News Release
Release No.STELPRD4008082
ContactDawn Knepp717-237-2286
Harrisburg, PA, Jan 25, 2011 --







Local Contact:

Dawn Knepp (717) 237-2286

National Contact:

Office of Communications (202) 720-4623


Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding To Increase Educational and Health Care Access in Rural Communities


WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2011 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that 106 projects in 38 states and one territory have been selected to receive more than $34.7 million in grants to fund educational projects and expand access to health care services in rural areas through USDA's Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program.

"Too many rural areas cannot take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by broadband for improved education and health care. These funds will help communities enhance their educational and training programs and deliver improved health care services for their residents," Vilsack said.

The Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program provides access to education, training and health care resources in rural areas. In Pennsylvania, $866,397 was awarded to rural hospitals throughout the state. For example, an award of $351,748 to Wayne Memorial Hospital in Honesdale will be used to purchase teleradiology equipment at two end user sites, Wayne Memorial Hospital and the Wayne Memorial Pike County Health Center. The equipment will allow the sites to obtain readings from six specialist radiologist centers including remote echocardiography and ultrasound for cardiology and digital mammography. In addition, a telestroke system will be installed at Wayne Memorial Hospital that provides real-time links to specialist neurologists at the Geisinger Center in Danville.

“This funding is critical to Pennsylvania’s rural hospitals, enabling them to have access to technology that is typically only available in more urban areas,” said Thomas Williams, Pennsylvania Rural Development State Director.

Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement. For a complete list of the DLT projects announced today, please click here.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of nearly $142 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).