OFFICE OF RURAL HEALTH PROGRAMS
The Office of Rural Health (ORH) is working to see that America’s Veterans thrive in rural communities by establishing and expanding national programs, as well as cultivating partnerships at the federal, state and local level. These programs enable VA to rapidly address systemic health care and access challenges experienced by Veterans in rural communities. ORH establishes and expands two types of programs: Enterprise-Wide Initiatives (EWI) and Rural Promising Practices. EWIs expand national program office access efforts to sites serving rural Veterans. Rural Promising Practices are field tested innovative projects that meet ORH’s established criteria demonstrating improved access to care for rural Veterans.
Examples of ORH's Enterprise-Wide Initiatives and Rural Promising Practices include:
- Tele-Intensive Care Units
- Telemental Health Hubs
- Social workers added into Rural Patient Aligned Care Team
- Rural Transportation Service
- Rural Health Training and Education Initiative that provides rural health care delivery experience to health professions trainees (pre- and post-graduation)
- Remote, telephone-based delivery of cardiac rehabilitation
ORH also supports programs that address the health care needs of unique populations of rural Veterans.
American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Programs:
ORH works with the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the VA Office of Tribal Government Relations (OTGR) to provide oversight and management of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)/IHS Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which facilitates programs to ensure increased access to care and services for AI/AN Veterans. The VA/IHS collaboration achieved success in extending telehealth services from VHA to IHS facilities, increasing VA providers' cultural awareness and expanding electronic Health Information Exchange for Native Veteran care coordination.
- Veterans Affairs Indian Health Services (VA-IHS) Reimbursement Program:
As part of the IHS Reimbursement Agreement, VA-enrolled, eligible AI/AN Veterans and their family members can receive reimbursement for care from IHS facilities through the VA-IHS Reimbursement Program.
- Memorandum of Understanding
- 2014 VA-IHS Report
- 2015 VA-IHS Report
- 2016 VA-IHS Report
- ORH/IHS fact sheet
- VA Community Care: "Tribal Health Programs - Collaborating Today for a Better Tomorrow" fact sheet
Women Veterans Programs:
ORH projects focus on increasing access to health care for rural women Veterans. These projects include efforts to increase telehealth, maternity care, obstetrics and gynecology, and mental health care services for women Veterans
ORH partners with the Office of Academic Affiliations and local VA medical centers to provide training to rural health care providers, as well as students and trainees. There are also many free online courses available through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that provide educational credits.