Jane Craigin, St. Vincent Williamsport Hospital; Patricia Maryland, Tom Crawford, Administrator, St. Vincent Frankfort Hospital; (back, left to right) Jerry Laue, Administrator, St. Vincent Clay Hospital; and Joe Roche, Administrator, St. Vincent Jennings Hospital pose with a model check of a big grant.
St.Vincent Health was awarded a Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant in the amount of $205,706 from the USDA Rural Development. The award provides medical services for over 48,000 residents in Marion, Randolph, Madison, Clinton, Warren, Fountain, Jennings and Clay counties.
St.Vincent Health re-ceived one of 79 Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants awarded nationally, which will provide improved educational and medical services to residents of 36 states. The grants total over $29.4 million. The projects selected provide funding for medical service improvements and promote educational opportunities.
The Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program is designed to enhance educational and health care services in rural America. Nationally, 227 grant applications were received and 162 were found to meet program eligibility requirements. The 79 successful applicants were selected from that list. During the past five years, USDA's Rural Development has invested over $4.6 billion in telecommunications programs across America.
"St.Vincent Health is pleased to enhance its distance learning and telemedicine services," says Jon Rahman, M.D., chief medical officer for St.Vincent Health. "Through improved access to education resources, physicians, EMS and clinical support staff will be able to deliver more effective, integrated, efficient, quality health care in critical access hospital markets."
The grant will be used to expand and extend the availability of medical information and training to rural Indiana communities through advance telecommunication. The project provides training and information needs of rural clinical support staff, physicians, and EMS personnel. St. Vincent Health will provide distance learning and education at St. Vincent Clay, St. Vincent Frankfort, St. Vincent Jennings, St. Vincent Mercy, St.Vincent Randolph and St.Vincent Williamsport hospitals.
Last summer St. Vincent Health launched a Distance Education web site as a way to combat the increasing difficulty for physicians to meet their Category 1 continuing medical education (CME) requirements. The site also provides general continuing education for clinical support staff in rural communities and is home to dozens of courses on primary care topics.