The broadband funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) strengthened health access for rural families. Arizonan Mignonne Hollis used the money to widen broadband in her community to support a telehealth hub so that health professionals can serve patients.
Mignonne Hollis is pictured in April 2022. (Photo credit: Caitlin Ebbing Photography)
As the executive director of the Arizona Regional Economic Development Forum, Mignonne is always looking for innovative solutions to bring prosperity to her rural home. One of the most significant obstacles businesses and residents face in rural Arizona is a lack of broadband connectivity. When Mignonne heard the ARP dedicated funds to expanding broadband to rural areas, she had an idea. During the pandemic, rural Americans faced a number of economic and social stressors that had a negative impact on their mental health. But many could not find or access mental health care due to the lack of services in rural areas. Mignonne’s organization received a grant to help bring high-speed internet to a mental health telehealth hub. The hub now provides patients and practitioners a space to access mental health care safely and securely.
With the funding from the American Rescue Plan, the local cable company laid fiber-optic cables to connect our facility to the wider broadband grid. Six months later, we have two professionals who rent our office spaces to serve our rural community members as well as a dedicated telehealth office. It’s a place where community members can escape the stresses of the outside world and access the services they need.
As the country begins to operate more remotely, access to broadband is key for education, health, and work. The American Rescue Plan expanded rural broadband access, ensuring rural communities are included in the nation’s pandemic recovery.
Read more stories on how recent legislation has benefited Americans
This collection features stories from people in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire whose lives have been improved by the legislation passed during the Biden administration’s first two years.