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Rural Health Network Development Planning Program


Additional Links

Notice of Funding Opportunity (


Application Deadline: Jan 26, 2024


Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP)


Awards funding to assist rural communities with the planning of integrated healthcare networks to better address the health needs of rural residents. Promotes the creation of integrated networks to meet challenges health systems face in rural areas, such as transitioning to value-based care and increasing the use of health information technology and alternative care delivery models. Allows applicants to identify and address a focus area for the planning project based on specific community needs, and encourages projects to prioritize other important clinical areas, including opioid use disorder (OUD) and other substance use disorders (SUDs), childhood obesity, maternal, mortality, and mental health.

Planning activities must address 1 of the following goals:

  1. Achieve efficiencies in health systems through network collaboration and improve regional and local delivery of rural healthcare services. Examples of planning activities include:
    • Conducting a community health and/or provider needs assessments at the regional and/or local level
    • Updating a health information technology plan, which helps to improve outcomes for rural patients, based on the current standards of care, reporting enhancements and/or capacity
    • Identifying a plan for developing regional systems of care to better meet rural patient concerns
    • Identifying opportunities for the network to better address regional and/or local population health needs.
  2. Expand access to, enhance coordination, and improve the quality of basic healthcare services and associated health outcomes by focusing on capacity building and developing network infrastructure to serve rural communities at the local and regional level. Examples of planning activities include:
    • Developing a network business and/or operations plan
    • Identifying the degree to which the network members are ready to integrate their functions and share clinical and/or administrative resources
    • Assessing appropriateness/readiness for Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) accreditation
    • Identifying strategies to communicate with the community about changes in the healthcare landscape and how to maintain access to viable healthcare services
    • Developing a plan to expand the role of emergency medical services (EMS) within the community, including loss of services as a result of a hospital closure/conversion
    • Developing a data use and sharing agreement to facilitate strategic and sustainability planning
  3. Strengthen the rural healthcare system as a whole through community and partner relationships that promote participation in network planning activities to improve the regional healthcare system. Examples of planning activities include:
    • Identifying ways to encourage cross-organizational collaboration and leadership commitment
    • Assessing the network's sustainability and viability
    • Identifying and establishing ways to obtain regional and/or local community support/buy-in around the development of the network
    • Identify a strategy to leverage broadband connectivity to support health information technology applications in rural communities

Project focus areas for past network planning grants can be found in the Rural Health Network Development Planning Program 2022 Grantee Directory. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Mental and behavioral health
  • Health equity
  • Care coordination
  • Integrated health services
  • Chronic disease prevention and management
  • Health information technology
  • Telehealth
  • Transportation
  • Housing

Amount of Funding

Award ceiling: $100,000
Project period: 1 year
Estimated number of awards: 30
Estimated total program funding: $3,000,000

Who Can Apply

Domestic public or private, non-profit or for-profit entities, including community-based organizations, tribes, and tribal organizations are eligible to apply.

Eligible applicants may be located in a rural or urban area but must demonstrate experience or the capacity to serve rural, underserved populations. All areas served by the project must be located in Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA)-designated rural counties or rural census tracts in urban counties. Applicants can determine whether a specific area is designated as rural by using the Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer.

Applicant organizations must represent a broad, diverse network comprised of at least 3 or more separately owned healthcare provider entities, including the applicant organization. Network members may be rural or urban; however, at least 66% of the network must be composed of entities located in HRSA-designated rural areas, as determined by the HRSA Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer. Additional network requirements can be found in the funding announcement.

Previous Network Planning Grant award recipients proposing a continuation of an awarded project and existing networks seeking only to expand services or their service area are not eligible.

Existing networks are eligible to apply if they meet the following requirements:

  • Seek to expand services or service areas
  • Include new or additional partners
  • Target a new population or new focus area

Applicants should indicate in the project abstract and Attachment 8 their request for funding preference. Funding preference will be granted to applicants who can demonstrate that they meet at least 1 of the following qualifications:

  • Qualification 1: Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) preference is given to applicants located in an officially designated HPSA. Applicants can use the HPSA Find Tool to determine if an address is located in a HPSA.
  • Qualification 2: Medically Underserved Community/Populations (MUC/MUPs) preference is given to applicants located in a medically underserved community or serves medically underserved populations. Applicants can use the HRSA Shortage Designation Tool to determine if an address is located in a MUC or serves a MUP.
  • Qualification 3: Focus on Primary Care, Wellness and Prevention Strategies preference is given to programs that focus on primary care, wellness, and prevention strategies. Applicants must include a brief justification, no more than 3 sentences, describing how their program focuses on primary care, wellness, and prevention strategies.

Geographic Coverage


What This Program Funds

Capacity Building • Equipment • Training Providers

Application Process

Application instructions, requirements, and other information can be found in the funding announcement.

Applicants are required to notify their State Office of Rural Health (SORH) of their intent to apply to this program.


For programmatic or technical questions:
Nkem Osian, MPH

For grants management or budget questions:
Eric Brown

Rural Awards

Examples of past awards rural communities have received are described on the program website.

Topics This Program Addresses

Community Planning and Coalition Building • Emergency Medical Services • Healthcare Facilities • Infrastructure • Teleservices and Technology