After handing out $6 million to hospitals in the Mississippi Delta region late last month, the USDA is at it again. This time, the agency's Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Program is doling out a whopping $30 million to 34 states around the U.S. to bolster telehealth in rural areas, according to an agency statement late last week.
The big winners this go-round are Maine with $3.9 million, Oklahoma with $3 million, Alaska with almost $2.3 million, and Texas with $1.6 million in grants.
The grants will fund more than 100 telehealth projects, from video equipment for a ship-based medical exam room in Maine to a tele-conferencing setup connecting Loring Hospital in Iowa with local schools and nursing homes.
One particularly interesting initiative: One hospital, Sanford Health in South Dakota, is using its funds to create a set of mobile medical carts with cameras, teleconferencing and other digital tools. The carts will be distributed to 39 rural clinics and hospitals in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, according to Government Health IT.
Overall, the funding will go toward improving both telehealth and education-related tele-conferencing capabilities, according to USDA.