Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today commented on the announcement by the Veterans Health Administration that the Office of Rural Health will allocate over $1.5 million for mental health services for veterans living in rural areas surrounding Sioux Falls, South Dakota and St. Cloud, Minnesota. Overall, the Office of Rural Health is releasing $215 million nationwide to improve health care services for veterans in rural areas.

"Currently, there are three million veterans enrolled in the VA health care system who live in rural communities, where many face decreased access to medical care," said Thune. "The Office of Rural Health is making a commitment to better serve rural veterans in South Dakota and across the nation, and I am proud to support this effort."

Senator Thune, along with then-Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO), led the bipartisan effort to establish the Office of Rural Health as part of a Veterans Affairs authorization bill in 2006. The Office of Rural Health is charged with reducing the wide disparities in care between rural and non-rural veterans.

The Office of Rural Health is also investing in telehealth technology to serve rural veterans nationwide-an issue long championed by Senator Thune.

"Telehealth technology is already improving care for rural patients, and it has the capability to do even more," added Thune. "By incorporating more telehealth solutions into rural veterans care, the Office of Rural Health is making it easier for our veterans to get the care they deserve without the enormous expense, in terms of time and money, of traveling to a larger VA facility."