Office of Rural Health
The Office of Rural Health (ORH) implements programs that deliver increased care and support to rural Veterans nationwide in a more uniform manner. ORH’s programs are in two categories: Rural Promising Practices and Enterprise-Wide Initiatives (EWI). EWIs expand national U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) program offices’ health care efforts to sites that serve rural Veterans. Initial funding support is available by ORH to support implementation in VA facilities across the country.
- Home Based Primary Care expands home-based Patient Aligned Care Team services to rural areas.
- Medical Foster Home provides an alternative to nursing home for Veterans who need daily assistance, are unable to live independently, and have no available family caregiver.
- Telephone Lifestyle Coaching promotes change in health behaviors, including unhealthy eating, inactivity, obesity, tobacco use, stress and alcohol use.
- Video Blood Pressure Visits conducts blood pressure check-ins to Veterans in their homes, reducing clinic no-shows and eliminating travel barriers to care.
- Centralized Anticoagulation Services Hub (CASH) provides anticoagulation clinical pharmacy services via highly efficient infrastructure that standardizes clinical processes, employs innovative data tools, and delivers virtual care modalities.
- Clinical Pharmacy Specialist Providers delivers medication and chronic disease management services to rural Veterans using pharmacists’ expertise through telehealth into Veterans' homes, VAMCs, or CBOCs.
- Gerofit utilizes telehealth to connect rural Veterans over the age of 65 with exercise programming. The health and wellness program strives to improve participants’ balance, endurance, and strength while building a sense of community. Participants have demonstrated improved health, mental and physical function, and overall well-being.
- Increasing Access for Rural Veterans by Leveraging Clinical Pharmacist Providers (CPP) to Deliver COPD Care utilizes Clinical Pharmacist Practitioners to increase patient access, improve quality of care, and decrease provider burden through the delivery and optimization of comprehensive medication management and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) services for rural Veterans within primary care teams.
- Lung Cancer Screening provides clinical navigators to support cancer screening at VAMCs serving rural Veterans.
- Mobile Prosthetic and Orthotic Care (MoPOC) helps to restore function, mobility and independence for rural Veterans with limb loss and movement disorders by bringing artificial limb and bracing care to their communities.
- National Telecritical Care (TCC) Program connects VA facilities that do not have intensivists on staff with VA intensivists nationwide via telehealth to increase access to TCC services and specialty inpatient care for rural Veterans.
- National Telenephrology Hub and Spoke Network works with local providers to offer specialist nephrology services to Veterans in rural areas with kidney disease or difficult-to-control hypertension.
- National Teleneurology Program establishes telehealth sites to ensure access to neurology in rural areas where providers are unavailable.
- Oral Telemedicine provides expert telehealth consultation in oral pathology, oral medicine, and oral and maxillofacial surgery to improve early diagnosis rates of oral cancer and thus improve rates of successful treatment of oral disease.
- Pharmacist Providers Improve Access for Rural Veterans with Opioid Use Disorder delivers greater access to medication assisted treatment for rural Veterans by integrating Clinical Pharmacy Specialist Providers in collaborative care models.
- Sleep Telemedicine supports diagnosis, care and remote monitoring of Veterans with sleep apnea via web-enabled devices.
- Technology-based Eye Care Services is a telehealth-based eye screening initiative that places ophthalmology technicians in rural VA clinics to collect information about a patient’s eyes and transmit to VA ophthalmologists for diagnosis and follow-up.
- Teleaudiology provides audiology remote fittings and aftercare services, remote diagnostic testing, and audiometric testing for rural Veterans.
- Teledermatology expands store-and-forward tele-dermatology to rural sites; includes primary care training on dermatologic consults and minor procedures.
- Telediabetes provides specialized diabetes services to rural Veterans with uncontrolled diabetes through secure internet video.
- Telerehabilitation Services expands an integrated network of specialists who are specifically trained in delivering physical and rehabilitative therapy to rural Veterans using telehealth technology.
- Advance Care Planning via Group Visits connects Veterans to advanced care planning experts who help them develop a plan to address how health care decisions will be made if they are unable to communicate.
- Rural Access Network for Growth Enhancement provides intensive case management services, including homeless outreach, to seriously mentally ill Veterans in rural areas.
- Rural Suicide Prevention connects Veterans to comprehensive suicide prevention services and resources through enhanced education, public awareness campaigns, community training, crisis support, firearm safety and care management for high-risk individuals.
- Social Work in Patient Aligned Care Teams expands the integration of rural social workers into the Patient Aligned Care Team model to improve care coordination for rural Veterans and their interdisciplinary care teams.
Workforce Training and Education
- Clinical Skills Training in Women Veterans Health Care trains providers in rural locations in skills unique to the treatment of rural women Veterans.
- Maximizing Ongoing Development and Educational Leadership (MODEL) for VHA Hospitalists is an interactive faculty development series tailored to the unique needs of VA hospital medicine providers and utilizes a facilitation-based format to promote collaboration among participants.
- National Mental Health (MH) and Suicide Prevention (SP) Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) connects rural providers to national MH and SP specialists for regular discussion of clinical cases and targeted skill-building training on suicide prevention and substance use disorder treatment.
- Rural Interprofessional Faculty Development Initiative (RIFDI) provides training for residency proctors, enabling them to better train, mentor, and monitor residents serving rural areas.
- VA-ECHO Expansion in Specialty Care provides live, virtual, case-based learning to a wide variety of clinical team members in over 20 medical specialty areas, including nephrology, pain management, pulmonology, diabetes/endocrinology and COVID-19.
Clinical Resource Hubs
- Clinical Resource Hubs: These Veterans Integrated Service Network hubs provide primary, mental health, medical specialty, rehabilitation and extended care, and surgery services to Veterans in underserved areas.
VA Video Connect
- VA Video Connect Patient Tablet Program provides rural Veterans with video telehealth tablets to connect patients with and transmit patient data to a remote VA health care provider through a secure internet connection.
- Women Veteran Care Coordination and Management creates, enhances and expands care coordination in the areas of maternity care, mammography, cervical cancer screening and breast cancer care.
- Center for the Evaluation of Enterprise-Wide Initiatives systematically reviews EWIs to improve evaluation and comprehensively analyze impact while contributing to the field of implementation science.
- Rural Innovation Ecosystem supports new service delivery innovations and the national implementation of standardized best practices intended to improve access to care and services for rural Veterans.
- VA Farming and Recovery Mental Health Services (VA FARMS) provides Veterans with agricultural vocational training and behavioral health care services from licensed providers at eight VHA sites of care.
- Highly Rural Transportation Grants Program (HRTGP) expands transportation access for healthcare services to Veterans living in highly rural areas.
- Veteran Transportation Services provides medical transportation services for rural Veterans; and includes leases of vehicles, salaries for drivers and mobility managers.