grass, fence, blue sky

HHS has released the Rural Action Plan, the first HHS-wide assessment of rural healthcare efforts in more than 18 years. The action plan provides a blueprint for the agency to strengthen departmental coordination to better serve the millions of Americans living in rural parts of the country.

The plan, which was developed with the help of 18 HHS agencies and offices, includes 71 new or expanded activities for fiscal year 2020 and beyond. Actions to be taken in FY 2020 include nine new rural-focused administrative or regulatory actions, three new rural-focused technical assistance efforts, 14 new rural research efforts and five new rural program efforts.

The Rural Action Plan features a four-point strategy for transforming rural health:

  • Build a Sustainable Health Model for Rural Communities;
  • Leverage Technology and Innovation;
  • Focus on Preventing Disease and Mortality; and
  • Increase Rural Access to Care.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said, “The Rural Action Plan identifies key, tangible areas where HHS agencies can soon make a real difference in the health outcomes of millions of Americans. We cannot just tinker around the edges of a rural healthcare system that has struggled for too long, which is why the Rural Action Plan lays out a bold vision for transforming how healthcare works in rural America.” Read More.

Social Determinants of Health in Rural Communities Toolkit LogoThe Rural Health Information Hub and the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis recently introduced the Social Determinants of Health in Rural Communities Toolkit, designed to support organizations implementing programs to address social determinants of health in rural communities. The toolkit highlights promising approaches and resources to help rural communities address the social determinants of health. Each toolkit module includes information and resources for planning, implementing, evaluating, sustaining and disseminating programs in rural communities.