Holzer receives USDA telemedicine grant for schools to increase access to care

Staff Report

COLUMBUS — U.S. Department of Agriculture Ohio Rural Development State Director David L. Hall recently announced two Ohio organizations are receiving more than $1.17 million in USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant funds to bolster telehealth and remote learning capabilities in a multi-county region.

“Now more than ever, access to remote learning and telehealth services is vital to the well-being of rural Ohioans,” said Hall via a news release from USDA Rural Development. “And these two projects in particular illustrate the good that results from creative alliances. In Gallia County, we have a health system partnering with local school districts and a career center, and in Huron and surrounding counties, school districts are partnering with a community college and medical center. Working together, they are ensuring our children have access to the health and education resources they need to flourish.”

Hall continued via the press release: “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

In Ohio:

Holzer Health System will use its $172,358 grant to provide students and staff in six communities in the Gallipolis City and Gallia County Local School Districts with primary and preventative care through the Appalachian Primary Care Telemedicine Program. Partnering with Buckeye Hills Career Center and using technical equipment purchased through the grant, healthcare services will transmit from several Holzer hub sites to 14 primary and secondary schools as part of a multi-faceted approach to overcoming transportation and access barriers. This increased access to care will lead to better overall health and create a more conducive environment for learning and growth, with the potential to impact more than 4,400 rural Appalachian Ohio students.

The New London Local School District will use its $999,524 grant to expand STEM resources to pre-Kindergarten – grade six students in Huron, Ashland, Lorain, and Wayne counties. By partnering with other STEM-designated schools such as Wayne County-based Northwestern Local School District, this enhanced Science, Technology, Engineering and Math curriculum will reach an estimated 3,600 students. Additionally, New London will collaborate with Lorain County Community College and Ashland-based University Hospitals Samaritan Medical Center, which currently provides school nursing services to the district. The medical center will help promote STEM-based careers in healthcare.

According to the news release, USDA is funding 116 projects reaching an estimated 12 million rural citizens through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program. The program helps health care and education institutions buy the equipment and software necessary to deploy distance-learning and telemedicine services to rural residents.

In addition to Ohio, investments were recently announced in Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

New release provided by USDA Rural Development.

Staff Report