Portland, OR, Jul 23, 2012 -- During a trip to Portland, USDA Rural Utilities Service Administrator Jonathan Adelstein visited Providence St. Vincent Medical Center to see firsthand how lifesaving Telestroke technology can help save the lives of stroke sufferers in remote rural areas. A $253,000 USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program grant recently allowed Providence Health and Services to begin the work to connect five rural critical access hospitals in eastern and central Oregon to the Providence Telestroke Network.
“This is one of many ways President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investments resulting in stronger rural communities,” Adelstein said. “The DLT program delivers medical and educational opportunities that are urgently needed in remote, rural areas.”
Provident Health and Services used the USDAS Rural Development grant to fund Telestroke technology at Wallowa Hospital in Enterprise, Ore.; Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Heppner, Ore.; and Lake District Hospital, in Lakeview, Ore.
Two other rural hospitals in Oregon are seeking USDA funding to implement telestroke technology. Distance learning and telemedicine programs are already in place in more than 5,700 schools and medical facilities across the nation.
To demonstrate the network, Portland-based neurologists activated Oscar, the Telestroke robot at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, to immediately connect to the new USDA-funded telestroke robot at Wallowa Memorial Hospital in Enterprise. With the use of two-way cameras and a secure Internet connection, the robots demonstrated how physicians conduct an examination and interact with a stroke patient, family members and clinicians hundreds of miles away to determine quickly the best course of treatment.
Providence Telestroke Network is currently connected to 16 community hospitals across Oregon and Washington.
During his stay in Portland, Adelstein will also speak at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ (NARUC) meeting about public-private partnerships at work to help meet telecommunications needs in the coming years.
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, businesses 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.
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