medical equipmentThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a news release that outlines a broad, strategic plan to address rural healthcare in the United States. The department-wide study is the first to be done on rural healthcare in the nation in 18 years.

The report examines key challenges facing rural communities related to issues like emerging health disparities, chronic disease burden, high rates of maternal mortality, and limited access to mental health services. It includes a four-point strategy to transform rural health and human services.

The plan highlights include expanding the Community Health Aide Program, which provides education and training for Tribal community health providers. It also recommends more than $8 million in grant funding for the Telehealth Network Grant Program to provide emergency care consults via telehealth. HHS will also award $8.25 million to 11 communities who develop new rural residency programs through the Rural Residency Planning and Development Program.

You can read the news release from HHS about its “rural action plan” here:

You can read the full plan here: