In August 2022, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that they are awarding $74 million in grants. These grants aim to support and improve health care facilities in rural areas. Emergency Rural Health Care Grants are designed to meet the financial needs of rural healthcare facilities, tribes and communities. These facilities often face challenges and have seen further hardships with the Covid-19 pandemic. With the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants, 143 rural healthcare organizations will be able to expand services for 3 million people in 37 states, as well as Guam and Puerto Rico.
The grants will be used in a variety of ways, including increasing staffing to administer Covid-19 vaccines and testing, building or renovating facilities, purchasing medical supplies, and implementing telehealth and nutrition assistance programs. Additionally, they will help nonprofit, public entities, tribes and regional partnerships address regional rural healthcare challenges. In turn, building a more sustainable rural healthcare system.
There are two specific funding tracks for the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants—impact funds and recovery funds. Recovery funds must be used to support immediate health care needs stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. While impact funds support the long-term sustainability of rural healthcare. Impact grant applications are no longer being accepted, but Information on applying for recovery grants can be found here.
The challenges of rural healthcare
Nearly 20% of Americans live in rural areas. Yet, since 2010, 139 rural healthcare hospitals have had to close their doors. The lack of hospitals in rural areas, particularly in the Southeast parts of the U.S., has led patients—often older patients with more chronic conditions—to travel greater distances for healthcare, and some not to seek care at all. For medical teams, this hospital lack has left EMS stretched thin and increased time to treatment due to distance. Unreliable communications are also an issue in rural areas for patients who are unable to get through to 911. As well as EMS who are unable to consult with a hospital while on-scene or en route with a patient.
Finding Solutions for Bridging Rural Health Care
The e-Bridge Communication Platform addresses rural healthcare challenges by enabling live, HIPAA-secure communications between and among first responder and hospital teams. This is done through sharing pictures, audio, video and live streaming. e-Bridge provides audio and visual alerts and notifications with real-time ETA tracking and allows 12-lead management from any monitor. With this highly configurable platform, healthcare teams experience:
- Telehealth for treat in place, alternate destination and ET3
- Data collection and vitals shared in real-time with ETA tracking so the emergency department can be ready for patients who ultimately need hospital care
- The ED can communicate with EMS while enroute, so they know exactly how and when to prepare for the incoming patient
- Secure Case Management and Documentation for reimbursement and quality assurance
- Better prehospital care for patients
Discover how e-Bridge can support your rural healthcare teams.
About GD (General Devices)
GD is a Healthtech company specializing in communication solutions that help EMS and hospitals deliver simply seamless patient care. Powered by responsive innovation, GD’s user-friendly solutions facilitate rapid, secure, voice, telehealth and data sharing communications across care teams to help save time, money and lives. Backed by a 40+ year history and thousands of implementations, GD is a widely revered industry leader. Visit https://general-devices.com/ to learn more.