USDA allocates $23.4M in telemedicine, distance learning projects in 32 states

Eighty-one telemedicine and distance learning projects in rural areas in 32 states will receive a portion of a $23.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help connect these communities with medical and educational experts across the country to boost access to healthcare, substance misuse treatment and other educational opportunities.

Thirty-six of the 81 projects are related to telemedicine, including one at Marietta (Ohio) MemorialHospital, which will receive $185,000 to create the first telemedicine system in the region, serving rural areas in southeastern Ohio and northwestern Virginia. The project will link 14 hospitals and clinics, which serve a population facing high rates of poverty, heart disease, lung cancer and a growing physician shortage problem.

Southern Hills Counseling Center in Jasper, Ind., will receive $73,000 to launch a telemedicine system to deliver mental health services in remote Indiana counties.

"USDA's Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program helps communities better meet the needs of their residents," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement. "For example, opioid and other substance misuse disproportionately affect rural areas, and telemedicine is proving to be an effective tool for treating patients when experts otherwise would be unavailable. Hospitals, schools and training centers across the country are successfully using telecommunications to deliver specialized care to area residents, and we are proud to bring these capabilities to 81 additional communities."

More articles on telemedicine:

Rutgers' pilot telehealth program seeks to help underserved 
Medical University of South Carolina launches inmate telehealth services initiative 
Meet the 11-year-old working to expand telemedicine access 

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