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Grant Funds Available to Support Telemedicine

May 17, 2017

This week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that hospitals and others could apply for grants up to $500,000 for equipment and technical assistance to provide telemedicine services in rural areas.

The fiscal year 2017 Rural Utilities Service Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program is to improve telemedicine and distance learning services in rural areas.

Applications are due July 17 and applicants must serve rural communities, demonstrate economic need, and provide at least 15 percent in matching funds.

Grant funds may be used for:

  • Acquisition of eligible capital assets, such as:
    • Audio, video and interactive video equipment
    • Terminal and data terminal equipment
    • Computer hardware, network components and software
    • Inside wiring and similar infrastructure that further DLT services
  • Acquisition of instructional programming that is a capital asset
  • Acquisition of technical assistance and instruction for using eligible equipment

HAP along with Pennsylvania hospital community continue to advocate for a Pennsylvania telehealth policy, which is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications in order to improve a patient’s clinical health status.

HAP supports the telemedicine legislation soon to be introduced by Representative Marguerite Quinn (R-Bucks) and Senator Elder Vogel (R-Beaver) that will:

  • Define telemedicine
  • Offer guidelines outlining who is able to provide health care services through telemedicine technology
  • Require all health insurers to provide payment for telehealth services, if they pay for the same serve in person

Visit the USDA website to learn more about the grant program and how to apply for grants.

For questions related to the grant, contact Kate Slatt, HAP’s senior director, health care finance policy. For questions related to telemedicine legislation, contact Stephanie Watkins, HAP’s vice-president state legislative advocacy.

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