Building Stronger Rural Communities, One Project at a Time

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The Issue

A significant number of vital health services providers are currently functionally ineligible to receive, or even apply for, many federal funding opportunities as a result of existing eligibility standards.

Examples of this include the Provider Relief Fund, under the CARES Act, the eligibility requirements for which excluded many providers, including free clinics, because they lack a federal designation and cannot make it through the HRSA Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer.

Rural Health Service Providers (RHSPs) are a vital component of the American public health infrastructure that often serve as entry points into care for vulnerable populations that may not otherwise engage in health or social services.

A tractor in Riverside, California

A rural town in West Virginia

The Providers

Rural Health Services Providers (RHSPs) are domestic public or private, non-profit or for-profit organizations and corporations, including faith-based and community-based organizations that may be located in rural, suburban, or urban areas, but providing any number of healthcare-related services in rural counties, as designated by the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), or rural census tracts in urban counties, but do not meet any existing federal designations set forth by the HRSA, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and/or any other federal entity from whom funding originates.

RHSPs may provide clinical, behavioral, recovery, and/or mental health services, but are not designated as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), FQHC Look-A-Likes (LALs), Indian Health Services (IHS), Tribal Hospitals, Dual-Funded Community Health Centers/Tribal Clinics, or CMS-Certified Rural Health Clinics (RHCs).

The Ask

We are seeking four things:

  1. A legislative federal designation for Rural Health Service Providers, as we have defined them;
  1. A legislative change to the definition of “rural” that would expand eligibility calculation for funding opportunities housed within the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA)
  1. A $2.5 million federal allocation for a study to determine the barriers and facilitators to accessing funds for RHSPs
  1. A $5 billion federal grant allocation in the next COVID-19 relief package specifically
    targeted at RHSPs that will allow them to build, repair, expand, modernize, and mobilize their
    operations