On September 19, 2016, Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will invest more than $4 million in Distance Learning and Telemedicine program grants to support 18 projects in 16 states, including seven telemedicine projects. The telemedicine awards total nearly $2 million and will, among other things, fund projects at hospitals and health centers to connect health care providers in a "central hub" to remote end-user sites in different regions and states. The grants will also provide funding for telemedicine equipment, a free 24-hour nurse help line, and a comprehensive telehealth care management program.
In addition, in August 2016, HRSA announced $16 million in funding to improve access to health care in rural communities, including funds to expand the use of telehealth technology for veterans and other patients. The awards, to be administered by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, will support 60 rural communities in 32 states. Specifically, HRSA is awarding more than $6 million to 21 community health organizations to build sustainable telehealth programs and networks in medically underserved areas. In addition, HRSA is granting three awards totaling $900,000 to use telehealth and health information technology to bring mental health and other health services to veterans living in rural areas.
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