VHA’s Veterans Rural Health Resource Centers https://www.ruralhealth.va/aboutus/vhrc.asp operate as the Office of Rural Health’s (ORH) field-based satellite offices, serving as hubs for rural healthcare research, innovation, and dissemination.
The Summer 2021 edition of the VA’s publication, Rural Connection, spotlighted the ORH VRHRC located in Iowa City established in 2008. The Iowa City VRHRC maintains a diverse portfolio of more than 30 projects focused on understanding rural disparities, delivering innovative solutions, serving rural Veterans, and improving the rural workforce.
Additional focus is on:
- Developing interventions and care coordination services to meet the needs of women Veterans
- Improving access to high quality care for older Veterans suffering from complex illnesses’
- Identifying, referral and coordination of care for Veterans seeking care in non-VA community settings
- Using telehealth to bring hospitalists and specialty care to underserved rural settings
As with all ORH’s VRHRC’s, the Iowa City VRHRC is charged with implementing Rural Promising Practices (RPP) which are innovative projects that have consistently demonstrated a positive impact on rural Veterans’ access to healthcare.
The RPP programs includes:
- Remote Home-Based Delivery of Cardiac Rehabilitation
- Home-Based Pulmonary Rehabilitation
- Telehealth Collaborative Care for rural Veterans with HIV Infection
- Advanced Comprehensive Diabetes Care
The Iowa City VRHRC is led by Clinical Director Carolyn Turvey PhD and Operations Director Samantha Solimeo PhD with project personnel located in Iowa City. For more information about the Iowa City VRHRC and their RPP programs, go to https://VRHRCIowaCity.va.gov.
Another VRHRC, the White River Junction https://whiteriver.va.gov, in Vermont, is piloting and evaluating several mental health programs for rural veterans. White River’s project, Rural Veterans with Depression and Parkinson’s Disease: A Telehealth Psychotherapy Solution is in early development.
Depression is a common comorbidity in Parkinson’s that is most often undiagnosed or sub-optimally treated. The project is operating out of a VA telehealth hub based in New Jersey. The project leverages the reach of the Parkinson’s Disease Research Education and Clinical Centers to deliver Parkinson’s informed depression care, including specialized consultations and evidence-based psychotherapy.