WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) is pleased to announce that the Rural Development agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a $310,950 Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant for Augusta University Research Institute to implement an Emergency Telehealth network in rural Georgia. Congressman Bishop spearheaded the creation of a telehealth network with language in the FY2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill (Public Law 115-31).
“The field of telehealth has the potential to revolutionize our rural healthcare system,” said Congressman Bishop. “This emergency telehealth network will connect emergency rooms, allowing for increased coordination, cooperation, and efficiency. This will improve patient outcomes, as well as lower healthcare costs. I look forward to Augusta University’s implementation of this noble project, and I applaud the Rural Development agency’s continued commitment to Rural America.”
“Residents of rural communities often lack sufficient access to health care services and specialized treatments, with no other option than to travel long distances to Augusta or forego treatment completely,” said Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel. “Augusta University can now offer these residents access to the most specialized care without ever leaving their community hospital, with a new a telemedicine network where patients and providers in rural communities can interact in real-time with physicians at Augusta University’s health system to diagnose and treat life-threatening conditions and chronic diseases. We’re grateful to Rep. Bishop and our state leaders for their support in addressing our state’s rural health care challenges.”
Augusta University will act as the hub for the Emergency Telehealth network, which will serve five end-user sites, including Miller County Hospital, Crisp Regional Health Services, Emanuel Medical Center, Washington County Regional Medical Center, and Wills Memorial Hospital. The project will provide direct two-way links between emergency rooms at the various sites, as well as supply EKG machines, ultrasounds systems, video laryngoscopes, and digital stethoscopes.
Congressman Bishop’s language in the FY2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill (Public Law 115-31) directed that distance learning and telemedicine grants be used to provide for upgrades to the equipment and facilities of ambulances, and other emergency transportation vehicles, and to medical facilities, such as hospital and community health centers. Augusta University is also supplying $57,551 in its own funding for the Emergency Telehealth network.