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Essentia Health awarded grant to expand Telehealth Network

Essentia Health received a $213,564 grant to expand access to telemedicine services in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota. The money comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Services Distance Learning and Telemedici...

Essentia Health received a $213,564 grant to expand access to telemedicine services in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota. The money comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Services Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program.

Telehealth uses technology to connect patients and physicians, and allows patients to interact in real time with a long-distance doctor in the convenience of their local hospital or clinic, avoiding long trips to out-of-town specialists.

Essentia currently has Telehealth in more than 20 different specialties, including emergency services, weight loss and nutrition education, at 25 sites.

The funds will add an additional 21 Essentia rural clinics and two hospital/clinic sites to the Telehealth network, benefiting more than 300,000 people in Essentia's rural service area.

"We're very excited to receive this money. This grant will allow us to purchase state-of-the-art videoconferencing carts, cameras, stethoscopes and ear scopes used for Telehealth visits and in exams," said Maureen Ideker, registered nurse and Essentia Health's director of Telehealth. "Now our patients will be able to see and speak directly with our specialists anywhere, anytime, no matter how far away they may be from each other."

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The 18 Essentia Health clinic sites in Minnesota include Brainerd, Baxter, Crosslake, Hackensack, Pequot Lakes, Pierz, Pillager, Pine River, Walker, Chokio, Frazee, Pelican Rapids, Babbitt, Bagley, Chisholm, Deer River, Grand Rapids and Remer,

The three Essentia Health clinic sites in North Dakota include Hankinson, Valley City and Wahpeton. The two hospital/clinic sites are in Detroit Lakes and Virginia, Minn.

The grant will also benefit Essentia's three highest-volume Telehealth sites - Ashland, Wis.; Deer River and International Falls.

Essentia Health applied for the grant in June and will match the grant dollar for dollar.

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