Rural Health and Primary Care

Where we've been, where we are and where we are going...

What's New and Featured Resources

Check out the Updates: Dental Clinics and Services for Maine Residents and Maine's School Oral Health Program Handbook and check out the Oral Health Program Poster Contest winners!

Certification for the Primary Care and Dental Tax Credit Programs

Applications for the Primary Care and Dental Tax Credit Certification Programs (Tax Year 2021) are now available. Eligible candidates are encouraged to apply. Awards are made on a first come, first served basis to eligible candidates who submit complete applications with all necessary supporting documentation. Please follow the instructions carefully.

Please note that applications must be sent by U.S.P.S. mail and must be postmarked during the time-limited submission period of January 15, 2022 through February 18, 2022. Submissions with a postmark before January 16, 2022 or after February 18, 2022 will not be accepted. Please also note that this application is for new applicants only. Applications will be mailed to individuals seeking continued eligibility.

Funding Opportunity: Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network

$48 million is available for community based-organizations to expand public health capacity in rural and tribal communities through health care job development, training and placement.

Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network Program awardees will establish community health networks, which may be composed of, but are not limited to, community and technical colleges, Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and other minority-serving institutions; Critical Access Hospitals, community health centers, nursing homes, Rural Health Clinics, and substance use providers; and state or local workforce development boards. These networks will work to establish sustainable placement opportunities and integrate newly trained public health professionals into quality organizations and care teams to support the provision of health care services in rural communities. View the NOFO on


  • Check out the webinar: Wednesday, January 5, 2022 from 1 – 2 p.m.
  • Email:


Are you an employer in a rural area looking for a health care provider? Are you a health care professional looking for an opportunity in Maine?

3RNet is a national network that matches health care professionals with employers in rural areas. Register today! It is a free resource for both health care professionals and health care facilities located in rural Maine.


J-1 WaiverEnrollment Opens October 1st

Some things we thought you might like to know

  • The online form will open at 9:00 AM on 10/1/2021. You will not have access to it beforehand.
  • Only one J-1 Conrad 30 Physician can be put on one form. Concurrent applicants will need a separate form.
  • If, on 10/1/2021, there are problems with the form either contact Erica at 207-287-5562
  • The link to the form is:

Thank you everyone for your cooperation.


Introducing NRHA's Vaccine Confidence Toolkit

In partnership with Legato Healthcare Marketing, NRHA has developed a collection of rural-specific vaccine education materials. These materials are targeted to hospitals, business/community partners and the community as a whole and feature rural-specific messaging, based on current research, focus on "caring for our community" and getting the real facts to promote confidence in the vaccine. They are customizable to allow for localized messaging and branding by hospitals and community partners.

The tools are available at NRHA's website. If you need assistance you may contact NRHA's communication team or at Rural Health and Primary Care.


Emergency Rural Health Care and Nutritional Assistance Grant

Grant funds are now availabe to support health care and nutritional assistance. y Public bodies, community-based nonprofits and Federally-recognized Tribes in areas with less than 20,000 residents are encouraged to apply.

  • Track One: Recovery Grants provide immediate relief to address the economic conditions arising from the COVID-19 emergency
  • Track Two: Impact Grants advance ideas and solutions to solve regional rural health care problems to support the long-term sustainability of rural health

Visit USDA's website for additional details.


American Rescue Plan Rural Funding and Provider Relief Fund: Phase 4

PRF Phase 4 payments will be based on providers' lost revenues and expenditures between July 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. will reimburse smaller providers—who tend to operate on thin margins and often serve vulnerable or isolated communities—for their lost revenues and COVID-19 expenses at a higher rate compared to larger providers. PRF Phase 4 will also include bonus payments for providers who serve Medicaid, CHIP, and/or Medicare patients to ensure equity for those serving low-income children, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and seniors.

HRSA will make ARP rural payments to providers based on the amount of Medicaid, CHIP and/or Medicare services they provide to patients who live in rural areas

Applications will be accepted staring September 29, 2021. To prepare, start gathering supporting documentation, such as most recent tax documents and financial statements for the second half of calendar year (CY) 2020 and the first quarter of CY 2021 and visit HRSA's website for additional details.


