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 »
USDA Rural Development staff visited with Jasonville, Indiana town officials earlier this month during a ceremony celebrating the town’s purchase of a new flex fuel police vehicle.
Utilizing an Economic Impact Initiative (EII) Grant to fund 75 percent of the vehicle purchase price, Assistant Police Chief James E. Gadberry talked about how pleased the department was in working with USDA Rural Development.
He also noted three days after the vehicle arrived, it played an instrumental role during a high speed chase involving a suspected methamphetamine distributor. The vehicle performed perfectly during the pursuit and ultimate apprehension of the individual. Read more »
USDA Rural Development Housing Administrator Tammye Trevino and Rural Development Louisiana State Director Clarence Hawkins kick-started the new year by holding a White House Business Council Stakeholder’s meeting in Luling, Louisiana, located in St. Charles Parish near New Orleans. The focus of the stakeholder’s meeting was rural housing. The focus fit perfectly in line with Administrator Trevino’s primary reason for visiting Louisiana.
Administrator Trevino, along with Bryan Hooper, Deputy Administrator of USDA’s Multi-Family Housing Division each served as presenters on the Council for Affordable and Rural Housing (CARH) 2012 mid-year meeting in New Orleans. CARH is a national nonprofit trade organization focusing on issues affecting rural housing. The theme for this year’s meeting was “Transforming Rural Housing: Innovative Tools and Dynamic Initiatives for Tomorrow.” Read more »
Today, rural homeowners in 19 states across the nation are getting some much-needed and long-awaited help to cope with declining home values and a sluggish housing market.
Secretary Vilsack announced today a pilot program to help rural borrowers with loans made or guaranteed by USDA refinance their mortgages to reduce their monthly payments. This initiative is part of the president’s on- going efforts to help middle class families, create jobs, and strengthen the economy. Since the Obama Administration took office three years ago, Secretary Vilsack has worked closely with the White House to ensure that rural Americans continue to enjoy the many benefits of homeownership. Read more »
As we begin the year, I want to share with you a few numbers that help measure USDA’s impact for America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities over the past three years:
- To help keep American agriculture profitable and keep farmers on the farm, USDA maintained a strong safety net. Over the past three years, our crop insurance program has paid out about $16.2 billion to more than 325,000 farmers who lost crops to natural disasters. Other programs have provided nearly $3.5 billion in aid to help more than 250,000 farmers and ranchers recover from natural disasters. Read more »
USDA is making an effort to transform the workplace so that all customers are provided the opportunity for success and the numbers show the department is making progress.
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced this week that it has significantly reduced the number of civil rights complaints in fiscal year 2010 to the lowest level in the agency’s history, while increasing the number of loans and dollars obligated to programs dedicated to minority and women farmers for fiscal year 2011.
“The loan numbers reflect the significant progress we have made in the effort to equally serve all eligible applicants for FSA program support,” said FSA Administrator Bruce Nelson. Read more »