The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced funding to establish telemedicine and other health care projects to address unmet health care needs in rural areas.
Vilsack said these projects can provide care to patients without care and hopefully reduce the incidence of stroke, mental illness, and other health disorders. The grant will fund healthcare 10 projects in six states that will deliver health services to areas currently lacking adequate care and deliver services to 25 persistent poverty counties.
For example, Rural Development funds will be used to finance the Delta Electronic Intensive Care Unit network to link five hospitals in the most rural and impoverished counties of the Mississippi Delta. In Alabama, Rural Development funds will finance "Healthcare on Wheels," to provide health care services in areas currently lacking clinics, hospitals, emergency and general provider services.
Established under the 2008 Farm Bill, the grants are awarded to eligible entities, including health care professionals, institutions of research and higher education, to serve communities with no more than 50,000 inhabitants to address unmet health needs in the Delta region, which comprises the 252 counties and parishes within the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee that are served by the Delta Regional Authority.