Mercy receives $500K USDA grant to expand virtual care

Mercy has received its fourth grant from the USDA to expand telemedicine access across rural communities served by the St. Louis-based health system.

The $496,349 USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant will enable Mercy's virtual care-focused facility to launch a project to place video equipment in nine Mercy facilities in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. The equipment will enable residents in those communities to virtually access hospitalists, emergency care, and stroke and neurology services, with more than 210,000 patients in remote areas expected to benefit from the project.

"If you live in small community and you have a stroke, you sometimes have to travel 50 to 100 miles one way to the nearest urban area to see physicians highly trained in stroke care," Gavin Helton, MD, Mercy Virtual's senior vice president of population health, said in a news release.

Dr. Helton continued, "Specialized physicians live and practice in highly populated areas. Many rural communities don't have the luxury or the resources to provide this level of care. But with the use of high-tech, powerful cameras providing live video, someone in Healdton, Oklahoma, can be virtually seen by a Mercy doctor hundreds of miles away."

More articles on telehealth:
Illinois hospital, medical group launch telehealth system for rural patients with diabetes
Stanford Health Care deploys telehealth platform to bridge gaps in emergency care
Teladoc Health launches nutrition counseling service: 3 things to know

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