Nurse Jennifer Witting stands beside newly installed telemedicine equipment at the Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital in Laurium, MI in June 2012. The Aspirus Health Foundation, Inc. received two Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grants through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development (RD) DLT Program, that enabled Aspirus to grow their Telehealth infrastructure into communities in north-central Wisconsin and the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. USDA photo.
This week at USDA we are celebrating National Health IT week by highlighting USDA’s ongoing efforts to expand modern health care access to rural America. Yesterday, we announced two new steps to improve health care for rural Americans – both through new investments in health infrastructure and ongoing interagency partnerships designed to better focus Federal efforts on rural health care.
USDA is expanding a partnership with HHS and the Department of Veterans Affairs, as part of our work together on the White House Rural Council, to leverage funds and other efforts that will support advanced health care technology in rural hospitals. This partnership is an extension of a successful pilot launched in five states – Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi and Texas – to identify rural critical access hospitals in persistent poverty areas in need of advanced health care technology. For example, during the pilot phase of this partnership, the USDA Rural Development Iowa State Office, the Iowa Regional Health IT Extension Center (REC) and the Iowa State Office of Rural Health convened the first Iowa Rural Health IT Forum to expand care for Critical Access Hospitals. Read more »
Two years ago last week, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act – the law that gives hard working, middle-class families the health security they deserve.
For too long, rural Americans have been getting the short end of the health care stick, with limited options, fewer doctors and nurses, and more expensive insurance. But the new law is building a stronger health system in rural communities – increasing payments to rural health care providers, strengthening Medicare, and training thousands of new primary care doctors who will serve in rural areas. Read more »
It’s no secret that Americans in rural areas sometimes struggle to get the health care they need. Whether it’s a farmer losing his health insurance because he has no good choices or a mom putting off treatment because it’s too expensive, or hard to find a doctor nearby, rural Americans too often go without critical preventive care – and pay more out of pocket they receive. Read more »
Small businesses are the backbone of this country. They employ nearly half of the workers in rural America and are an integral part of the American economy.
Today, Congress will vote on whether or not to repeal this new law, just as its benefits are beginning to reach rural Americans. Repeal of the health care law would result in higher health insurance costs for thousands of small businesses. We cannot afford to let that happen. Read more »