U.S. Senator Todd Young, Indiana State Representative Randy Frye, Greensburg Mayor Josh Marsh and Decatur County Prosecutor Nate Harter were recently on hand to congratulate Decatur County Memorial Hospital officials for receiving a $698,000 grant from the Federal Communications Commission. The grant will be used to support DCMH’s new telehealth program.
Developed largely in response to social-distancing and no-contact protocols of mitigation for COVID-19, telehealth allows long-distance patient and clinician contact, care, advice, reminders, education, and intervention. It will also support the remote monitoring of patients as well as remote admissions.
“Telehealth will allow Decatur County to leverage the latest technology to serve more Hoosiers, lower costs, and provide better care,” said Senator Young. “That’s why I was so proud to support this dedicated telehealth funding in the CARES Act, and I will continue for even more funding for Indiana.”
DCMH CEO Rex McKinney said the grant would have substantial influence beyond the county.
“The network upgrades to our infrastructure will not only afford our community the ability to access medical care via the Internet and telehealth, but also provide benefits for eLearning opportunities.,” he said. “Our physicians and community have been very receptive to using technology to improve access to care. We are pleased to be able to expand our capabilities in this area.”
McKinney said that when the improved telehealth network is finished, it will provide physicians remote visits with a wide range of patients. They will be able to make rehabilitation assessments of physical, occupational and speech virtually and would provide behavioral health services for seniors in individual and group sessions. The network would also provide the possibility for continuous remote monitoring of patients stable enough to be cared for in the home setting but showing symptoms of COVID-19 infection.
DCMH was one of a select group of hospitals to receive funding to provide health care providers in both urban and rural areas of the country with telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic.
To date, the FCC’s COVID-19 telehealth program, which was authorized by the CARES Act, has approved 444 funding applications in 46 states plus Washington, D.C. for a total of $157.64 million in funding.