Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development and the Illinois Telehealth Network (ITN) announced a USDA Distance Learning & Telemedicine (DLT) grant for three rural hospitals in Illinois, including HSHS Holy Family Hospital in Greenville. The grant will serve to improve patient outcomes and help save lives.
HSHS St. John’s Hospital was awarded a $155,000 highly competitive USDA DLT grant. With matching funds from St. John’s and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis Foundation’s Innovation Institute, as well as Holy Family Hospital and the other rural hospital partners (Boyd Memorial Hospital – Carrollton, and Hillsboro Area Hospital), this grant will provide upgraded telemedicine equipment for three years at these rural hospitals.
The grant was announced at the ITN Member Meeting recently at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. In total, 75 DLT grantees in 31 states were awarded this round with the $155,000 award for Illinois.
The grant supports the total project cost of $315,000, and allows the three rural hospitals in high- poverty and underserved areas to participate in the ITN. Network services currently include emergency department tele-stroke, and could include tele-pediatric care, tele-neonatal intensive care, tele-intensive care, and other applications in the future to expand rural access to care and improve outcomes.
Since 2014, Holy Family Hospital has partnered with St. John’s Hospital to offer patients advanced treatment through STAT Stroke Telemedicine. St. John’s STAT Stroke Network hospitals are specially trained to recognize strokes faster — so life-saving treatment is administered sooner. Thanks to state-of-the-art telemedicine technology, Holy Family Hospital’s emergency physicians can instantly connect to St. John’s in Springfield, where STAT Stroke neurologists are able to check vital signs and speak directly to the patient and providers. This allows local patients access to the region’s stroke leaders, without the drive to Springfield, so treatment can begin faster. In addition, it allows stroke patients to recover here in Greenville, closer to home and family.
“When dealing with strokes, a quick diagnosis can often be the key to a full and speedy recovery,” says Brian Nall, Holy Family Hospital’s Chief Operating Officer. “Our partnership with the stroke experts at St. John’s enables us to begin stroke treatment sooner, right here in Greenville. This grant will now allow us to upgrade our tele-medicine equipment to expand the services we offer, yet the ultimate beneficiary is our community residents and patients.”
The ITN network is comprised of 23 rural hospitals and physician groups in central and southern Illinois, and supported by more than $1 million in federal and private foundation grants.
HSHS Holy Family Hospital is part of the Southern Illinois Division of Hospital Sisters Health System, which also includes HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese, and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland.