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Altru and USDA Partner to Increase Medical Acesss in Rural Areas

Samantha Evenson
Grand Forks
Release Date
Nov 20, 2014

USDA Rural Development announced today that Altru Health System will receive a $196,305 grant to expand health care to rural communities. The funding is administered through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program.

"Through technology, we are able to provide resources and medical expertise to rural areas that previously were not available,” said Jasper Schneider, USDA Acting Administrator for Rural Utilities Service. “Partnering with Altru, we can help break a distance barrier to improve critical health care services to rural residents.”

Altru Health System, based in Grand Forks, will use the grant to establish a reliable video conferencing network. The digital software will provide rural patients with access to medical professionals via a secure network, which allows them to be diagnosed and treated in their own communities. While delivering high quality care, the technology will save rural residents valuable time and costly travel expenses. Furthermore, the new system will increase access to medical education and peer networking with the strategic goal of maintaining medical personnel in the rural healthcare facilities.

 Serving northwest Minnesota and northeast North Dakota, Altru Health System has over 4,000 employees throughout 12 Grand Forks practices and 12 regional locations. The investments announced today are provided through USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS), which also administers infrastructure programs that fund broadband and rural electric systems to meet the needs of rural communities.  To learn more about USDA’s utility programs, please call (701) 530-2037 or visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/nd.