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Good Samaritan Scores USDA Rural Development Telemedicine Grant

Vicki Schurman
Release Date
Nov 26, 2014

CHI Health Good Samaritan in Kearney is the recipient of a $155,041 grant and will match that amount to further an innovative telemedicine program to reach more rural people.  USDA Rural Development Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul presented a plaque in honor of the project award.

“Our Midwest Telehealth Network will utilize the grant funds to further expand the number of project partners and the type of services available through our telehealth network,” said Michael Schnieders, president, CHI Health Good Samaritan. Also accepting the plaque, via teleconference, was Kim Moore, president, CHI Health St. Elizabeth in Lincoln.

“Quality health care should be available to all.  The telemedicine program helps to bring health resources to those who cannot travel long distances,” said Moul.

 Through the grant, patients in a crisis at rural hospitals will have access to nurses and other caregivers from CHI Health hospitals via telemedicine through a process known as rapid response teams.

 An increasing number of hospitals and health systems in the U.S. are adopting rapid response teams as part of their safety and quality improvement initiatives, simultaneously saving patients' lives and supporting the nursing profession.  A rapid response team is a group of seasoned clinicians whom hospital staff can call upon at any time to provide critical care and assessment expertise at the bedside of a patient whose condition is questionable and/or possibly deteriorating.

 However, implementation of these teams is more difficult in a Critical Access Hospital (CAH).  Studies show that the unique work environment of CAHs means registered nurses are often overextended, reassigned from inpatient care, and/or interrupted, creating potential safety and quality risks.  Additionally, only a small number of nurses or other clinicians may be in the building at the same time.  This grant will provide an opportunity to use telemedicine technology to provide CAHs in Nebraska with access to a rapid response team from either CHI Health St. Elizabeth in Lincoln or CHI Health Good Samaritan in Kearney.

 "We are so excited to be a recipient of the USDA grant.  Rapid response teams have been proven to save lives in hospitals with their ability to quickly respond to early warning signs.  Being able to extend this support through telehealth will allow patients in critical access hospitals to receive this same benefit.  I'm excited that CHI Health will be able to participate in this very important work to improve the health of the communities we serve,” said Moore.

The 2014 grant award is the sixth USDA grant for CHI Health Good Samaritan on behalf of the Midwest Telehealth Network.  Thanks to the USDA grants, the Midwest Telehealth Network has been able to grow from 12 project partners in 2004 to what will be 33 in 2015.  “Funding made available through the USDA grant program has enabled our network to continue to grow and expand access to health care services in rural Nebraska and Kansas,” said Schnieders.

For more information on the Distance Learning Telemedicine Loan and Grant program visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UTP_DLT.html

To find the nearest Rural Development contact for you in Nebraska visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/NE-Contact.html

For additional information on RD projects, please visit Rural Development’s new interactive web map featuring program funding and success stories for fiscal years 2009-2013. The data can be found at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RDSuccessStories.html.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.