WASHINGTON, DC - The Federal Communications Commission has selected Sanford Health to participate in a pilot telehealth program. The program will award up to $812,152 to Sanford to create a broadband network, Sanford Communication and Collaboration Channel, to facility telehealth and telemedicine applications for excellence and efficiency in patient care, education, and research.
"Telehealth will play a major role in improving the quality of care for rural South Dakotans," said South Dakota Senator John Thune in the November announcement. "One of the greatest challenges facing rural communities in South Dakota and across the nation is access to health care. Telehealth technologies can reduce the distance between patients and doctors and enable complex procedures and diagnoses that otherwise would be impossible in rural health facilities."
Sanford Health will connect seven existing networks in South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota to access administrative services and connect with educational institutions. Facilities served include the Aberdeen Area Indian Health Service.
Earlier this year Senator Thune introduced legislation to expand telehealth services across the nation. The Senate passed Senator Thune's amendment as part of the yet to be completed Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill. Senator Thune's amendment would increase funding to expand support for existing and new telehealth resource centers. Currently, these centers provide support to many telehealth providers in their regions. It would also support telehealth network grants, demonstrations, and pilot programs for telehomecare.
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