J-1 Waiver Guide for 2021

The J-1 Waiver Guide is available for 2021. Please make sure you review the guide carefully to prepare for the various changes to the Program. If you have any questions or need assistance (such as using HPSA find, or ideas for community support) do not hesitate to contact the office.


Sentinel Events Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletters prepared by the Sentinel Events Team of the Division of Licensing and Certification. The National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety, preventing medication errors and preventing falls are some of the topics covered.

OSHA Guidelines

OSHA has developed guidance to help prevent worker exposure to SARS-CoV-2.


FrontLine WarmLine

A joint effort of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Maine Department of Public Safety's Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Maine Association of Psychiatric Physicians, The Opportunity Alliance, Maine Psychological Association, and the Maine Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, the FrontLine Warmline serves health care professionals, such as physicians, nurses and counselors, as well as emergency medical services personnel, law enforcement, and others who are directly responding to the pandemic in Maine.

The FrontLine WarmLine is available to clinicians and first responders from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week by calling (207) 221-8196 or 866-367-4440.

Federal Office

CMS Issues COVID-19 Guidance for RHCs and FQHCs

On April 17, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published guidance for Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally-Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). Congress and CMS made several changes to the RHC and FQHC requirements and payments. These changes include new payment for telehealth services, expansion of virtual communication services, and revision of the home health agency shortage requirement for visiting nursing services, among others. The National Association of Rural Health Clinics (NARHC) recently hosted a webinar sponsored by FORHP to explain updates to RHC stakeholders.

Other announcements from the Office of Rural Health Policy:Week of April 23, 2020 (PDF)

Public Health Emergency Preparedness would like to invite you to join Maine Responds and the Maine Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) today!

What does Maine Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) do? – Our volunteer programs reinforce our state’s public health infrastructure and support low-stress/no-fault exercise environments that test critical response capabilities. When MRC members are not responding to an emergency or disaster – the vast majority of the time – your focus will be on public health and emergency preparedness. The manner in which this work occurs varies by unit and is driven by each unit’s and each volunteer’s individual interests.

Strategies for Disseminating and Implementing COVID‐19 Public Health Prevention Practices in Rural Areas

A piece by Beth Prusaczyk, PhD from the Dept. of Medicine Division of General Medical Sciences, Washington School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO to assist community stakeholders and/or those working with community stakeholders.

Federal Office

Factsheet: Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks

This fact sheet from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) identifies the signs of stress and provides a set of practical tips and actions for relieving it during a crisis.

Other announcements from the Office of Rural Health Policy:Week of April 2, 2020 (PDF)

Recommended Resources and Helpful Links

Use the following resources to obtain information and monitor the COVID-19 efforts.

Federal Office

SAMHSA Resources

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a list of help lines, websites, and virtual meeting options to support substance use treatment, as well as resources and information for mental health response to COVID-19. Be well and take care.


COVID-19 Announcement for Current NHSC Participants

The NHSC has mechanisms in place to ensure that, in the event of an emergency or disaster, participants are able to remain in compliance with their service obligation. Participants whose circumstances change – for example, they are required to be away from their approved service site more than the allotted seven weeks per service year; they become unemployed as a direct result of the outbreak; or they are directed by their employer to provide care outside of the NHSC-approved site – should contact a program analyst immediately via the Customer Service Portal for assistance.


COVID-19 Announcement for Nurse Corps Participants

The Nurse Corps has mechanisms in place to ensure that, in the event of an emergency or disaster, participants are able to remain in compliance with their service obligation. Participants whose circumstances change – for example, they are required to be away from their approved service site more than the allotted seven weeks per service year; they become unemployed as a direct result of the outbreak; or they are directed by their employer to provide care outside of a Nurse Corps-approved health care facility – should contact a program analyst immediately via the BHW Customer Service Portal for assistance.


Attention Health Centers: Emergency Preparedness and Recovery Resources for Health Centers

Access information and resources compiled by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Share the Facts

Here are some COVID-19 posters and social media templates to use and/or share.


Report: Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

This report contains recommendations as well as descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards. The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content, and are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.

Promoting access to quality health care for Mainers living in rural and underserved areas.

Our Priorities

  • Increase resources and reduce costs for health care statewide with a focus on rural areas;
  • Facilitate communication among stakeholders on rural health issues;
  • Increase access to primary, mental and dental health care services for underserved populations;
  • Reduce geographic, financial, transportation and other barriers that prevent access to health care services.