Biden Acts To Expand Funding For Rural COVID 19 Crisis

Even though rural America overwhelmingly voted for his opponent, President Biden is taking action to help rural communities with COVID 19.

President Biden Announces Steps To Assist Rural Communities

According to a White House Fact Sheet Provided To PoliticusUSA:

Today, the Biden Administration is taking action to improve the health of rural communities by making millions of dollars in American Rescue Plan funding available to meet immediate COVID-19 needs. This funding, which will also help rural hospitals stay open in the long run and improve the care provided to rural communities, builds on efforts the Administration has already taken to help rural communities tackle the COVID-19 crisis and improve access to health care. And these actions are only the beginning. President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda – also known as the reconciliation package – will make crucial investments in rural Americans’ health by lowering prescription drug and other health care costs, expanding access to care, and improving maternal health, and the bipartisan infrastructure legislation will improve the quality of drinking water in rural communities.
 
NEW ACTIONS
 
Helping health care providers in rural areas cover costs associated with COVID-19 and keep their doors open. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is providing $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan funding in the coming weeks to help compensate health care providers who serve rural Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) patients for lost revenue and increased expenses associated with COVID-19These funds will help ensure that providers can effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and will place them on stable financial footing to continue serving their communities into the future.
 
Expanding rural hospitals and providers’ access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and supplies, while helping rural health care providers stay financially solvent in the long-term. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is using $500 million in American Rescue Plan funding to create the Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program. The program will provide at least $350 million to help rural hospitals and local communities increase access to COVID-19 vaccines and testing, medical supplies, telehealth, and food assistance, and support construction or renovation of rural health care facilities. Applicants can also apply for recovery funds that compensate for lost revenue or staffing expenses due to COVID-19. In addition, the program will provide up to $125 million in grants to plan and implement models that help improve the long-term viability of rural health care providers, including health care networks that allow rural providers to collectively address community challenges and develop innovative solutions.
 
Training new rural health care providers, including community health workers and respiratory therapists, and expanding telehealth. HHS will make $52 million from the American Rescue Plan available to train a range of health care workers to fill in-demand professions affected by the pandemic. Specifically, HHS is creating rural health networks by pairing together minority-serving institutions, community colleges, technical colleges, rural hospitals, Rural Health Clinics, community health centers, nursing homes and substance abuse providers. Networks will focus on cross-training and sustaining community health workers in rural communities; expanding the workforce to support electronic health records as well as virtual and telehealth systems; expanding the capacity of emergency medical services reduced by pandemic-driven service reductions by developing Community Paramedicine programs; and training case management staff and respiratory therapists, who will play a critical role in helping rural clinical sites better serve patients affected by long-term COVID health challenges. The application will be available in the coming weeks.
 
Expanding access to pulmonary rehabilitation services. HHS is announcing that, in FY 2022, it will support a demonstration project to enhance access to pulmonary rehabilitation services in Critical Access Hospitals that serve rural communities with high rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., and adults in rural areas are almost twice as likely to have it compared to those in urban areas.
 
Expanding Veterans Affairs training programs for rural providers. The Rural Interprofessional Faculty Development Initiative (RIFDI), developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is an innovative two-year training program designed to provide teaching and training skills for clinicians in rural settings, preparing rural clinicians to take on faculty roles, mentor medical professionals to serve in rural America, and grow the healthcare workforce in rural communities. By the end of this calendar year, VA will launch a new joint initiative with HHS, adding non-VA community clinicians to the program. This joint initiative will benefit up to 40 rural communities each year and enable rural clinicians to better train the next generation of clinicians who will serve rural America.
 
Increasing access to telehealth. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is announcing that it will hold a virtual public workshop to identify ways to improve rural health through telehealth-guided provider-to-provider communication as part of its ongoing Pathways to Prevention series October 12-14th. 
With the rapid expansion of telehealth during the pandemic, this workshop will bring together key NIH partners, other federal agencies, researchers and community stakeholders to assess the existing evidence, identify gaps and develop plans to move telehealth forward. In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently proposed a new rule to expand access to telehealth mental health services for rural and vulnerable populations by allowing Medicare to pay for mental health visits furnished via telehealth when they are provided by Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). This proposal would expand access to Medicare beneficiaries, especially those living in rural and other underserved areas.

Biden Is A President For All Americans

The previous administration ignored the parts of America that didn’t support or vote for it. The Trump administration didn’t govern for all and intentionally punished those who did not support them.

President Biden is governing for all Americans. His administration sees people, not votes or political support. The concept of governing for all has returned to the United States in a big way.

Rural America needs help with the COVID crisis. Local leaders are frustrated with the low vaccination rates in many rural parts of the country. President Biden is providing the support and resources for success, but it will be up to rural America to take advantage of them.

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