The HRSA’s “Telehealth Network Grant Progam” www.hrsa.gov/ruralhealth/telehealth has awarded $6,286,264 in grants to 21 community health organizations. Each organization will receive an annual fund of $300,000 for about three years, with the goal of targeting medically underprivileged areas for the creation and implementation of viable telehealth programs and networks.
Organizations can utilize this funding to augment and extend healthcare providers’ training, in addition to raising the quality of health that is accessible to healthcare providers and subsequently to patients and their families. The program places specific emphasis on establishing teleconnections to School-Based Health Centers (SBHC); as such, it is mandatory for grantee networks to include a minimum of one SBHC.
Another grant for telehealth, the USDA Rural Development Distance Learning, and Telemedicine (DLT), was awarded to organizations working in rural areas of America. The California Telehealth Network www.caltelehealth.org, for instance, was awarded a grant of $405,917 for a three-year duration.
This funding is to be targeted toward using telehealth training and equipment for the purpose of improving the access of rural underprivileged communities in central, northern, and southern California to telemedicine specialty physician services and distance learning. The project comprises one central hub and a total of 48 end user sites.
The DLT granted to the Center for Telehealth is geared toward the provision of specialty care to nine StrikeForce counties designated by the USDA. In addition, two mobile Health Wagons will cover six counties, granting primary care on-site, as well as access to specialty doctors and clinicians via telemedicine video conferencing.
Rural Development DLT funds worth $375,000 will go toward the expansion of Alaska’s current telemedicine program. The grant will benefit the rural patients in 24 villages by enabling them to connect with and consult medical specialists. The mental, behavioral, and lifestyle healthcare requirements of rural patients will also be catered to.
In addition, another $494,518 grant will fund Avera Health www.avera.org in South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa for the purpose of using Avera’s ePharmacy network to provide aid and assistance to struggling hospitals that are low on staff. A total of 18 rural hospitals that are short on staff will be provided a live pharmacist who will offer round-the-clock pharmacy support and prescription review. Each hospital will also be equipped with an automated dispensing machine.