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USDA announced that 111 projects for $34.9 million in grants will to go to 35 states to increase to expand access to healthcare services in rural areas. The funding will be provided through USDA's Rural Development's Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program (DTL). The program's goal is to help expand telecommunications, educational resources, and computer networks throughout rural communities. The funds are part of USDA's annual budget.

Some of the specific funding examples include:

Avera Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to receive $396.693 to provide video conferencing and telemedicine services to connect 16 rural hospitals and clinics to regional medical facilities in Sioux Falls, Yankton, and Aberdeen

Georgia Partnership for Telehealth, Inc. to receive $436,218 to add 14 Tele-Trauma sites in the state

Brazos Valley Community Action Agency in Texas to receive $233,831 to use telemedicine to help provide health and educational services in the surrounding counties

Oklahoma State University for Health Sciences to receive $287,013 to establish video conferencing and other telemedicine equipment to use to consult with four rural clinics and to provide rural medical education

St Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma to receive $493,638 to serve as a hub for six rural hospitals to provide for a video teleconferencing network, to introduce imaging and interactive consultations, and to provide medical education for emergency services

Iowa's Clarke County Public Hospital to receive $356,243 to purchase video conferencing equipment and devices to connect the hospital to local sites

Baptist Health in Arkansas to receive $295,357 to fund a critical care medical network to connect six rural medical centers and a major hospital site in Little Rock

In general, the DLT grants going to health organizations and hospitals throughout the country ranged from $62,000 to $500,000. The grants went to facilities in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine Michigan Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

(Source: Federal Telemedicine News, November 22, 2009)

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