News Release
Release No.STELPRD4008996
ContactGeorge Thomas(573) 876-9326
(MARCH 15, 2011) USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT ANNOUNCES FUNDING TO INCREASE EDUCATIONAL AND HEALTH CARE ACCESS IN RURAL COMMUNITIES
Columbia, MO, Mar 15, 2011 --

@@Missouri USDA Rural Development recently announced $1.75 million in funding to six recipients through the Rural Utilities Services Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Program.

The rural utilities telecommunication program is designed to provide financing to eligible applicants in rural areas. Funds can be used for the following purposes: infrastructure loans to local telephone companies for improving telecommunications service in rural communities; broadband access (high-speed Internet) loan program and community connect grant program in eligible communities; distance learning/telemedicine loan and grant programs to rural residents.

The vision of the telecommunication program is that rural America will have access to affordable, reliable, advanced communications services to provide a healthy, safe and prosperous place to live and work,” said Dunning.

Citizens Memorial Hospital District, in the southwest Missouri community of Bolivar, received $457,500 for implementing a telemedicine program that centralizes the management of medications. The tele-pharmacy allows rural residents to connect to a pharmacist during evening hours and from remote locations and computerizes the management of prescriptions which greatly improves the timely review of medication orders plus generally improves the efficiencies in all aspects of a pharmacy operation.

The Curators of the University of Missouri, received $220,459 for upgrading the Missouri Telehealth Network by adding 11 new rural health centers and bringing new services to 19 of their current rural sites, including their specialties in radiology, mental health, dermatology and cardiology. The new equipment such as digital stethoscope and a high definition close-up camera for dermatology will enhance the quality and precision of medical services to their rural patients.

The Kennett School District in extreme southeast Missouri, received $305,410. This distance learning project is designed as a results-oriented initiative, using the connectivity that interactive video affords to tackle problems found in many rural communities – those of rising dropout rates, unaffordable recovery programs for students who fall behind, and a lack of qualified teachers. With an emphasis on collaborative learning, their distance learning initiative will be brought to bear on the challenges of adult education, offering community college programs during after school hours.

Correctional Medical Services, Inc., received $280,332 to provide telemedicine for inmates under the Missouri Department of Corrections thereby increasing the safety of those communities which the prisoners are escorted through to receive health care. The deployment of video conference equipment and health management programming reduces risks that are associated with transportation of inmates for medical and mental health services, and provides for adequate medical treatment of incarcerated person.

The Health Care Coalition of Lafayette County in west central Missouri, received $125,000 to be used at four health care centers and clinics in Lafayette County that are teaming up to establish a telemedicine project to provide comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment services. The video teleconferencing and health care management programming will allow each site to contribute to the ‘pool’ of services and medical professionals at the other sites creating a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

The Missouri Sisters of Mercy Health System, received $495,926 to extend the reach of their medical services by deploying the monitoring devices in patient’s homes with chronic conditions. Devices such as digital blood pressure monitors, weight scales, and pulse oximeters will be part of the home monitoring package that will connect to the system’s existing electronic health records. Rural residents in this 7-county area will benefit from reduced travel time, greater access to medical information and personnel, and reduced lower medical costs for chronic conditions.

Missouri Rural Development is proud to be a supporter of distance learning and telemedicine in our rural communities.

“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, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).