Funding Alert! Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – Implementation Grants

United States Department of Health and Human Services – Health Resources and Services Administration

Does your organization work to address substance use disorder in rural communities? The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently posted information about a forecasted funding opportunity with its Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP). RCORP is a multi-year initiative that focuses on reducing the morbidity and mortality of substance use disorder (SUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD) in rural communities. This particular opportunity focuses on RCORP-Implementation grants. Let’s take a closer look at this forecasted grant program, using information from the (closed) funding opportunity announcement from an earlier 2020 cycle.

What is the goal of RCORP?

In 2017, HHS published its Five-Point Strategy to Combat Opioid Abuse, Misuse, and Overdose, which outlines five steps for local communities to take in addressing the opioid epidemic. With this strategy in mind, RCORP-Implementation award recipients will implement a variety of required core SUD/OUD prevention, treatment, and recovery activities. These activities are evidence-based and tailored to meet the unique needs of each recipient’s community. The overall goal of RCORP is to strengthen and expand SUD/OUD services at the local level to improve access to treatment and recovery for rural residents.

Proposed RCORP-Implementation projects must include the following components:

  1. Prevention Core Activities: Provide accessible education for family members, caregivers, and the public; increase access to and training for the use of naloxone in rural communities; implement year-round drug take-back programs; increase and support the use of school- and community-based SUD and OUD prevention programs; and identify, screen, and/or refer to support services individuals who are at risk for SUD/OUD.
  2. Treatment Core Activities: Screen and provide/refer patients with SUD/OUD and co-existing complications or infections; recruit, mentor, and train interdisciplinary teams of SUD/OUD service providers who can provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT); provide professional development opportunities and training for service providers; reduce barriers to treatment for at-risk populations; strengthen collaboration with law enforcement and first responders; train providers, staff, and stakeholders in insurance billing and reimbursement procedures; and enable individuals, families, and caregivers to find, access, and navigate SUD/OUD treatment and supports.
  3. Recovery Core Activities: Improve discharge coordination for those exiting inpatient treatment and/or the criminal justice system; expand peer workforce and interventionist training across various settings; and expand the availability of and access to recovery support teams and services.

Depending on the unique needs of their communities, applicants may propose additional project activities beyond those listed above, including activities that strengthen local capacity to combat methamphetamine misuse.

The funder expects to award 78 grants of up to $1,000,000 each. This program involves a three-year period of performance.

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible applicants include state, county, city/township, or special district governments; nonprofits with or without 501(c)(3) status; private institutions of higher education; public/tribal housing authorities; and federally recognized Native American tribal governments. The applicant organization may be in either an urban or rural area, but the local control for the award must be vested in the targeted rural communities.

In addition, RCORP-Implementation recipients are expected to form a rural consortium by partnering with at least three other separately owned entities to implement the outlined SUD/OUD activities.

What makes a project a good fit?

All grant-funded activities must take place in HRSA-designated rural counties or rural census tracts in urban counties, as defined by the Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer. Projects should focus primarily on OUD but also consider and address the unique needs of the community in which the activities will take place.

What if I am ready to apply? Keep an eye out on the opportunity summary page; the final package for this grant and the due date have not yet been announced. To prepare, though, you can take the following action steps ASAP:

What if I need help with this application?

Contact Assel Grant Services today! Our team can help with all aspects of preparing the application and managing the grant if you are awarded. If you would like to discuss this possibility, please contact AGS as soon as possible. Rosie Brennan, community engagement specialist, will be happy to talk with you about this opportunity and provide you a quote for grant services.

What if I am not ready to apply this year?

Start planning ahead for next year’s round. The general RCORP website has ample FAQs, resources, webinars, and descriptions of other opportunities available.

Competency #1: Knowledge of how to research, identify, and match funding resources to meet specific needs

Skill 1.2: Identify major trends in public funding and public policy

Skill 1.6: Identify fundable programs and projects for specific organization

Skill 1.7: Determine best matches between funders and specific programs

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