Rural Health and Primary Care

What's New and Featured Resources


thanks

Thank you to our brave medical professionals and all working on the coronavirus effort throughout Maine and around the world!



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.


Red Cross

Blood Donations Needed

The Red Cross is in critical need of blood. With its focus on treating COVID-19, hospitals are no longer being able to run their own blood donation programs – and the need is CRITICAL. If you’re able to donate blood, please do so; heed the national need in these unprecedented times.

To find the blood drive nearest you, go to this Red Cross link and type your ZIP Code to make an appointment. You must make an appointment.


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.

Other announcements from the Office of Rural Health Policy: Week of March 26, 2020 (PDF)


Rural Medical Access Program

The application period is now open for the Rural Medical Access Program (RMAP). RMAP provides financial incentives, in the form of reimbursement of insurance premiums, to ensure the availability of doctors who provide prenatal care and deliver babies in rural and underserved communities. Eligibility is determined by the The RHPCP in collaboration with the State Bureau of Insurance.


HRSA

National Health Service Corps is accepting applications for its Scholarship Program now through April 23, 2020

The National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program awards scholarships to students pursuing eligible primary care health professions training.

In return, scholars commit to provide primary care health services in Health Professional Shortage Areas.

For current NHSC participants: COVID-19 Announcement

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.


HRSA

Nurse Corps is accepting applications for its Scholarship Program now through April 30, 2020

Eligible nursing students can apply to the Nurse Corps Scholarship Program. If accepted, your tuition, fees, and other educational costs are paid. In return, you work at an eligible facility with a critical shortage of nurses upon graduation.

For current Nurse Corps participants: COVID-19 Announcement

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.


HRSA

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.


Attention Rural Health Clinics: Free Webinar

Please join Kate Hill, Vice President of Clinical Services, The Compliance Team Inc. as she presents Covid-19 and Rural Health Clinics on March 24th at 11:30am. Topics will include:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for clinics
  • Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection
  • Methods for preventing the spread of COVID-19
  • Rooming a patient who might be infected
  • Reporting procedures
  • Recommended signage to include on clinic front doors
  • Recommended measures to protect yourself, your staff and your patients

  • Register Now

Recommended Resources

The National Rural Health Resource Center recommends the following resources to obtain information and monitor the COVID-19 efforts.


OSHA

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.


CDC Webinar: Update for Rural Partners, Stakeholders, and Communities on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Response

On March 23rd at 1:00 pm, Dr. Jay Butler, Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases, will share guidance with partners, public health practitioners, healthcare providers, and others working to protect the health of rural communities. He will describe what CDC knows at this point and what CDC is doing in response to this outbreak. We will also have time for questions and answers. Please email eocevent337@cdc.gov to submit questions in advance and indicate that questions are for the 3/23 call.


Rural Medical Access Program

The application period is now open for the Rural Medical Access Program (RMAP). RMAP provides financial incentives, in the form of reimbursement of insurance premiums, to ensure the availability of doctors who provide prenatal care and deliver babies in rural and underserved communities. Eligibility is determined by the The RHPCP in collaboration with the State Bureau of Insurance.


telehealth

Webinar: Telehealth and COVID-19

Telehealth can be a means to address COVID-19 through patient monitoring, treating and limiting exposure to infection for vulnerable populations, and protecting health care workers. Telehealth cannot only expand the reach of services to communities that have limited access to needed services, but also provide minimize exposure for both the health worker and patients who are at high risk for infection. This allows patients to receive health services away from settings where potential for contracting COVID-19 are high, such as hospitals and waiting rooms. The National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers will be holding a webinar on March 19th exploring further uses and benefits of telehealth during the COVID-19 outbreak.


HRSA

National Health Service Corps (NHSC) is accepting applications for its loan repayment programs now through April 23, 2020

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) is accepting applications for its three loan repayment programs: the NHSC Loan Repayment Program, the NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program and the NHSC Rural Community Loan Repayment Program. Each program has a different Application and Program Guide with the detailed information you need to apply, including eligibility requirements, site information, documentation, and service requirements. Read the Application and Program Guide carefully before you start your application.


