HHS Announces Availability of $13 Million to Increase Behavioral Health Care Access in Rural Communities

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced the availability of $13 million in funding to increase access to behavioral health care services and address health inequities in rural America, including through evidence-based, trauma-informed treatment for substance use disorder.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused behavioral health challenges for Americans of all ages and backgrounds,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “This investment is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to address the inequities that still exist surrounding behavioral health and advance care in rural America. It will support comprehensive behavioral health prevention, treatment, harm reduction and recovery interventions in rural communities – furthering the goals of our new overdose prevention strategy.”

HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy will make awards through the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) – Behavioral Health Care Support. Eligible applicants include entities such as Rural Health Clinics, federally recognized tribes, tribal organizations, and community- and faith-based organizations.

“Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic must include meeting the behavioral health needs of individuals experiencing substance use disorder,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “In rural areas, accessing the care and services to address these needs can be a particular challenge. The funding we are announcing today is directly targeted to the community needs of rural areas and will help expand access to behavioral health services to meet these needs.”

Since 2018, the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – a multi-year initiative administered by HRSA – has provided over $400 million in direct grants and technical assistance to rural communities addressing behavioral health care challenges, including substance use disorder. To date, the initiative has expanded access to substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services in over 1,500 counties nationwide, with RCORP grant recipients serving over 2 million individuals in rural communities in FY 2020.

Applicants can begin the RCORP-Behavioral Health Care Support application process on Grants.gov and must apply by Tuesday, April 19, 2022 at 11:59 PM, ET. Visit the Notice of Funding Opportunity for more information.

For more information about efforts to address barriers to treatment for substance use disorder in rural areas, visit HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.

To learn about the HHS Overdose Prevention Strategy, visit https://www.hhs.gov/overdose-prevention/.

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to improving health outcomes and promoting health equity in rural America. In 2021, thanks to the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the Department of Health and Human Services has invested over $16 billion to strengthen rural health. Read the Fact Sheet on HHS Investments to Strengthen Rural Health.

Originally published at https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2022/01/18/hhs-announces-availability-13-million-increase-behavioral-health-care-access-rural-communities.html

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