USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants totaling $28.2 million have been awarded to 41 states. The project funding will improve healthcare for rural Americans and open the door to the expansion of technology, according to Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development, Thomas C. Dorr.
Forty seven of the grants will provide access to medical services, and 58 grants will be used to improve educational opportunities. In California, the Central Valley Health Network received $74,500 to expand teleconferencing linkages between hub and end user sites in rural areas. These interactive connections will enable healthcare workers to conduct live training sessions on medical issues and establish links to community resources.
In Maine, the Spring Harbor Hospital in Westbrook received $51,850 to establish a telepsychiatry project to expand mental healthcare services in rural areas. The funding will help the hospital purchase televideo equipment so that physicians will be able to consult with patients in rural parts of the state. The plan is to provide mental health consultations to several rural Maine emergency departments and primary care offices.
Grants to be used for healthcare purposes over $300,000 were awarded to Inland Northwest Health Services ($366,884), South Central Foundation (($361,220), Southwest Alabama Mental Health Board Inc. ($409, 078), Ridgecrest Regional Hospital ($474,316), Georgia Partnership for Telehealth Inc., ($496,355), Alegent Health ($383,996), Avera Health (SD) ($485,807), Avera Health, (SD, NE, MN, IA) ($490,537), Community Health Network Inc. ($301,859), and Erlanger Health System ($352,000).
For more information, go to www.rurdev.usda.gov/rd/newsroom/2008/09-18-DLTrl.pdf.