HRSA

Funding Opportunity: Opioid-Impacted Family Support Program

The purpose of the program is to support training programs that expand the number of peer support specialists and other behavioral health related paraprofessionals who are trained to work in integrated, interprofessional teams in providing services to children whose parents are impacted by OUD and other SUD, and their family members who are in guardianship roles. Submission due date is April 13, 2020.


DHHS

Now Available: Sentinel Events Newsletter

The latest newsletter prepared by the Sentinel Events Team of the Division of Licensing and Certification is available. Communication in health care, burnout and suicide prevention are topics that are examined in this issue.


DHHS

Certification Program for Primary Care and Dental Tax Credit

The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded the tax credit certifications to eligible primary care and dental professionals for tax year 2019. Thank you all for your interest. Unsuccessful applicants: Please note that you may reapply in a subsequent tax year.


Federal Office

HRSA Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will make approximately 79 awards from a total investment of $48.2 million. The program funds eligible academic institutions that train health profession students. The institutions then make scholarships available to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who have financial need. Eligible applicants are accredited schools of allopathic and osteopathic medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, podiatric medicine, optometry, veterinary medicine, public health, chiropractic, and allied health; schools offering a graduate program in behavioral and mental health practice; and programs for physician assistant training. Students should contact their financial aid office to find out if their school participates.

Other announcements from the Office of Rural Health Policy: Week of January 9, 2020 (PDF)


HRSA

Applying for the National Health Service Corps Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program or the Rural Community Loan Repayment Program? Get Your DATA 2000 Waiver

One of the tools to combat the opioid crisis is increasing the number of clinicians who are eligible to provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) services. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides free MAT training and resources, via the Providers Clinical Support System (PCSS)1, for eligible clinicians. After completing MAT training, eligible clinicians can request DATA 2000 waivers to treat opioid dependency with approved buprenorphine products.

Applicants for the NHSC SUD Loan Repayment Program or the Rural Community Loan Repayment Program may receive priority if they have DATA 2000 waivers.


Federal Office

Overview of Behavioral Health in Rural America.

For a deeper examination of behavioral health in rural areas, the Rural Policy Research Institute provides an overview of mental health conditions and contributing factors, and proposes policy options to address them.

Other announcements from the Office of Rural Health Policy: Week of December 19, 2019 (PDF)


NRHD

National Rural Health Day

Thank you to all who came to the Rural Health and Primary Care Program's NRHD event at the Hall of Flags to thank all the providers, administrators and support personnel who have committed themselves to providing care to the rural and underserved residents of Maine, celebrate the successes and bring attention to the work that still needs to be done. A big thank you also goes out to Commissioner Lambrew for speaking and congratulations go out again to our awardees:Kris Doody, RN, CEO; The Maine AHEC Network and Teresa Alley, RDH.

Today is not too early to be thinking about what you can do to celebrate National Rural Health Day 2020.


J-1 Visa Waiver Program

Also known as the Conrad State 30 Program, the J-1 Visa Waiver Program helps address shortages of qualified doctors in rural areas. In exchange for a waiver of certain visa restrictions, including the two-year foreign residency requirement, international medical graduates agree to complete their medical training in the United States and practice primary care for at least three years at an eligible site.

All slots are currently filled. The next application cycle will begin on October 1, 2020.

Note to attorneys and future applicants: Updates to the J-1 Visa Waiver application process are likely to be enacted within the next year. Please check for new rules prior to preparing and submitting applications for the 2020 application cycle.


3rnet

Public Health and Transportation Webinar Series Part One: Collaborating Together for Community Health

Part one of our public health and transportation webinar series will focus on how public health and transportation professionals can work together to support community health and well-being. This webinar will provide an opportunity for mobility management and transportation practitioners to hear from public health professionals on potential areas for collaboration between the two sectors, and discuss ideas for developing, implementing, and evaluating initiatives to improve community health.


3rnet

Free Educational Opportunity: 3RNet's 2019 Academy

As National Health Service Corps slots and State Loan Repayment Programs become more competitive, it is more important than ever to learn new strategies to recruit providers and then keep the providers that we have already incentivized to remain.

3RNet's 2019 webinar series, Recruiting for Retention Hierarchy: Building the Foundation, will examine the recruiting process - everything from planning and preparation to sourcing to closing the deal. Without a well defined recruitment process, employers will be hard pressed to succeed in recruitment efforts.

