USDA Awards $205,393 Grant to Hoosick Falls Health Center, Inc.

HOOSICK FALLS -
Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman announced a Department of Agriculture (USDA) Telemedicine grant of $205,393 for the Hoosick Falls Health Center, Inc., in Hoosick Falls. The grant is part of a $15 million announcement, providing grant assistance to 42 Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) projects in 20 states and American Samoa.

"These grants are important for helping rural areas become better equipped with the use of high speed, modern technology," said Veneman.

The grant will be used for a telecommunications project linking a skilled nursing facility with its two support hospitals. The project will include the installation of a phone system with voice mail, telemedicine, distance learning, Internet connectivity and IP TV. This project will also make it possible for residents to communicate with their families, through videoconferencing, no matter where they are located around the world as well as use telemedicine services across state lines.

"This grant will go a long way towards assisting rural healthcare facilities like the Hoosick Falls Health Center close a technology gap while ensuring they are able to deliver the best healthcare services to their respective communities," said Representative John E. Sweeney (R-Halfmoon), a member of the Rural Health Care Coalition. "It's important that nursing facilities and support hospitals in rural areas are given the resources they need in order to serve residents and aren't left behind in the ever-changing healthcare field."

Patrick H. Brennan, State Director for Rural Development in New York, said, "I am very pleased the Hoosick Falls Health Center has been successful in accessing these grant dollars. The proposed telecommunication systems will be a great benefit for the residents of the nursing facility, not only in improved health care, but also in giving them additional means for keeping in contact with their families

In addition to the grants announced today, USDA's Rural Utilities Service is accepting applications for $200 million in loans and $110 million for DLT grant/loan combinations. Further details, along with regulations and application guide, are available on the web at www.usda.gov/rus/telecom/dlt/dltpublications.htm.

For more information on distance learning and telemedicine loans and grants in New York State, contact Dave Miller, P.E., Rural Utilities Service Program Director, USDA Rural Development, at (315)477-6427.