PARIS, Tenn., Sep 14, 2012 -- The new era in healthcare was celebrated today as USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Goode joined Carey Counseling Center, Inc. Executive Director Robert Vaughn and other local leaders to announce federal funding for the Center's new telemedicine network that will connect doctors with patients throughout Northwest Tennessee.
Vaughn said, "This expansion of services is designed to reduce what has typically been two to four hour travel time by providing web-based access and interactive evaluation of patients. Timely delivery of counseling services like these often results in reduced future hospitalization for many patients."
According to the center staff, access to doctors and therapists with specialties in care for children and adolescence is very difficult to find in rural areas; however the technology this funding provides will bring those experts into the local offices and even the homes of the patients.
USDA is contributing a Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant of $195,000. An additional $200,000 is coming from the Carey Counseling Center. The funding will extend the telemedicine program direct to case-workers visiting the patient's home and to offices in six localities; Camden, Huntingdon, Paris, Tiptonville, Trenton and Union City. Case managers out in the field, local clinics and hospitals, local sheriff departments and Western Mental Health Institute will have less expensive and easier access to needed services.
"Families in Northwest Tennessee should have the same opportunities for quality healthcare as they would have living anywhere else," said Goode. "Investments in healthcare infrastructure like this help foster the effective interaction between doctors and patients without asking people to take leave from work or miss a day of school for a consultation or follow-up."
Others participating in the event included Sen. Bob Corker's Representative Jennifer Weems, Rep. Stephen Fincher's Representative Heather Yarbro, Henry County Mayor Brent Greer, Paris-Henry County Chamber Executive Director Jennifer Wheatley, Henry County Deputy Sheriff Randy Gean, Paris City Manager Carl Holder, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development field representative Blake Swaggart, CCC Board member Dr. Walter P. Griffey, Jr., Dr. Constance Durbin, Henry County Medical representatives Nessa Clayton and Shelia Whitworth and RD Area Director Harriet Cannon.
The USDA Rural Development distance learning and telemedicine (DLT) grant program increases the range of educational opportunities available to students and teachers, improves access to quality healthcare and generates new economic opportunities for families, individuals and businesses in rural America. For more information on Rural Development telecommunications programs contact Terry Kokinda at (615) 451-9498 or Terry.Kokinda@wdc.usda.gov.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, community development, homeownership and affordable rental housing to improve the economic health of rural communities. During the last three years the agency has assisted at least 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 158 communities, investing more than $2.5 Billion through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in northwest Tennessee contact the Rural Development Area Office in Union City at 731-885-6480 ext. 4, toll free at 800-342-3149 ext. 1497 or visit us online at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.
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