HHS Announces $32M in Funds To Boost Rural Access to Health Care
On Monday, HHS announced the release of $32 million from this year's White House health budget for seven programs designed to improve the quality of care and care coordination in rural areas, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Lillis, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/23).
A majority of the money -- $22 million -- will be allocated to the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program, an initiative launched in 1998 to boost the quality of care provided by critical access hospitals and to improve the hospitals' finances and delivery systems (HHS release, 8/23).
The funding awards also include:
- More than $3 million for the Rural Health Workforce Development Program, a temporary plan to recruit and retain health workers in rural areas;
- More than $2 million for the Telehealth Network Grant Program to foster remote delivery of care ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/23);
- More than $1 million for the Telehealth Resource Program, which aims to help rural providers implement telehealth initiatives (HHS release, 8/23);
- Nearly $1 million for the Flex Rural Veterans Health Access Program, intended to find innovative ways to provide mental health care to veterans in rural areas ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/23);
- $770,000 for the Frontier Community Health Integration Demonstration Program, intended to find new care delivery models for frontier regions; and
- Nearly $500,000 for the Rural Training Track Technical Assistance Demonstration Program, which is intended to increase the number of family medicine physicians who participate in rural residency programs (HHS release, 8/23).