In September, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was awarded $5.3 million in grants to expand the rural health information technology (HIT) workforce and the use of telehealth to improve mental health services for veterans in rural areas. According to HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius, “This investment is designed to attract, train and retain HIT specialists who might otherwise seek education and job opportunities away from their own rural communities where their skills are greatly needed.”
Here’s how the grant breaks out:
- Almost $4.4 million will go to rural organizations in 15 states to recruit and train current health care staff, local unemployed workers, rural veterans, and other potential students to meet the technology needs of rural hospitals and clinics.
- An additional $900,000 will be awarded to Maine, Montana, and Alaska to improve the quality of mental health and other critical healthcare services for veterans living in rural areas. Each state will receive $300,000 to enhance crisis intervention services through telehealth technologies.
A complete listing of organizations receiving rural health information technology workforce funding can be found here.