Patients in a rural hospital in the state will have better access to specialists miles away. That is the purpose of a federal grant coming to Williamsburg Regional Hospital. It’s getting more than $250,000 to be used to bring cardiac health services to residents in Williamsburg County.
Jonathan Adelstein, Administrator of the Rural Utilities Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture says this will serve to support local healthcare providers with new interactive digital connections to the specialists located in major metropolitan hospitals.
Adelstein says the program provides connections through equipment that’s needed between urban and rural areas so that communication can happen.
We did an over $250,000 grant to Williamsburg Regional Hospital which is a real on-the-ground, first-of-its-kind project to bring cardiac healthcare services with direct physician consultation to the rural residents of Williamsburg County.
The program will be a good source in training and education, says Adelstein, and will allow specialists miles apart to interact.
It will not only provide residents with preventive cardiac screenings and really improve their cardiac care, but it will also serve to support the local cardiac healthcare providers with new interaction digital connections to specialists and electronic resources in major metropolitan resources in South Carolina.
Adelstein says this is a very competetive program and there were many more applications than funding available.
….way more applications for good projects than we had funding available. But we looked at those that were particularly well put together. We looked at those that served rural areas, that served areas that have low income. We looked for the need. And in this case, we found that this is a first-of-a-kind project, and the residents in Williamsburg County need these cardiac health services. So we wanted to make sure they had the equipment to make this project a reality.
Adelstein says the program will make it easier for the caregivers and for the patients. Williamsburg Regional is one of only 106 projects in 38 states that were selected to receive a grant to assist rural residents.
So, this really is much more efficient for them because they don’t have to travel, and it’s better for the specialist as well because they can deal with a much greater population right from where they are. And given the limited number of these specialists, it’s wonderful to have them have the opportunity to reach out further and to be able to provide care to residents of rural areas that otherwise may not be able to make it in, or just wouldn’t make it in.
The Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program at USDA provides access to the specialty hospitals and all of the major specialties that are otherwise unavailable in rural areas.