McMorris and USDA Rural Development to Award Broadband Grant to Ferry County Public Hospital District #1

(Washington, D.C.)  Congresswoman Cathy McMorris and USDA Rural Development will present a Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant of $111,772 to Ferry County Public Hospital District #1 on Saturday, January 13th at 11:00 am at the New Assisted Living Facility, 38 Klondike Rd, Republic, WA.

The grant will be presented preceding a public open house of the hospital’s new assisted living facility, which was also funded by USDA Rural Development with a $5 million Community Facilities Direct Loan.

“This USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant will not only improve medical services at Ferry County Public Hospital District # 1, but revolutionize the way people in Republic, and all throughout Ferry County, receive health care,” said Congresswoman Cathy McMorris. “I am a strong advocate for the development of Health IT and the expansion of our broadband infrastructure. The use of telemedicine will allow people in rural areas to receive the type of health care that may have only previously been available in larger cities.”

"USDA Rural Development is proud to partner with the hospital on this project, which connects communities to medical services and educational opportunities they would not otherwise have," said Jon DeVaney, State Director. "This grant will allow the hospital to provide the latest medical training to its staff and timely, high-quality care to the residents of Ferry County.”

The Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant program (DLT) was created to encourage, improve, and make affordable the use of telecommunications, computer networks and related technology for rural communities to improve access to educational and/or medical services. Ferry County Public Hospital District #1 will use the grant to purchase videoconferencing units for the purpose of distance learning. The project will utilize a SimMan training tool to provide valuable on-site medical training to the local workforce.

USDA Rural Development awarded a loan in the amount of $5 million dollars to the Ferry County Public Hospital District # 1 in May 2005 to add a new wing to the existing hospital. The addition houses a new 16-unit Assisted Living facility project as well as a community meeting space, physician offices, and physical therapy offices. The Ferry County Hospital is designated as a Critical Access Hospital (CAH), which the Bush Administration has identified as a priority for funding.

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