NCMS Morning Rounds 9-8-21

Happy Wednesday! Enjoy your NCMS Morning Rounds.

September 8, 2021

Emergency Rural Health Care Grants for COVID-19 Recovery

Applications due October 12, 2021

The Emergency Rural Health Care program is designed to help broaden access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines, rural health care services, and food assistance through food banks and food distribution facilities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Emergency Rural Health Care Grants offers two tracks of funding to eligible applicants:

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

Eligible applicants include public bodies, community-based nonprofits, and federally-recognized Tribes. Facilities and projects supported through this grant must be in rural areas with populations of 20,000 or fewer and must primarily serve rural areas. See this two-page fact sheet for an overview of the program.

Funding Still Available: CHCs Can Receive $3,000 for Each Provider who Receives a DATA 2000 Waiver

Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) has established a new program to provide Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) (and Rural Health Clinics [RHCs]) with $3,000 for each employed provider who attained a DATA 2000 waiver (to allow them to prescribe buprenorphine) on or after January 1, 2019. FQHCs can apply here. There is no application deadline, but funds are limited. Approximately $4 million in program funding remains available and will be paid on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted.  For more information, see this video and FAQs.

Template Available for Comments on Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposal due Monday, Sept. 13

Health centers are encouraged to submit comments to CMS on the Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC)-related provisions in the proposed CY2022 Physician Fee Schedule, including the following key themes:

  • Support for the proposal to update the regulatory definition of a “mental health visit” so that FQHCs can permanently provide these services via telehealth;
  • A request to update the regulatory visit of a “medical visit” so that FQHCs can permanently provide these services via telehealth, without the need for Congressional action; and
  • A request to allow FQHCs to bill and be reimbursed for remote patient monitoring (RPM) services under the Physician Fee Schedule – as fee schedule providers have been able to do since 2019.

These and other issues are addressed in a short template comment letter that health centers can adapt. Comments are due on Monday, September 13.

In the News

Climate Change Is World’s Top Public Health Threat, 230+ Medical Journals Say, Becker’s, 9-7-21

Learning Opportunity

NC Population Health Collaborative (NCPHC) Meeting: “Using REAL Data to Drive Equitable Outcomes,” September 9, 2021 | 11:00am – 1:00pm, VIRTUAL – ZOOM

Please Join us for the September NC Population Health Collaborative (NCPHC) Meeting, a panel discussion in partnership with Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy.

Register here.

Registration is limited, so please sign up as soon as possible.

Zoom link & meeting ID will be included in your registration confirmation email.

If you have any issues connecting, please contact Ayesha Andrews at

For more information on the North Carolina Population Health Collaborative, please contact Kristen Spaduzzi,


If you have policies you’d like your NCMS Board of Directors to consider, please complete the Board input form here. Thanks for reading!


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