Barnesville, Ohio, Jul 12, 2012 -- USDA Rural Development Utilities Administrator Jonathan Adelstein traveled to southeast Ohio today to highlight the agency’s successful collaboration with Barnesville Hospital’s cutting-edge digital mammography unit.
“This is a perfect example of what the USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant is intended to support,” Adelstein said. “Radiologists report digital mammography significantly improves the quality of images and reduces radiation exposure. Additionally, digital studies can be read remotely in real time by specialists in other locations, eliminating delays and possibly saving lives.”
The community hospital, which serves about 38,000 rural Ohioans spanning portions of five counties, was awarded a $190,000 USDA DLT grant in 2010. In collaboration with the Barnesville Hospital Foundation, administrators purchased a full-field digital mammography unit and transitioned from analog to digital last September. Through December 2011, the hospital saw a 14 percent increase in mammograms compared to the same time frame in 2010. That upward trend continues. The number of mammograms services performed to date in 2012 is up 6 percent.
The area of Ohio served by Barnesville Hospital is demographically older and more impoverished when compared with other areas of the state and nation. In fact, two counties contiguous to the site, Noble and Monroe, offer no hospital service at all. Before the DLT grant and digital mammography upgrade, many women commonly made the drive to Wheeling, WV, for care.
For information on USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine loans and grants provided through the Rural Utilities Service,, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov or contact your local USDA Rural Development office. A list of these offices is available at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/StateOfficeAddresses.html.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, business and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy and strengthening small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of existing Federal resources 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, has an active portfolio of more than $170 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 America.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).