Alexander, Corker Praise Funding to Improve Health Services for Rural Tennesseans

Funding Extends Telehealth Program that Connects Rural Hospitals with Medical Specialists

Posted on November 19, 2007

U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., praised today’s announcement by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga has been a awarded over $2 million in funding for telehealth services. The hospital will use this grant to extend an existing broadband network to deliver patient care, video consultations, data exchange, and a virtual nursery to health care facilities in rural communities who don’t have access to the expertise and facilities that larger, urban areas have. “This grant of over $2 million dollars will give a needed boost to Erlanger Hospital’s efforts to provide quality services to rural Tennesseans,” Alexander said. “I’m pleased that the FCC is focused on using cutting edge technology to impact lives by connecting medical experts with those who need their help but are prevented from accessing it because of location.” “I appreciate the FCC’s investment at Erlanger and their work to help modernize health services in Tennessee and throughout the country,” said Corker. As part of their initiative to reach rural communities, the FCC today dedicated over $417 million for the construction of 69 broadband telehealth networks throughout the country. As one of the recipients, Erlanger Hospital’s Erlanger Health System Rural Health Care Fiber Network can use the $2,198,610 grant to reach small, isolated clinics and save lives by connecting them with modern urban medical centers through technology. Telehealth and telemedicine works by giving patients access to medical specialists – like cardiologists, pediatricians and radiologists – without even leaving their homes. Intensive care doctors can monitor patients around the clock through video conferencing and rural hospitals can utilize research from other larger, urban hospitals.