HRSA updates definition of 'rural' to extend hospital grant eligibility

The Health Resources and Services Administration finalized this week its proposal to modify the list of geographic areas considered rural in an effort to extend grant eligibility for hospitals. 

The new definition of rural area now includes outlying metropolitan statistical area counties with no urbanized area population. These counties are now eligible for rural health grant programs. 

HRSA's Office of Federal Rural Health Policy said that the change will result in 295 counties meeting the new criteria. 

The changes take effect for rural health grant opportunities that start in fiscal year 2022. 

The changes are expected to be published in the Federal Register Jan. 12. 

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