SPRINGFIELD - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development and the Illinois Telehealth Network (ITN) partnered today to announce a USDA Distance Learning & Telemedicine (DLT) grant for three rural hospitals in Illinois. The grant will serve to improve patient outcomes and help save lives.
HSHS St. John’s Hospital was awarded a $155,000 highly competitive USDA DLT grant. With matching funds from three rural hospital partners, St. John’s and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis Foundation’s Innovation Institute, this grant will provide upgraded telemedicine equipment for three years at:
- Boyd Memorial Hospital (Carrollton, Ill.)
- HSHS Holy Family Hospital, formerly Greenville Regional Hospital (Greenville, Ill.)
- Hillsboro Area Hospital (Hillsboro, Ill.)
"The USDA Rural Development Distance Learning & Telemedicine program is designed to help rural communities access modern telecommunications for education and healthcare – key components of community and economic development," said Colleen Callahan, state director of USDA rural development. "HSHS St. John’s will now be able to provide better health, better health care and lower health care costs," she added. "The hospitals in Carrollton, Greenville and Hillsboro will have new equipment to build capacity and expand services, yet the ultimate beneficiary is the rural resident and patient."
The grant was announced at the ITN Member Meeting today at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. In total, 75 DLT grantees in 31 states were awarded this round with the $155,000 award for Illinois.
The grant supports the total project cost of $315,000, and allows the three rural hospitals in high- poverty and underserved areas to participate in the ITN. Network services currently include emergency department tele-stroke, and could include tele-pediatric care, tele-neonatal intensive care, tele-intensive care, and other applications in the future to expand rural access to care and improve outcomes.
"This project is a significant step in the network’s strategic plan and is a part of a wider strategy to advance delivery innovations through telemedicine applications," said ITN Chair Gurpreet Mander, MD, MBA, chief medical officer at HSHS St. John’s Hospital.
A year ago, HSHS St. John’s Hospital was awarded its first $181,000 USDA DLT grant to support a $369,000 project for new telemedicine equipment at: Mason District Hospital (Havana); Pana Community Hospital (Pana) and Shelby Memorial Hospital (Shelbyville). U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, and U.S. Representatives Rodney Davis and John Shimkus supported the USDA DLT grants.
The ITN network is comprised of 23 rural hospitals and physician groups in central and southern Illinois, and supported by more than $1 million in federal and private foundation grants.
About Illinois Telehealth Network (ITN):
To advance telehealth and telemedicine in rural communities, the Illinois Telehealth Network was launched in 2014 with a federal grant to support network planning. Today, ITN is comprised of 23 mostly rural hospital and health care members and is dedicated to the mission of promoting its members’ capacity ―to improve access to health care, in rural, underserved and disadvantaged communities, through the application of telehealth and telemedicine solutions.‖ ITN’s vision is to connect and share resources, strengthen rural health care and save lives. The network is currently sustained by a diverse grant portfolio of more than $1 million in active grants.
About HSHS St. John’s Hospital:
HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois is a regional medical center offering a comprehensive array of health care services to central and southern Illinois. Founded in 1875, St. John’s is the flagship hospital of Hospital Sisters Health System and is home to the Prairie Heart Institute, St. John’s Children’s Hospital, St. John’s Women’s Services, St. John’s Neurosciences Institute, St. John’s Cancer Institute, orthopedic services and AthletiCare. St. John’s now has one of the most advanced surgery centers in the nation and a renovated patient tower with all private rooms. St. John’s is designated as a level I trauma center, has its own college of nursing and is a teaching hospital for the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. For more information about St. John’s Hospital, visit www.st-johns.org.