- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded more than $1.5 million to CommunityHealth IT, Inc. in the Kennedy Space Center to assist in creating a rural public health workforce pipeline
- The funding is part of the HHS efforts to expand rural workforces nationwide
- In the past two decades, health disparities between rural and urban regions have widened, leading to a lack of comprehensive care in sparsely-populated areas
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded a grant of $1,545,000 to CommunityHealth IT, Inc. at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, according to the HHS investment report. The Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network Program will be maintained with the use of the allocated funds.
The financing is a part of a $60 million commitment made by the Department of Health and Human Services to workforce development initiatives for rural areas nationwide. According to the department’s release, the awards include $46 million from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan to “increase health care capacity in rural and tribal communities.”
“Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we have significantly improved access to health care for the millions of families who live in rural America. Our work doesn’t stop here: with these funds, we can continue working to ensure rural communities have the support they need,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra
Nearly one in five Americans live in a rural area, and rural communities are becoming even more diverse. However, health disparities between rural and urban areas tripled between 1999 and 2019, with rural residents experiencing higher rates of a series of chronic health issues as well as a higher risk of maternal morbidity and mortality, according to the Health and Human Services.
“Among the most important steps we can take to improve access to health care in rural communities, including access to behavioral health care, is to invest in growing the rural health care workforce,” said Health Resources and Service Administration Administrator Carole Johnson in the announcement. “Today’s announcements are another important part of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s strategy to advance health equity for the nearly 65 million people who call rural areas home.”
Rural Roads to Connected Care (RRCC) is CommunityHealth IT’s workforce initiative program funded by the Department of Labor (DoL). RRCC provides 250 eligible individuals in rural Florida communities with up to $3,000 in grant-funded job training, instructional services, and support to prepare them for select direct care health occupations.
Professions that qualify for training cost subsidization include Registered nurses (RNs), Medical assistants (MAs), Emergency medical technicians, and Community paramedics, among others.
Priority will be given to veterans, military spouses and transitioning service members and the organizations that serve them, according to the company.