Stevens Point, WI, Apr 06, 2011 -- CONTACT:
Kevin Tuttle, Public Information Coordinator
Phone: 715-345-7615 x154 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Grants Deliver Enhanced Educational and Health Care Services to Rural Communities
STEVENS POINT, WI – APRIL 6, 2011 – USDA Rural Development is accepting applications for grants to support access and improve telemedicine and distance learning services in rural communities. The Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Program provides financial assistance for the purchase of eligible telecommunication equipment to advance educational and medical applications into rural areas.
“Investments in these state of the art technologies allow rural residents access to quality health care and education opportunities across the rural landscape,” said Stan Gruszynski, USDA Rural Development State Director. “The Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program supports rural hospitals, clinics, schools and libraries with the investments that will create sustainable rural communities.”
For example, Gunderson Clinic, LTD, of La Crosse, Wis., is a past recipient of a DLT grant. Gunderson utilized DLT funding to purchase computed radiography equipment at five rural locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. This advanced technology allows for the electronic transfer and viewing of images by radiologists located in La Crosse.
Ministry Health Care, Inc., of Stevens Point, Wis., is also a past recipient of a DLT grant. Ministry’s DLT funding acquired technology that provided the ability to web cast, multicast, transcode and use two-way interactive video education over its network to six home health agencies and five home health work sites.
Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant applications are now being accepted and must be received by April 25, 2011. Applications must provide 15 percent matching funds; and awards range between $50,000 and $500,000. For additional eligibility information, please visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UTP_DLT.html. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement.
The program is competitive. In 2010, USDA Rural Development provided grants for 106 projects in 38 states and one territory. Since inception of the DLT program, 1,269 projects in 49 states, four territories and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have been funded.
USDA Rural Development’s mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As the lead federal agency for rural development needs, USDA Rural Development returned over $936 million dollars this past year to rural Wisconsin communities. Funds are used to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technological infrastructures. Further information on USDA Rural Development programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting the web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/wi.