Cooperstown, NY, Jun 06, 2012 -- USDA Rural Utilities Service Deputy Administrator Jessica Zufolo today announced funding for three distance learning and telemedicine projects that will help increase access to health care and educational opportunities in New York.
“The funding I am announcing today will help ensure that rural citizens in New York receive high-level, specialized medical care and have access to the same array of educational opportunities available to people in urban areas,” Zufolo said. “Since the start of the Obama Administration, we have funded 18 distance learning projects across New York State – totaling nearly $5 million.”
During a visit here today, Zufolo announced that USDA is providing Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Program grants to:
Adirondack Medical Center, $112,860; To implement a telemedicine network connecting the main hospital at Saranac Lake with satellite clinics in nearby rural areas;
Finger Lakes Migrant Health Care Project, Inc., $215,650; To expand an existing telehealth network to 10 new sites, providing the equipment to bring these clinics into the larger health care network as video end points.
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego Board of Cooperative Educational Services, $338,716; To invest in distance learning and video teleconferencing equipment to connect local high schools and other educational facilities in 12 school districts.
These three New York recipients are among 52 projects in 29 states that Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced today. Nationwide, USDA is providing $14 million in grants for 19 distance learning projects, 32 telemedicine projects and one combined project. All will benefit residents in rural counties.
During her trip to New York, Zufolo and staff for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand led a roundtable discussion in Cooperstown on ways to provide affordable high-speed internet to rural New Yorkers. Zufolo spoke about federal resources available to expand rural broadband access, as well as support for new and existing rural businesses, workforce training programs, and services critical to the economic future of rural areas.
Since taking office, the Obama 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 is committed to using Federal resources more efficiently to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $165 billion in loans and loan guarantees. 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 areas.