USDA Invests in the Expansion of Rural Education and Health Care Access

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy has announced that USDA is investing $42.5 million in 133 distance learning and telemedicine projects in 37 states and 2 U.S. territories. USDA is providing the funding through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program. These investments will benefit 5.4 million rural residents. 

Owensboro Health is receiving a $460,820 grant to instal 22 telemedicine units at 10 sites in Hopkins, Muhlenberg, McLean, and Ohio counties in Kentucky plus a site in Perry County, Indiana. This project will provide health care resources to approximately 35,000 residents, including nearly 2,000 patients. 

The goal of the Owensboro Health Telehealth Project is to eliminate a geographic barrier in order for rural residents to access health care services. This will reduce the time and cost associated with travel, therefore shortening the time between symptoms, diagnosis, and proper treatment. This grant will also help Kentuckians in rural areas access care to specialists, who are often located in urban areas. 

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements, business development, housing, community facilities such as schools, and high-speed internet access in rural areas.