University of Mississippi awarded telemedicine Emergency and Specialty Care grant

More details have emerged of one of the projects funded by the $16 million USDA investment announced in February (see TTA 7 February 2014).

The United States Department of Agriculture grant of $378,360 to the University of Mississippi Medical Center will be enhanced by $200,000 from Appalachian Regional Commission click to enlarge providing $578,360 for a three-year distance-learning and telemedicine service project  “Telemedicine Emergency and Specialty Care for Appalachia in North Mississippi (TESCAN)”, according to UMMC. UMMC is also the primary site for the Diabetes Telehealth Network we reported in January.

The sites, considered “medically underserved areas” and “health-professional-shortage areas” by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, include:

• Calhoun County Medical Clinic, Calhoun City;
• Trace Regional Hospital, Houston;
• Kemper County Medical Center, De Kalb;
• Tishomingo Health Services, Inc., Iuka;
• Webster General Hospital, Eupora;
• Yalobusha General Hospital, Water Valley;
• North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc, Pontotoc;
• Kilmichael Hospital, Kilmichael; and
• Holmes County Hospital, Lexington.

Representatives from the USDA and UMMC announced the grant agreement at a joint press conference at the UBS Building in Jackson.

The grant will expand the number of health-care delivery sites throughout the state linked to the Medical Center by the state-of-the-art telemedicine network to 104.

According to Dr. Kristi Henderson, chief advanced practice officer and director of the Center for TeleHealth at UMMC, the TESCAN grant will provide the capital equipment necessary for the Medical Center’s TeleHealth Program to serve 10 additional sites, including nine Appalachian counties and one Mississippi Delta county.

“Thanks to the USDA and ARC, this program will expand UMMC’s proven TeleHealth Program to an additional 10 rural hospitals in the Appalachian areas of Mississippi,” Henderson said. “Emergency and specialty health-care providers will now be accessible in these rural communities, which will save lives and improve Mississippians’ health.

The agreement will augment the services delivered by existing medical providers in the rural areas by connecting them with the state’s only academic medical center and trauma center. The grant will position UMMC as a “hub site” for each of the county-based hospitals, ultimately reaching 168,862 additional rural residents.

The Medical Center has been providing emergency and specialty-care consult services via telemedicine to community hospitals throughout Mississippi since 2003.

Grant recipients must demonstrate that they serve rural America, prove there is an economic need and provide at least 15 percent in matching funds.

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