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USDA Rural Development Awards Three Distance Learning Telehealth Medicine Awards to Illinois Medical Facilities, Benefitting over 450,000 Rural Illinoisians

Jenny Warning
Release Date

CHAMPAIGN, IL Dec. 14th, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) State Director Betsy Dirksen Londrigan announced today that USDA has made three Distance Learning and Telehealth (DLT) Medicine Awards to Illinois Medical Facilities that will equip them with secure medical hub/ service sites and enable providers to offer remote medical appointments to patients.  

State Director Betsy Dirksen Londrigan states “President Biden charged Rural Development with supporting America’s rural hospitals and medical facilities, and we are proud to answer this call to service. These DLT investments help patients receive care from the comfort of their home, providing safety, security, and convenience. Remote medical appointments mean immune-suppressed patients are able to be safer, young mothers without childcare can still meet conveniently with their doctors, and the elderly who might be transportation-limited don’t miss appointments. These investments are crucial to the health and wellbeing of our rural communities” continues Dirksen Londrigan.  

Illinois Medical Facility Recipients:  

  • Tri-County Special Education Association received a $388,000 investment so their medical professionals can offer general medical, dental, and mental health services to 36 locations across McLean, Logan, Tazewell, DeWitt, Piatt, and Woodford counties. Over 11,000 individuals stand to benefit from this new option.
  • Southern Illinois Hospital Services received a $768,000 investment to purchase telemedicine and secure hub sites that will enable medical professionals to offer remote medical appointments, benefitting over 16,000 individuals in Jackson and Saline County.
  • St John’s Hospital of the Hospital Sisters of the Third Order of St Francis received a $908,000 investment to purchase telemedicine equipment that will provide 8 end-user sites throughout Bond, Christian, Clinton, Madison, Montgomery, and Shelby counties. It will also deliver Mental Health Services and include pain medication management and education, prevention, treatment and recover care for Opioid Substance Use Disorder to seven locations benefitting over 440,000 individuals.

About the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program:

This program is designed to help rural communities use advanced telecommunications technology to connect to each other – and the world – overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density. Congress provided $60 million in Distance Learning and Telemedicine funding in FY 2023. State and local governmental organizations, federally recognized Tribes, non-profit organizations, incorporated, for-profit businesses, and groups of eligible entities working together were all eligible for this program.  Rural area populations for this program were 20,000 or fewer. To learn more, visit Distance Learning & Telemedicine Grants | Rural Development (usda.gov).

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