The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has recently provided 150 million dollars of funding, contributing towards equality of healthcare. 90 million dollars has been provided to the America Rescue Plan (ARP) funding across nearly 1500 community healthcare centers. With this funding, it is hoped the level of healthcare equality is increased through more optimal data collection, in addition to healthcare data reporting. Of the 150 million, forty percent was granted to expand workforce numbers in the industry and improve the levels of healthcare that can be accessed in more rural residential areas. Also included in the funding provided by HHS, is HRSA’s Rural Residency Planning and Development Program, which received ten million dollars. The HRSA worked valiantly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, funding various health centers that sought out groups that suffer from inequality. These groups, that suffered an exacerbated level of healthcare disparity during the pandemic include the following:
- Individuals of Color
- Agricultural Workers
- Individuals residing in public housing
Nearly fifty million dollars of ARP funding was supplied to 31 awardees which will see an expansion of the workforce and their capacity to treat patients in rural areas. While much of this section of funding will train and develop employees, the money will also be utilized to provide the workforce with basic requirements such as dental care, medical assistants and other workers who are critical at the frontline of healthare. critical Four million dollars has gone towards eighteen individual awards, with the goal of improving the outcomes of patients with their provider and care delivery in the identified rural settings.
Importance of increasing healthcare Equality
Inequality is extremely prominent in the context of healthcare provided in the United States. Of all citizens, approximately twenty percent reside in areas considered to be rural. This is concerning as the levels of health disparity have tripled in the last twenty years alone. At present, community healthcare centers provide some form of care to over thirty million individuals annually. Rural healthcare can be provided in a more optimal manner using data that tracks patterns of healthcare needed in these areas
The recent funding provided adds to the fifty-five million dollars HHS contributed towards virtual healthcare access for consumers. Additionally, sixteen million dollars was given to telehealth services concerned with family planning. The aim of this funding is to improve the infrastructure of telehealth services, and enlarge the capacity for reproductive health clinics to provide healthcare to families.