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Office of Rural Health


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Increased Access to Care for Rural Veterans

For nearly one decade the Office of Rural Health (ORH) has focused on improving the health and well-being of rural Veterans by increasing their access to care and services. The Office focuses on a wide variety of programs to address rural Veterans unique health care challenges. The more than 1,700 rural programs resulted in:

  • Enterprise-Wide Initiatives: Establishment of more than 20 nationwide rural programs that provide more health care options due to teleradiology, transportation, telephone lifestyle coaching, telemental health, tele-stroke, precision oncology care, and tele-intensive care units
  • Rural Promising Practices: Identification and implementation of nearly 10 proven models of care that expand rural Veterans access to care for multiple sclerosis, HIV, cardiac rehabilitation, and mental health care
  • Rural Projects: Initial pilot projects that increased access to health care for
    • 65,600 unique Veterans who were supported through mental health focused projects in fiscal year 2014
    • 363,000 rural Veterans who used a clinical video telehealth system in fiscal year 2014 to receive care
    • Native Veterans who received 1.2 million prescriptions via the mail due to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)-Indian Health Service memorandum of understanding ORH manages

The Office's efforts also increased the sheer number of rural health care providers. In fiscal year 2015, ORH funded more than 1,850 clinical and non-clinical service providers who cared for rural Veterans around the country. ORH also funded programs that trained more than 9,500 VA medical providers in fiscal year 2015. In 2015, ORH supported the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' efforts to recruit community providers to expand rural Veterans care options through the Veterans Choice Program (VCP). VA’s VCP provider network has approximately 289,000 providers, an increase of 20 percent from October 2015 to February 2016, of which more than 57,000 are rural providers.

Complementing the Office's programs, is its management of the Rural Veteran Coordination Pilot (RVCP). This grant program supports Veterans and their families who recently transitioned from active duty and reside in rural or underserved areas of the country. As of fiscal year 2015 this program:

  • Completed in assessments for more than 700 Veterans and 150 family members
  • Established more than 500 new partnerships
  • Conducted more than 150 outreach events
  • Provided more than 600 referrals to Veterans and family members
  • Established more than 50 service sites