The US Department of Agriculture announced it will add $23.4 million in funding for telehealth through its Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program. The additional money will go towards assisting 75 projects in 31 states.
“Rural communities often lack access to specialized medical care or advanced educational opportunities,” said Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture.
Some examples of projects include Baptist Health System in Kentucky using $180,000 to purchase and set up videoconferencing equipment for patients in Kentucky and Tennessee; Alaska using $420,000 to buy equipment and use it to link clinics and a hospital; and Baptist Health in Arkansas will set up a critical care network for 6 medical centers.
The USDA has provided more than $213 million in grants and loans for learning and telemedicine projects in rural areas since 2009.