Quality of Life receives USDA rural grant


Quality of Life Health Services, Inc. was selected for a $ 396,543 grant under the 2014 Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service.

Telemedicine connects an individual patient to a health care provider via a video feed. The provider, with the assistance of a camera and electronic devices, can perform an exam and diagnose and monitor a patient’s health by utilizing the equipment on the telemedicine cart. Other specialists, like behavioral health providers, can counsel and provide educational services directly over the video feed. The use of audio and video allow the patient and provider to interact “face-to-face,” allowing the provider to give personalized professional care from miles away.

This is particularly useful in rural areas where access to specialists is more difficult and frequently involves large amounts of travel. 

“Everyday we are losing rural community hospitals,” said Ronald Davis, USDA Rural Development State Director. “They just can’t support the hospitals.”

Quality of Life Health Services, Inc. will use a Hub site at the Quality of Life Health Complex located at 1411 Piedmont Cutoff, Gadsden to provide telemedicine and tele-psychiatric services to 10 end user rural sites in the Quality of Life Network, including two in Etowah County.

The rural sites impacted by the project are Sardis City Medical Center – Sardis City, W.T. Scruggs Medical Center – Walnut Grove, Douglas Medical Center – Douglas (Marshall County), Dekalb Quality Health Care – Geraldine (Dekalb County), Cherokee Quality Health Care – Cedar Bluff (Cherokee County), Blount County Quality Health Care – Oneonta (Blount Count), Clay Quality Health Care – Ashland (Clay County), Cleburne Quality Health Care – Heflin (Cleburne County), Wadley Cornerstone Clinic – Wadley (Randolph County), Tuskegee Quality Health Care – Tuskegee (Macon County).

  The project is both a telemedicine and tele-psychiatric project which will integrate specialty care and behavioral health into rural areas that lack access to the services. The use of telemedicine has a capacity to end geographic isolation as an obstacle to health care. The system will be able to support video, text, sound and graphics through one interface in order to speed up internal and external communication among providers of care. It is anticipated that the project will begin within the next 60 days when equipment will be purchased and a training schedule developed.

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