By Brian Skinner, Esq.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), via the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), today announced that it has awarded approximately $25 million to 80 award recipients across 36 states and two territories as part of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP). RCORP is a multi-year HRSA initiative to reduce morbidity and mortality of substance use disorder (SUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD) in high-risk rural communities. Today’s announcement builds upon HRSA’s RCORP awards made this August, reflecting a total fiscal year 2020 investment of nearly $115 million.
HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) awarded nearly $15 million to 30 award recipients through the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (RCORP-NAS). West Virginia received nearly $1.5 million in awards – Logan County received $499,943, Southern Highlands Community Mental Health Center, Inc. in Princeton received $499,998, and the WV Perinatal Partnership, Inc. in Charleston received $499,950. In Ohio, Hopewell Health Centers, Inc. in Athens received an award of $500,000. Each award is made over three-years to reduce the incidence and impact of neonatal abstinence syndrome in rural communities by improving systems of care, family supports, and social determinants of health
While the focus of RCORP-NAS is primarily opioid use disorder (OUD), applicants may also choose to address additional substances of concern or substance use disorders (SUDs) among the target population. The target population is pregnant women, mothers, and women of childbearing age who have a history of, or who are at risk for, SUD/OUD and their children, families, and caregivers who reside in rural areas.
In addition, through the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Planning (RCORP-Planning), $10 million is being awarded to 50 award recipients to strengthen and expand the capacity of rural communities to provide SUD/OUD prevention, treatment, and recovery services to high-risk populations. The Williamson Health and Wellness Center in Williamson, WV and the Lorain County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services, Inc. in Lorain, OH each received $200,000 to build partnerships and develop comprehensive plans to address SUD/OUD workforce and service delivery challenges in their communities.
Through the RCORP initiative, the funding will help rural communities address barriers to care and additional strains that COVID-19 has placed on both rural individuals with SUD and on rural organizations providing prevention, treatment, and recovery services.
To learn about HRSA-supported resources, visit HRSA’s Opioid Crisis page.
For more information about the federal government’s response to the opioid crisis, visit: https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/.
Brian is the former counsel to the West Virginia House of Delegates Judiciary Committee and counsel to the West Virginia Senate Minority Caucus. He was also general counsel to the West Virginia State Health Officer and Commissioner for the Bureau for Public Health. He has almost two-decades of experience as a strategic advisor and chief legal counsel to both executive and legislative branch public officials.