WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) announced that the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program has awarded a total of $2,181,629 to several rural healthcare organizations and educational institutions throughout Maine. The funds will help six Maine organizations expand their online services, allowing them to reach more Maine people.
“In the 21st century, the internet creates new opportunities for Maine people to access vital health treatments or pursue their education, no matter where they live,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “These funds will expand the reach of key programs that improve health outcomes and open doors for rural Maine people, providing a welcome boost for communities across our state.”
The funding is awarded as follows:
· Androscoggin Home has received $215,900 to purchase 250 new telemonitoring devices which will benefit 180 communities across nine counties.
· MaineHealth has received $473,739 to create a telemedicine network to treat opioid disorders experienced by women and infants in rural Maine.
· Children’s Center has received $300,818 to go towards funding a new telemedicine project that will use tablets to create a technology library. The library will be available to families within a 120-mile radius of the Children's Center Augusta or at the two designated end-user sites at the Children's Center Farmington and Children's Center Skowhegan. The project will serve 202,572 individuals.
· Northern Light Health has received $191,496 to implement a telemedicine project in six hospitals. The project will serve 54,333 residents.
· Western Foothills Reg. School Unit #10 has received $499,676 to enable RSU 10 to implement a distance learning project to receive and distribute advanced classes. All schools will be linked to opioid and behavioral health support. An estimated 25,703 individuals will benefit.
· University of Maine System has received $500,000 to upgrade distance learning technology. The University will provide teaching services to students in rural Maine. Over 29,000 students will be served.
The USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program provides grants to encourage and improve telemedicine and distance learning services in rural areas through the use of telecommunications, computer networks, and related advanced technologies to be used by students, teachers, medical professionals, and rural residents.