Thrive by IU Health

Grants for virtual care help expand rural access

Grants for virtual care help expand rural access

Two grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will allow IU Health to care for more rural Hoosiers.

The grants—totaling $698,450—will be used to purchase virtual care infrastructure, creating better access in six primary care offices and seven rural critical access hospitals in Clinton, White, Tipton, Orange, Lawrence, Blackford and Jay counties in Indiana.

“These investments will connect healthcare professionals and extend resource access to 72,465 residents and their communities,” says Michael Dora, state director of USDA (shown, right).

With the investments, IU Health will:

  • Implement an efficient, high-quality approach to care in our critical access hospitals by virtually providing evening and overnight hospitalist coverage for IU Health emergency department physicians—when deciding on admitting patients to the hospital—and inpatient coverage for existing and new admissions.
  • Increase the reach of the Virtual Care Behavioral Health Hub in rural critical access hospitals and primary care offices, giving more patients access to opioid/substance abuse treatment and behavioral health services.

“We know that 60% of people who need behavioral health care don’t receive it, although treatment is 60% to 80% effective. This technology is critical for expanding access to behavioral health into primary care, where 80% of people receive their mental healthcare,” says Stephanie Berry, director of Community Health at IU Health.

“These grants will help us to expand access for patients that we serve in our critical access hospitals,” says Ian McDaniel, executive director of Virtual Care (shown, left). “We are thankful for the IU Health Foundation team who helped to secure this grant.”

IU Health will implement these new initiatives throughout 2020.

To learn more about how philanthropy supports better patient care at all IU Health locations, visit