USDA Invests $42 Million in Distance Learning and Telemedicine

Late last week, the USDA announced a $42.3 million investment to help rural residents access health care and educational opportunities. USDA said rural areas are seeing higher infection and death rates related to COVID-19 due to several factors, including a much higher percentage of underlying conditions, difficulty accessing medical care, and lack of health insurance. A recent report by the Rural Policy Research Institute’s Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis found infection and death rates in rural America due to COVID-19 are 13.4 percent higher than in urban areas.

The $42.3 million includes $24 million provided through the CARES Act and will reach five million rural residents.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “With health care and education increasingly moving to online platforms, the time is now to make historic investments in rural America to improve quality of life for decades to come.”

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