HHS, VA Announce Joint Rural Health IT Initiative | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

HHS, VA Announce Joint Rural Health IT Initiative

September 13, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

Recently, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Eric K. Shinseki announced a joint effort between the two agencies to expand healthcare delivery for veterans living in rural areas through grants that aim to improve access and coordination of care through telehealth and health information exchange.

The agreement between the two agencies promotes collaboration between VA facilities and private hospitals and clinics, and is supported by $983,100 in grants. The three states with the highest density of veteran residents—Virginia, Montana and Alaska—will each receive approximately $300,000 to implement or upgrade telehealth capabilities for veterans who must otherwise travel long distances to access medical, mental and behavioral healthcare. 

“The Obama administration is committed to doing all that we can to provide rural veterans the care they need closer to home,” Secretary Sebelius said in a statement.  “As more combat veterans return home, HHS and VA are partnering to provide vital health care and treatment to reduce the distance some veterans have to travel.” 

According to HHS, grants will be used for telehealth equipment and to develop EHRs that are compatible with the VA’s Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VISTA) system. The grants, HHS says, are part of a pilot program to spur collaborative telehealth networks and virtual linkages among rural health providers and the VA to help meet the needs of rural veterans. The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) is working to implement health information exchange among VA hospitals and rural hospitals to.

“This is an outstanding example of a partnership that expands access to care and improves quality of life for rural veterans,” Secretary Shinseki said in a statement. “Working with partners like HHS, VA will continue to increase the reach of our services beyond our 152 major medical centers to ensure veterans receive the care they have earned and deserve.”

Topics

News

Former Michigan Governor to Serve as Chair of DRIVE Health

Former Michigan Governor John Engler will serve as chair of the DRIVE Health Initiative, a campaign aimed at accelerating the U.S. health system's transition to value-based care.

NJ Medical Group Launches Statewide HIE, OneHealth New Jersey

The Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) recently launched OneHealth New Jersey, a statewide health information exchange (HIE) that is now live.

Survey: 70% of Providers Using Off-Premises Computing for Some Applications

A survey conducted by KLAS Research found that 70 percent of healthcare organizations have moved at least some applications or IT infrastructure off-premises.

AMIA Warns of Tax Bill’s Impact on Graduate School Programs in Informatics

Provisions in the Republican tax bill that would count graduate student tuition waivers as taxable income would have detrimental impacts on the viability of fields such as informatics, according to the American Medical Informatics Association.

Appalachia Project to Study Relationship Between Increased Broadband Access, Improved Cancer Care

The Federal Communications Commission and the National Cancer Institute have joined forces to focus on how increasing broadband access and adoption in rural areas can improve the lives of rural cancer patients.

Survey: By 2019, 60% of Medicare Revenues will be Tied to Risk

Medical groups and health systems that are members of AMGA (the American Medical Group Association) expect that nearly 60 percent of their revenues from Medicare will be from risk-based products by 2019, according to the results from a recent survey.