Trump Administration Invests Over $985,000 in Rural Health Care in the Upper Midwest A Distance Learning and Telemedicine Investment Will Benefit a Seven-State, 66 County Area in the Upper Midwest

Vicki Schurman
Release Date
Oct 07, 2020

Lincoln, Neb. Oct. 7, 2020 – The Trump Administration today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $985,399 to provide telemedicine software and equipment to ensure equitable health care access at rural, sparsely staffed medical facilities in a seven-state (IA, KS, MN, MT, ND, NE, and WY), 66 county area in the Upper Midwest through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program.

“The DLT Program is of great benefit to rural residents, medical physicians and facilities as it brings services to all at the local level,” said State Director Karl Elmshaeuser, USDA Rural Development. “I congratulate Avera Health for being awarded the funding announced today as it will have a large medical impact to the Upper Midwest.”  Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA has been working tirelessly to be a strong partner to rural America in building stronger and healthier communities, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.

Background: This DLT project will provide for interactive video and computer equipment that will be used for telehealth consultations with specialty care providers. 

Avera Health is an integrated health system based in Sioux Falls, SD that provides top-quality health services.  Avera serves a population of nearly one million throughout a geographical footprint of 72,000 square miles and 86 counties in the Upper Midwest. They offer a wide range of specialists throughout their innovative Avera eCARE telemedicine services available at more than 150 Avera clinics and doctors’ offices across the region.

Avera serves South Dakota and surrounding areas of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming through six regional centers in Mitchell, Neb., Aberdeen, Pierre, Sioux Falls and Yankton, SD, and Marshall, MN. Avera serves through 35 hospitals, 215 primary and specialty care clinics, 40 senior living facilities in addition to home care and hospice, sports and wellness facilities, home medical equipment outlets and more.

For more information on the DLT Program in Nebraska, contact General Field Representative Roger Meeks at 402-416-4936 or

Today’s announcement is in conjunction with a larger announcement made by USDA where it is investing $72 million in 40 States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through the DLT Program.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.  For more information, visit

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