sure your RHC is properly registered on Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 Reporting Portal in order to be eligible for this allocation. If you are not already registered, you may do so at the same link above. NARHC will provide additional details about the terms and conditions of this allocation as they are made available.
Questions about the COVID-19 Testing and Mitigation Program may be send to RHCCOVID-19Testing@hrsa.gov.
The full announcement from HHS can be found here.
The full White House press release can be found here.
Our Rural Health Clinic Experts are Here for You
Having trouble keeping up with all of the COVID-19 initiatives impacting RHCs that you can take advantage of? Please contact one of the following individuals to ensure you are getting the maximum benefit:
Kyle Smith, CPA, 340B ACE, Director
Amanda Dennison, MBA, CPC, CRHCP, Senior Consultant
Austin Fisher, CPA, Manager