The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has granted more than $22 million to support healthcare in rural areas, including nearly $3 million in funds that will provide resources and expertise for telehealth solutions.
Through grant programs administered by the Office of Rural Health Policy, located within HRSA, the awards went out to more than 100 rural communities in 42 states. The grants also aim to improve emergency medical services, and help communities build networks of care, according to an HRSA announcement.
The grant programs relating to telehealth include:
- More than $2.3 million to the Evidence-Based Tele-Emergency Network Program to expand capabilities in remote emergency departments and determine the effectiveness of tele-emergency care for rural patients and providers.
- More than $600,000 to the Telehealth Resource Centers, which assist healthcare organizations, networks and providers with implementation of cost-effective telehealth programs in rural areas.
Telehealth Resource Centers (TRCs) are funded by HRSA’s Office for the Advancement of Telehealth, which is part of the Office of Rural Health Policy. Nationally, there are a total of 14 TRCs which include 12 regional centers and two national centers, which focus on areas of technology assessment and telehealth policy.
In addition, HRSA will dole out more than $11 million for the Rural Health Network Development Program, augmenting $4.4 million awarded in May 2014, to help coordinate essential healthcare services at the community level among three or more providers.
“Rural communities have some of the greatest needs for expanding access to healthcare,” HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N., said in a statement. “These investments represent our commitment at the federal level to support partners on the ground, who are working to strengthen healthcare delivery in every area of the country.”