United States Department
of Agriculture • Rural Development
Contact: Alec Lloyd (517) 324-5204
EAST LANSING, April 16, 2007 – USDA Rural Development Director for Michigan Gene DeRossett today announced that USDA is making available $62.9 million in distance learning and telemedicine loans, $75 million in loan and grant combinations, and $15 million in grants.
“Telemedicine and distance learning are greatly enhancing health care and education in rural Michigan,” said DeRossett. “These innovations are improving the quality of life and offering renewed opportunity across the state.”
Since 2002, USDA has invested more than $166 million in its Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Program, allowing 3,796 rural educational facilities to expand their access to modern telecommunications technology, and 2,226 health care institutions to develop technologies needed to enhance local medical care. The Administration proposes additional funding for improvements to both rural Critical Access Hospitals and key community facilities improvements, including DLT linkages.
Telemedicine technology makes it possible for doctors to examine and direct the treatment of patients from remote treatment centers. The technology gives rural residents access to medical specialists not often available in remote areas. The distance learning program finances equipment to expand educational resources to students and educational institutions in isolated rural areas.
Applications for the $15 million in distance learning and telemedicine grants must be received by June 11, 2007 and will compete nationally for funding. Applications for loans and loan and grant combinations will be accepted year round. Interested parties should contact their Rural Development state office. A list of state offices is available at www.rurdev.usda.gov . View the Rural Development DLT website ( http://www.usda.gov/rus/telecom/dlt/dlt.htm ) for additional information on the distance l earning and telemedicine program.
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