USDA: Trump Administration Invests $72 Million in Distance Learning and Telemedicine Infrastructure in 40 States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands

Distance Learning and Telemedicine Investments will Benefit More Than 12 Million Rural Residents 

(Washington D.C. – Oct 7, 2020) U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $72 million in grants to help rural residents gain access to health care and educational opportunities. These investments will benefit more than 12 million rural residents.
“Increasing access to telemedicine and distance learning is critical to building healthier and more resilient rural communities,” said Secretary Sonny Perdue. “Paired with our monumental effort to expand high-speed broadband access in rural America, these investments will help rural health care centers and education institutions reach more rural residents with essential services and opportunities. 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.”
Background
USDA is funding 116 projects 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.
Perdue announced investments today 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, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Here are examples of projects announced today:
  • In Colorado, the Colorado Department of Corrections is receiving a $985,455 grant to provide telemedicine services to 17 correction facilities in 12 counties. The project will provide medical assessments, wellness visits, treatment follow-up, remote patient monitoring, mental health screenings, case management services, advanced care planning, and health risk assessment. Telemedicine will allow Colorado Department of Corrections to improve health care by providing access to more health care, preventive medicine, and access medical specialists, while reducing prisoner transport and related security management costs. The project will provide specialty health care usually not available to inmates to include: telepsychiatry, mental health, neurology, cardiology, renal care, cardiovascular, dialysis, gynecological, obstetrics, ophthalmology, orthopedic, oncology, rheumatology, hematology, tele speech, telehealth physical therapy, and opioid and substance abuse prevention.
  • In Texas, the Epic Charter School is receiving a $969,327 grant to link urban schools in Oklahoma and Texas with rural schools, students and community partners in both states. The school will provide Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) courses, Career and Technical Education (CTE) certifications, Advance Placement (AP)/concurrent college courses, professional development and opioid education services. Interactive video conferencing equipment also will be installed.
To learn more about investment resources for rural areas, interested parties should contact their USDA Rural Development state office. USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.