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Office of Rural Health

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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 that Veterans in rural communities experience. ORH establishes and expands two types of programs: Enterprise-Wide Initiatives (EWI) and Rural Promising Practices (RPPs). 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:

  • National Telecritical Care (TCC) Program
  • Clinical Resource Hubs
  • Veteran Transportation Services
  • Remote, Home-Based Delivery of Cardiac Rehabilitation

Special Populations

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), the VA Office of Tribal Government Relations (OTGR), the VHA Office of Tribal Health, and the VHA Office of Community Care (OCC) to provide oversight and management of the VHA-IHS Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which facilitates programs to ensure increased access to care and services for AI/AN Veterans. The VHA-IHS collaboration achieved success in extending telehealth services from VHA to IHS facilities, increasing VHA providers' cultural awareness, and expanding electronic Health Information Exchange for Native Veteran care coordination.Related materials include:

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.