WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) announced today that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $566,690 to two rural health care organizations in Maine as part of USDA’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program. The funding will help the organizations purchase network, video-conferencing, and other telecommunications equipment for rural health care facilities that specialize in addressing opioid abuse, treatment, and recovery.
“Opioid abuse is one of the most serious health epidemics facing Maine, and this crisis is particularly harmful to rural areas,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “These new technology and telemedicine upgrades will help rural Maine’s health care providers access the education, training, and resources necessary to help Maine people struggling with substance use disorders enter recovery.”
The funding was allocated as follows:
- Maine Quality Counts received $87,011 to fund video-conferencing equipment that will connect partners in the opioid abuse recovery community in Kennebec, Washington, Waldo, Hancock, and Piscataquis Counties
- Maine Rural Health Collaborative received $479,679 to fund telehealth network and video-conferencing equipment that will connect nine health care facilities in Aroostook, Hancock, Penobscot, and Washington Counties with partners in Maine and New Hampshire, increasing access to resources and training addressing opioid misuse.
The Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program helps rural communities use the unique capabilities of telecommunications to connect to each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density. For example, this program can link medical service providers in one area to patients in another.