The White House Rural Council, established in June by the White House to make policy recommendations regarding rural America, issued a report highlighting areas of progress for healthcare and other aspects of rural communities.
Rural Council report highlights progress
The 28-page report, called “Jobs and Economic Security for Rural America,” said that since 2009, HHS has funded 444 rural community health centers to serve more than 2 million patients, including more than 598,000 uninsured patients. HHS has awarded more than $200 million to 52 health centers for health center construction and renovation projects in rural communities, according to the report. And HHS has invested $4.5 million to support 17 telehealth network grantees, which provided more than 17,000 tele-consultations to patients in isolated areas across 207 locations.
The report said HHS also has awarded $4 million to support 20 rural health workforce grants that trained nearly 800 clinicians affecting approximately 250 communities, and placed 2,641 clinicians in rural communities through the National Health Service Corps.
Last year's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provided support for rural providers, according to the report. The law provided a 10% bonus payment on Medicare primary care and major surgical procedures for qualifying primary-care providers. It also provided a 10% bonus for general surgeons in health professional shortage areas for the years 2011-2015.
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