Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) today announced that he helped secure a grant of nearly $1 million to expand telehealth services in Northeast Wisconsin. The grant, which totals $996,281, was awarded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and allows St. Vincent and the HSHS System to purchase telehealth equipment and improve access to telehealth services, including opioid and substance abuse treatment and tele-stroke care. The announcement comes after Rep. Gallagher urged the USDA to approve this grant application in a letter earlier this year.
"Increased access to telehealth has never been more important,” said Rep. Gallagher. “This grant is a huge win, particularly for our rural communities, and will give St. Vincent and the HSHS system the resources it needs to deliver high quality care to patients regardless of where they live. I’m proud to have helped secure this grant and will continue fighting to make telehealth a more permanent and accessible component of our healthcare system.”
"This award for telemedicine equipment will serve 455,000 lives in 20 rural counties. It will help HSHS save countless lives and improve quality of care by providing tele-behavioral health services, expanded tele-health care for substance use disorders, and tele-stroke care to patients in communities that have otherwise limited access to health care resources," said Josh Gustafson, Director of Business and Strategic Partnerships, HSHS Wisconsin.
The grant will serve 13 hospitals and clinical sites in rural communities, and will specifically be used to:
• Help address the opioid crisis through emergency department consults, evaluations, education, referrals, counseling and treatment of Opioid/Substance Use Disorder patients,
• Support emergency department services, including 24/7 tele-stroke specialist consults,
• Support future developments of tele-pediatric, tele-neonatal, and tele-emergency care,
• Help establish a telemedicine hub and spoke network to bring specialists to patients,
• Support planning and implementation of a federal HRSA Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Planning grant project in Northeast Wisconsin, and
• Support a five-year Wisconsin Department of Health Services Opioid Methamphetamine Treatment Center project.
Earlier this year, Congressman Gallagher sent a letter
to House leadership urging the extension of telehealth waivers during the ongoing public health crisis.