Office of Rural Health
Each year, thousands of military veterans return to rural communities they left behind after enlisting. Approximately 3.2 million veterans living in rural areas are enrolled in the VA system, which is about 35 percent of the veteran population.
When these veterans need access to healthcare, it can be difficult for disabled and wounded veterans to travel long distances to the closest health center. Additionally, lack of health insurance, specialized care and an inadequate number of healthcare providers can lead to limited assistance. According to the Office of Health and Human services, about half of adults living in rural areas suffer from a chronic health condition.
In order to better serve veterans living in rural areas, the Office of Rural Health (ORH) was created in 2007. The mission of the ORH is to improve access and quality of healthcare for all veterans through clinic expansions, increased provider partnerships, telehealth services and more.
Veterans Rural Health Resource Centers
Since 2007, the VA has supported more than 1,800 projects and programs, as well as introduced a number of services to expand rural outreach. More than 1.6 million veterans living in rural areas have been impacted by ORH projects. Between October 2010 and May 2014 more than 400,000 patients were seen at ORH-funded rural community-based outpatient clinics.
Three resource centers, a western region, central region and eastern region, focus on outreach, access issues and model developments to deliver healthcare services to veterans in rural areas.
To learn more, visit the Office of Rural Health Care on the VA’s website.