Rural Missouri to Receive Tele-Medicine Healthcare Support
HARRISONVILLE, MO – Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04) today announced important USDA grant funding which will help rural Missouri communities connect with telemedicine networks. These networks help deliver healthcare services for families in remote areas that may not have direct access to clinics or hospitals. This grant funding, which totals over $1.06 million, stems from the FY2018 Omnibus bill which Hartzler supported.
“Telemedicine is an effective way to provide health care assistance and education to our rural communities. This grant funding will expand service and support to these areas,” said Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, who supported this funding in the FY2018 Omnibus bill. “Health care is one of the largest concerns facing families in Missouri, and although this is not the only solution to our health care challenges, telemedicine uses technology to help overcome barriers caused by distance or lack of access to health care facilities for those who can’t travel,” added Hartzler, who has been a long-time advocate for health care improvements in rural areas and for seniors.
The funding was awarded to the following groups:
Lester E. Cox Medical Centers, which include facilities in Barton and Laclede County, receive $235,472 in rural development funding to connect children in schools with a telemedicine network to deliver direct-to-patient care for rural communities. The project will equip 17 rural schools and eight rural clinics with telemedicine capabilities, increasing access to quality healthcare for 30,000 rural residents. The project will include improving tele-conferencing equipment to serve childhood illnesses and increasing access to opioid treatment in rural clinics. CoxHealth serves 24 mainly rural counties in southwest Missouri.
Lake Regional Health System, which has facilities in multiple counties including Laclede, Morgan, and Camden County, will receive $443,417 in rural development funding to establish the Lake Regional Mid-Missouri Telemedicine Program, which will provide specialty physician telemedicine care. The project will establish synchronous, tele-conferencing equipment with interactive medical devices within 13 facilities in five rural mid-Missouri counties serving over 35,000 rural residents. The network will also be used to keep healthcare providers aware of the latest innovations in healthcare and allow easier access to continuing education and other required training. A new and much needed facet of the telehealth resources will include behavioral and other counseling services, including opioid misuse treatment.
Great Circle, which serves multiples counties including Boone, Laclede, and Pulaski County, will receive $385,777 in rural development funding to purchase and install interactive telemedicine equipment. This project will implement mobile telehealth equipment that can deliver specialty telehealth services in several counties including Pulaski. Specialty care will include psychological services and behavioral therapy at seven health care facilities, benefiting over 2,600 patients. Great Circle will increase the number of youth and families receiving therapy by 41 percent and the number of youth served over two years by 56 percent.
“The use of technology has proven effective in advancing healthcare solutions and education in rural communities, and this funding will help advance efforts to improve quality of care in our rural communities,” added Hartzler.