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Rural Matters

May 26, 2020

Michelle chats with Eric Hargan, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As Deputy Secretary, Hargan is HSS’s Chief Operating Officer, responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations and management of the department in addition to leading policy and strategy development. In Part II of our special series on Rural Economic and Community Development, produced in collaboration with and supported by Thomas USAF, Hargan discusses four important rural health priorities for the Administration: preventing death and disease, especially in the areas of the opioid crisis and maternal health; creating sustainable rural health care models, by reviewing  systems that may not be appropriate for rural hospitals today; improving access through technology and innovation, including telehealth, remote patient monitoring, and improving broadband capability; and  developing a robust and dedicated rural workforce, which can help provide health care support and sustain rural communities. Hargan also described how the Administration on May 1 allocated $10 billion in COVID-19 relief to rural providers in four categories: rural acute care hospitals; critical care hospitals; rural health clinics; and community health centers in rural areas. Hargan also specifically describes the efforts of the Rural Communities Response Program, which has distributed more than $157 million in the last two years to about 1,000 rural communities in 47 states. For the first time in more than 20 years, he points out, drug overdose deaths actually declined in the U.S, and there also was a rise in life expectancy after a three-year decline. This episode was sponsored, by Thomas USAF, .