receive USDA grant
St. Mary’s Hospital and Clearwater Valley Hospital recently received notification from the United States Department of Agriculture that their grant application was selected as one of only 35 projects across the nation designed to provide medical service improvements.
The $289,369 grant was awarded by the USDA Rural Utilities Service Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program. The monies will be used by the hospitals to purchase equipment to digitize, transfer and store their ultrasound, X-ray and CT images. Seventy-nine educational and medical projects were selected nationwide for funds totaling $29.4 million. The hospitals were the only Idaho facilities selected in this round of funding.
The grant requires matching funds of $217,000 which will be provided by contributions from the CVHC and SMHC Foundations and other grants.
“We’ve been actively searching for ways to digitize all our radiology images so we can send them over the phone lines to be read by radiologists located around the world,” said Casey Meza, CVHC/SMHC CEO. “We’ve had an excellent relationship with our regional radiology providers, but when many of those radiologists left the area we immediately began searching for ways to get our images read immediately, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This grant will certainly help us.”
According to Pam McBride, Grants Coordinator, the equipment will also enable both hospitals to place the digitized images in the patient’s electronic medical record. “If a patient has a CT scan and, a couple of years later has other suspicious symptoms, the physician will be able to immediately pull up that read on their computer, see the radiologists read and glean the information they need.”
The funds will be shared between the two hospitals and their 11 medical and physical therapy clinics. “The fact that we are partnered really helped in acquiring this grant,” said McBride. “The funders could see that the project would help a larger number of clinics and, therefore, a larger number of patients.”
Image digitizers, a picture archive system and interfacing software will be purchased. CVHC and SMHC are currently initiating a new Meditech software system that will create electronic medical records. Other modules within the system are also being implemented. They will be used in the admissions, billing, lab reporting, payroll, and a number of other areas within each facility.
This is the second USDA Rural Utilities Service grant the two hospitals have received.