USDA is investing $23.4 million in 75 projects across 31 states and the Western Pacific to expand distance learning and telemedicine opportunities in rural areas. The grants provided through the USDA Rural Development’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/distance-learning-telemedicine-grants may be used to purchase equipment to provide educational and telemedicine services to rural communities.
For example, the North Slope Borough in Alaska, was awarded $420,027 to purchase video equipment to link six Native Alaskan clinics with four end-user sites and Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital. The project will increase access to emergency medical care, examinations, and behavioral health and specialized services.
Other telemedicine/telehealth grant awards include:
- Franklin Primary Health Center (AL) ($413,625)—To establish a community telehealth network to connect four urban medical centers to 18 remote clinics and medical centers
- HealtHIE Georgia Corporation (GA) ($403,016)—To install a telemedicine system to coordinate the care of high risk patients
- Maine Rural Health Collaborative (ME) ($431,599)—To offer telemedicine services to nine rural clinics in northern and eastern Maine
- MidMichigan Health (MI) ($494,900)—To establish a rural telemedicine network
- Adventist Health System/West (CA) ($222,244) to purchase telemedicine equipment for eleven end user sites
- Medlink Management Services (FL) ($276,381)—To consult remotely with patients at Lake Butler Hospital
- St. Johns Hospital (IL) ($154,497)—To provide teleconferencing equipment to three rural hospitals
- Appalachian Regional Healthcare (KY) ($267,866)—To provide healthcare in rural central Appalachia
- Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital (KY) ($112,816)—To install teleconferencing equipment in five rural health clinics
- Baptist Healthcare System (KY) ($182,566)—To install telehealth equipment in five medical facilities
- Compass Health (MO) ($122,524)—To deploy teleconferencing equipment at 18 remote rural health clinics
- Lester E. Cox Medical Centers (MO) ($286,813)—To expand a telehealth network to connect six rural clinics, six ambulance stations, and three county health departments
- North Mississippi Medical Center (MS) ($228,260)—To establish telemedicine at four health clinics, two community hospitals, and three long term care facilities
- Western Montana Mental Health Center (MT) ($288,061) to provide behavioral health medication management
- Horizon Health Care (SD) ($238,303)—To provide healthcare to 12 frontier counties
- Avera Health (SD) ($74,747)—To provide eConsult telemedicine services
- Cherokee Health Systems (TN) ($168,152)—To establish telemedicine to serve patients in seven remote rural counties
- Shawano Medical Center (WI) ($379,515)—To provide telehealth services to 12 healthcare facilities
- Bellin Memorial Hospital (WI) ($145,029)—To establish a telehealth network
Several awards were made to build interactive telepsychiatry networks to deliver mental and behavioral health services. One award went to Eastern Aleutian Tribes Inc. for $279,106 with another award going to the Alaska Children’s Services Inc. for $290,188. In addition, St. Patrick Hospital Foundation (MT) will receive $72,870 to build a telepsychiatry network
Several grants were awarded to provide care at home monitoring equipment. Atlantic General Hospital Corporation was awarded $99,725 to install teleconferencing equipment in nine rural health clinics in Maryland and Delaware.
Also, Home Health Visiting Nurses of Southern Maine received $129,400 to deliver at-home telehealth services and Kno-Wal Lin Home Health Care Management (ME) received $130,000 to provide telehomecare monitors.
Go to www.rd.usda.gov/files/RD_DLTAAwardsNovemer2015.pdf for the complete list of awards.