Friday, May 22, 2009

VA adds $215 million to rural veterans' programs

The Department of Veterans Affairs is providing $215 million in competitive funding to support and improve services specifically targeting veterans in rural areas.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said, “This funding signals a substantial expansion of services addressing the health care needs of our rural veterans. These funds will allow VA to establish new outpatient clinics, expand collaborations with federal and community partners, accelerate the use of telemedicine deployment, explore innovate uses of technology, and fund innovative pilot programs.”

Seventy-four programs were selected by the Office of Rural Health to receive funding. They were evaluated based on the methodology, feasibility and intended impact on rural veterans, and include programs like Effective Rural Health Communications and Low Health Literacy Program, Rural Women Veterans Health Care Program and Mental Health and Substance Abuse Coordination.

Jamie Hartman of reports that veterans groups and advocates are heartened by the projects. Many programs are a collaboration between private and public sectors to improve their reach and efficiency. A comment on Hartman's report read, "This commitment from the VA to try new an innovative approaches to care for those of us in remote locations through out America says a lot. Kudos to the VA!" (Read more).

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