Academic journal article Health Care Financing Review

Grants Announced to Improve Rural Health Care. (Awards)

Academic journal article Health Care Financing Review

Grants Announced to Improve Rural Health Care. (Awards)

Article excerpt

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson recently announced a series of new steps and the availability of $46 million in grant funding to improve health care and social services for the 65 million Americans living in rural areas. Building on his commitment 1 year ago to strengthen the health care and social services safety net for rural Americans, Secretary Thompson unveiled this new plan based on recommendations from his Rural Task Force.

The report highlights new approaches to improve five key areas: improving access to services; strengthening rural families; supporting rural economic development; improving coordination among State, local, and tribal governments; and conducting more and better research to inform local and Federal policymakers about the needs of rural communities.

The report also warns that many rural providers feel that Federal regulations generally designed for urban and suburban areas are compromising their ability to give high-quality services to local residents.

Among the grants are $23 million awarded to States through the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant Program, focusing on the smallest, most rural hospitals. More than 600 rural communities have benefited from this program over the past 3 years as their hospitals, called critical access hospitals, have received enhanced reimbursements. …

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