It has been five years since the President announced that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) signed an agreement to streamline how our programs work together to support rural health and to improve the health and wellbeing of rural communities through the use of technology and health information that is accessible when and where it matters most.
In those five years, rural communities and rural health care providers in every state and territory have accessed USDA financing and HHS technical assistance to help improve local access to care and, and to support an interoperable health system.
For example, USDA Rural Development has financed projects to:
- Build rural hospitals and expand rural health clinics
- Rehabilitate infrastructure (e.g., servers, routers, computer docking stations) for wired and wireless health IT solutions in Critical Access Hospitals.
- Purchase, install and adopt equipment and software necessary to ensure interoperable exchange of health information and support advanced health IT capabilities.
- Offer telehealth specialty care in retirement communities and skilled nursing facilities,
- Help health care organizations serving Indian and Tribal Reservations transition from paper to electronic health records
- Enable rural hospitals to add beds for mental and behavioral health care and
- Improve senior living conditions