Oregon Office of Rural Health

April 2020 Newsletter

ORH Newsletter

ORH to Receive Federal CARES Funds to Support Oregon’s Rural Hospitals

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy has awarded the Oregon Office of Rural Health (ORH) funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to support Oregon’s rural hospitals for COVID-19 related activities. The funds will support rural hospitals that are seeing increased demands for clinical services and equipment, as well as those experiencing short-term financial and workforce challenges related to COVID-19. This funding is complementary to other COVID-19 programs, such as the financial relief for Medicare providers.

ORH will distribute funds via the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) grant mechanism. While SHIP COVID-19 funding will be disbursed via the SHIP process, it is specifically for COVID-19 needs and not associated with existing annual SHIP funding categories.

If you have questions about SHIP COVID-19 awards, please contact Rebecca Dobert.

ORH COVID-19 Resource Page Available

ORH has developed a one-stop COVID-19 resource page focused on our rural areas.  You can find information relating to data, critical access hospitals, rural health clinics, workforce and more.  ORH staff updates this information regularly. If you have questions concerning the ORH COVID-19 page, please contact Sarah Andersen.

The ORH introduces and organizes federal and state telehealth policy implications of the CARES Act, Oregon 1135 waiver, Oregon Health Plan temporary administrative orders, as well as payment and external organization resources, webinars, start-up guides and more in this Interactive Story Map. We hope this repository will help anyone interested easily find and access Oregon and federal telehealth policy. We welcome your feedback! Please contact Rose Locklear with any feedback or questions about this story map. 

2020 Forum on Aging in Rural Oregon Cancelled

To keep attendees safe and to comply with Oregon’s Emergency Declaration, ORH has cancelled the Forum on Aging that was scheduled to be held at The Riverhouse on the Deschutes in Bend from May 27-29.

ORH is working with presenters to offer webinars that cover the important information the Forum on Aging provides in the coming months. Please check our website for information on upcoming Forum on Aging webinars.

 Please contact Rose Locklear with questions about the Forum on Aging. 

Forum on Aging Webinar Scheduled on Assistive Technology

Join ORH on April 29 at 12:00 pm for our first webinar presented by the Forum on Aging. Kevin Roebke (Oregon Public Utility Commission) and Brian Sacre (Access Technology Inc.) will provide insight into state assistive technology programs including the Oregon State Assistive Technology Program (OSATP), National Deaf Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDEDP), and Telecommunication Devices Access Program (TDAP). Learn about the assistive technologies each program offers as well as eligibility, benefits, how to select a potentially expensive piece of technology, and how to get connected to affordable phone and internet services.

No registration necessary. Join the webinar here at 12:00 pm on April 29.

Please contact Rose Locklear with questions.

2020 Oregon Rural Health Conference

The 2020 Rural Health Conference will be held October 7-9, 2020 at The Riverhouse on the Deschutes in Bend. Registration will open in July. Check out the great sessions from last year’s conference and get the latest information on the 2020 conference at our website.

To become a conference partner, please contact Laura Potter or Robert Duehmig.

FY20-21 Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program Grant (SHIP) Period Begins June 1, 2020

Despite the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020-2021 SHIP grant year remains scheduled to begin on June 1, 2020. ORH anticipates receiving Notice of Award this month, with final award amounts determined at that time.

Invoicing for FY19-20 projects is also ongoing. Awardees with delayed or incomplete work due to prioritization of COVID-19 response will not be penalized. ORH awaits final decision about how projects may be carried forward and will share specifics once they are available. 

Please contact Rebecca Dobert I (971) 271-0481 with any SHIP questions.

The SHIP award assists hospitals in meeting the costs of implementing data system requirements established under the Medicare Program, and with the ability to increase and track improvements to the value and quality of the care they provide. Eligible small rural hospitals include hospitals with 49 available beds or less and may be for-profit, not-for-profit or tribal organizations, and include Critical Access Hospitals.


In response to COVID-19’s impact on academic institutions and students the NHSC Scholarship application deadline has been extended to Friday, May 15, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. ET. During this application cycle the program will also have new flexibility with required applicant documentation. For more information click here visit the program’s webpage.