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May 30, 2017
Governor announces grant to expand ADPH telehealth services in 19 counties

MONTGOMERY— Greater access to high-tech medical care is coming to 19 Alabama counties with the help of a $139,650 Appalachian Regional Commission grant announced by Gov. Kay Ivey.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) will use the grant to expand its local telehealth services by building and deploying telehealth carts for use in 19 county health departments. Each cart will be equipped with a high-definition video camera, computer, monitors, a Bluetooth stethoscope and a handheld examination camera. The equipment will enable patients to travel to their local health department for a telehealth appointment with their doctor or specialist located in another city.

“The use of telehealth technology greatly eases the burden on patients in rural areas by eliminating the need to travel to see a doctor or specialist in one of our major metropolitan areas like Birmingham or Mobile,” Ivey said. “I commend the Department of Public Health for expanding this initiative, and I am grateful for the ARC funds to make this expansion possible.”

The patients schedule the appointments with their health care provider then travel to their local health department where staff facilitate the appointment using the telehealth cart equipment. The service is already available in 21 county health departments.

State Health Officer Dr. Tom Miller said, “The overarching goal of the department’s Telehealth Program is to increase access to a broad range of health care services by collaborating with providers who are willing and able to serve new and existing clients via telehealth technology. This new model of care in Alabama has the potential to provide expanded access to healthcare services, specifically to the underserved population throughout the Appalachian region.”

The new carts will go to health departments in the following counties: Bibb, Chambers, Chilton, Cleburne, Fayette, Franklin, Hale, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lamar, Macon, Madison, Marion, Morgan, Pickens, Randolph, St. Clair, Tallapoosa and Winston.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers the ARC program in Alabama. Thirty-seven counties in Alabama are part of the ARC region and eligible for funds, which could be cut under current federal budget proposals.

“A native of rural Alabama, Governor Ivey knows first-hand the importance of access to high-quality and specialized health care to the quality of life in any community,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “With Governor Ivey’s support of this grant, ADECA’s partnership with ARC will enable the Department of Public Health to offer telehealth services to more Alabamians – particularly those in rural areas of our state.”

The ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation. During a period of October 2015 to January 2017 ARC has funded 64 projects in Alabama totaling $11.2 million and resulted in 900 jobs and trained or educated 14,000 students or workers for new or advancement jobs.

ADECA administers an array of programs supporting law enforcement and traffic safety, economic development, energy conservation, workforce development, water resource management and recreation development.

Contact: Mike Presley or Jennifer Ardis Elmore

For more information, visit:  http://www.adeca.alabama.gov/