News Release
Release No.STELPRD4013567
ContactDarin Leach515-284-4747
Funds Will Help Improve Healthcare and Educational Opportunities around State
Des Moines, Iowa, Dec 19, 2011 --

@@December 19, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that recipients in 34 states and one territory will receive funding to improve access to health care and educational services in rural areas. Funding is provided through the USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Program.

Four of the recipients are from Iowa.

“This program delivers educational and medical opportunities that are urgently needed in remote, rural areas,” Vilsack said. “President Obama has said that no matter where you live in America, you should have access to quality educational opportunities. Rural Americans deserve the same opportunities for education and medical care as metropolitan-area residents, and these funds will make that happen.”

The grants are administered by USDA Rural Development through its Rural Utilities Service program area. Information about the Iowa projects follows:

Iowa Lakes Community College (Estherville) - $498,695 grant

Funds will be used by 14 sites, including five community college campuses and nine high schools, to receive video-conferencing-equipped media carts. The new distance learning system enables the teaching staff at the high schools to expand classes, such as Introduction to Accounting, previously only offered to a few sites, to all sites.

Van Buren County Hospital (Keosauqua) - $107,493 grant

Funds will be used for the purchase and installation of a picture archiving communications system (PACS) that will allow radiological images from Van Buren to be sent electronically to radiologists at Ottumwa Regional Health Center. If additional diagnostic expertise is needed for complex medical cases, the new PACS will make it possible for Van Buren Hospital to forward patient images to institutions with more specialized expertise, such as the Mayo Clinic or university hospitals.

Loring Hospital (Sac City) - $262,742 grant

Funds will be used by the hospital to assist in the purchase of video conferencing equipment that will be placed and connected at the hospital’s emergency room, outpatient and inpatient centers, public school sites in the East Sac County School District and at two area nursing homes.

Telemedical equipment such as digital stethoscopes will be connected to the video network, as well as other computers, to help establish a wide ranging video network. This will be one of the first telehealth projects in northwest Iowa.

Awards are contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the agreement with USDA.

Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President wants the federal government to be the best possible partner for rural businesses, entrepreneurs and people who want to live, work and raise their families in rural communities.

USDA Rural Development is an equal opportunity lender with a variety of direct and guaranteed rural credit programs involving single and multi-family housing, community facilities, water and sewer development and business and cooperative programs.

This past year USDA Rural Development’s investment in Iowa helped create or retain more than 1,900 jobs, aided 2,000 families in buying their own homes and assisted more than 80 communities as they made improvements to their facilities, services and infrastructure.

Contact USDA Rural Development

USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural areas and communities. Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.

Further information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by visiting the agency’s web site at or by calling (515) 284-4663.

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