The Federal Communications Commission approved $35.6 million to fund the development of five telehealth networks that will link rural hospitals in nine states.
The Rural Health Care Pilot Program is allocating the money to five organizations: the Health Information Exchange of Montana, Palmetto State Providers Network, Iowa Health System, Heartland Unified Broadband Network and Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative. The organizations will use new fiber optic networks and enhance existing infrastructure to gain Internet connections that will allow providers access to remote patient monitoring, distance consultation and education programs, as well as enable hospitals to exchange electronic health information. The networks will connect hospitals in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
In addition, the program approved $10.4 million to help the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium design its network that will connect rural healthcare practitioners to urban centers in the state and throughout the lower 48 states.