Stabenow announces initiative to expand quality health care in the U.P.

Courtesy:  Senator Debbie Stabenow’s Office

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, announced support for the Munson Medical Center to help connect people in rural areas with quality health care. The $217,629 grant will benefit 27 counties in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. The funding, which comes through the USDA’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant program, was authorized by Sen. Stabenow’s 2014 Farm Bill.

“Families in Northern Michigan and the UP deserve access to quality health care services,” said Stabenow. “With telehealth, patients are able to get important checkups and medical care even though the doctor is hundreds of miles away, thanks to state-of-the-art equipment and technology. Today’s announcement will help make sure patients have access to specialists no matter what their zip code is.”

Munson Medical Center’s Hematology, Education, and Access: Linking to Specialists (HEALS) telemedicine application will help connect patients in remote areas to specialty care teleconsultants, care coordination, and patient education through videoconferencing. The project will also provide education for clinicians and medical students throughout the region.

Thursday’s funding comes as part of a larger USDA announcement, which allocated $10 million in grants to improve access to health care and treat chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, conditions that are higher in rural areas.

Senator Stabenow is Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, which has jurisdiction over the USDA and its Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant program.