The Department of Health and Human Services yesterday announced it is investing through the Health Resources and Services Administration $8 million to address gaps in rural telehealth. Using the Telehealth Broadband Pilot program, HHS will conduct a three-year pilot program to assess available broadband capacity for rural health care providers and communities to improve access to telehealth services. The National Telehealth Technology Assessment Resource Center received $6.5 million to implement the pilot program in Alaska, Michigan, Texas and West Virginia. HRSA's Federal Office of Rural Health Policy also awarded $1.5 million to the Telehealth-Focused Rural Health Research Center via the University of Arkansas to evaluate the pilot program across all participating communities as well as to serve as a resource on telehealth for rural communities around the nation.

In addition, HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy is awarding 15 rural communities up to $500,000 each through the new Rural Communities Opioid Response Program — Psychostimulant Support program, the goal of which is to strengthen and expand prevention, treatment and recovery services for rural individuals who misuse psychostimulants (such as methamphetamines, cocaine and ecstasy). Applicants must be part of a consortium with at least three other separately-owned entities and are encouraged to identify means of bridging the gap between social determinants of health and other systemic issues that could contribute to achieving equity in substance use disorder and opioid use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery services. For more information, click here

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