The Maine Rural Health and Primary Care Program is offering this educational opportunity to all working in Maine's rural and underserved facilities at no cost. Register Now!


HRSA

The Shortage Designation Modernization Project and Auto HPSA Update

The Shortage Designation Project is a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) initiative to modernize current shortage designation processes while maintaining transparency, accountability, and parity. The project is currently in Phase 2, which includes updates to all auto-HPSA facilities of the following types:

  • Federally Qualified Health Centers
  • Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alikes
  • Tribally-Run Clinics
  • Urban Indian Organizations
  • Dual-Funded Tribal Health
  • Federally-Run Indian Health Service Clinics
  • Rural Health Clinics meeting NHSC site requirements

The impact analysis portion of the project is now complete and the portal is ready for use. The Maine Primary Care Office is in the process of analyzing data and initiating supplemental data rescores. Should HRSA accept the documentation that will be submitted, all 47 organizations should receive an additional two points for their mental health designation due to alcohol and substance misuse and approximately 75 percent of organizations should receive an additional point for their dental health designation due to lack of fluoridation. Nearest Sources of Care are currently under review.

Detailed information regarding the project can still be found at the Shortage Modernization Project Website. Please contact the office should you have any questions.


Moving Maine

Networking/Learning Opportunity: Mobility Management Peer Learning Network

Join other transportation stakeholders on the third Tuesday of every other month from 12-1 to learn about mobility management from your peers. Each learning session will cover either a different aspect of mobility management or a different way mobility management is applied in Maine.


HRSA

Attention: NHSC sites

Is your facility a National Health Service Corps site? If so, the primary care office division of the Rural Health and Primary Care Program would like to remind you that, in return for recruitment/retention resources and assistance, facilities must continually meet Program requirements. In addition, unless auto-approved, facilities must complete recertification applications once every three years. Program information and requirements are all outlined in the most recent NHSC Site Reference Guide (PDF). You may wish to pay particular attention to some areas of concern from some recent reviews:

  • Have you updated your nondiscrimination statement to include all protected categories? Not sure? Check out the poster (PDF).
  • Is your sliding fee schedule out-of-date? The 2019 guidelines are available.
  • Does your sliding fee policy have conditions beyond proof of family income and family size? Eligibility cannot include other factors such as assets, insurance status, participation in the Health Insurance Marketplace, citizenship, population type, etc. See page 16 of the Guide (PDF) and page 3 of the Information Package (PDF).

Please contact the Rural Health and Primary Care Program should you have any questions.


Federal Office

New Resource from RHIhub: Human Services to Support Rural Health

A new topic guide launched last month at the Rural Health Information Hub provides a comprehensive look at social determinants of health and the role that factors such as food assistance, job training, and safe housing play on the overall health of rural communities. The guide uses data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service and other federal data sources to scope social and economic well-being in rural areas, reviews federal assistance programs, and answers a list of frequently asked questions about integrating social services with health care.

Other announcements from the Office of Rural Health Policy: Week of April 4, 2019 (PDF)



Federal Office

New Data on Suicide Mortality and Drug Overdose Deaths

Using data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a report on rates of suicide in the United States from 1999 to 2017. The data brief ranks suicide as the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-34 and the fourth leading cause for ages 35-54. For the most recent year studied, the age-adjusted suicide rate for the most rural counties was nearly twice (1.8 times) the rate for the most urban counties.

In a separate data brief from the CDC, the NVSS showed there were 70,237 drug overdose deaths in 2017. Maine was one of 20 states having a drug overdose death rate higher than the national rate (21.7 per 100,000).

Other announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy: Week of December 6, 2018 (PDF)


Federal Office

Evidence-based Toolkits for Rural Community Health

These step-by-step guideson subjects including care coordination, health promotion and community health workers, provide resources and examples drawn from evidence-based and promising programs for rural communities. The toolkits glean information from HRSA/FORHP-funded grant programs to showcase what works and why and are made available by NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis and the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center in collaboration with the Rural Health Information Hub.

Other announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy: Week of June 28, 2018 (PDF)


3rnet

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?

3Rnetis 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.


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.

DHHS News