Shared with permission from the USDA Rural Development.
Howard, South Dakota – February 24, 2016 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development South Dakota staff were in town to tour the Horizon Health Care, Inc. facility and to see firsthand how the latest technology of broadband network upgrades functions.
“Access to quality health care is important to communities and improved quality of life,” said Bruce Jones, Acting State Director for USDA Rural Development. “This distance learning project will improve communication between the hub and end-user sites.”
Horizon Health Care, Inc. was recently awarded grants funds of $238,303 from USDA Rural Development’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Program. The funds will be used to provide health care to thirteen frontier designated counties that span 7,000 square miles in South Dakota. The project will help Horizon Health to designate all of their clinics Patient Centered Medical Homes. Patients that have emergent cardiovascular needs and require physician specialists will be able to be examined in their local rural clinics. Mental health services will be offered to residents via telemedicine for expert consultation that will result in fewer complications. Self-management diabetic training will be provided to improve overall condition and quality of life. This project will provide service to the South Dakota Counties of Miner, Minnehaha, Brown, Kingsbury, Hamlin, Sanborn, Jerauld, Aurora, Mellette, Todd, Buffalo, Bennett, and Beadle.
“Horizon’s HEART (Horizon – Expanding Access through Rural Telehealth) Project will upgrade and expand its current video conferencing technology infrastructure and telemedicine capacity,” said John Mengenhausen, Chief Executive Officer for Horizon Health Care, Inc. “This upgrade made possible through USDA, Horizon will offer our patients services via telemedicine in the areas of hypertension, depression, and diabetes self-management. In addition, the HEART Project will assist Horizon in transforming its clinics to Patient Centered Medical Homes, a nation-wide movement that centers on a care team approach as well as partnerships between patients and providers.”
The DLT Grant Program provides access to education, training and health care resources in rural areas. USDA Rural Development has eight offices in the state that assist rural communities. Office locations include a state office in Huron, along with area offices in Aberdeen, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown, and Yankton.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has produced historic investment in rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have strengthened America’s small towns and cities and helped improve the nation’s economy.
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