U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grants totaling almost $30.2 million will fund 100 telemedicine and distance-learning projects (PDF) in 34 states and one in the Northern Mariana Islands territory.
USDA funds telemed projects
Telemedicine projects include almost $109,000 for the Maine Sea Coast Missionary Society to buy video equipment for a ship-based medical exam room; just under $489,000 for Sanford Health to install mobile medical carts with examination cameras, digital stethoscopes and teleconference video units at 39 rural hospitals and clinics in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota; and $500,000 for a project in which Chesterfield, Mo.-based Mercy (formerly Sisters of Mercy Health System) will put medical carts in 12 rural hospitals in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma that will be linked to 979-bed St. John's Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis.
For the Mercy project, the 12 hospitals are in towns with populations of fewer than 5,000 residents.
"This grant will allow us to hardwire these facilities with telemedicine technology so we can provide round-the-clock emergency coverage, access to hundreds of Mercy medical specialists and even greater access to primary care," Dr. Tim Smith, vice president of research for Mercy's Center for Innovative Care, said in a Mercy news release.
The USDA's Rural Development grant program is designed to improve the quality of life and economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers, according to a USDA news release.
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