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USDA Seeks Public Comment On Distance Learning And Telemedicine Programs

Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager announced that USDA will facilitate a virtual discussion for individuals interested in the field of telemedicine. The Power of Telemedicine web discussion is an extension of the USDA’s Open Government effort and Rural Development’s latest effort to encourage a more widespread use and understanding of telemedicine.

“The Obama Administration believes that all Americans, including those in remote, rural areas, deserve quality health care and every child, including those in rural America deserves a world-class education,” Tonsager said. “USDA Rural Development’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine program provides quality health care and access to education in communities across rural America. Telemedicine has grown steadily over the past decade and your input is crucial as a stakeholder in the health information technologies field.”

The Power of Telemedicine discussion will encourage the exchange of information, innovations and success stories involving the varied uses of telemedicine. This information is essential as Rural Development examines the Distance Learning and Telemedicine program (DLT) and works to improve program delivery to telemedicine practitioners, patients, institutions and others affected by this cutting-edge technology.

Starting today, Rural Development is encouraging individuals, organizations, and professionals in the telemedicine community to contribute feedback and ideas on a series of questions provided for discussion. Please visit the USDA’s Open website and discover the conversation by searching “telemedicine” or browse for the latest discussion threads.

Since 1993, the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program has funded more than 900 projects in 48 states and several U.S. territories, totaling more than $300 million. The program is designed to provide rural residents with innovative and affordable learning and health care opportunities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of 6,100 employees located in the nation’s capital and 500 state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $140 billion in loans and loan guarantees. To access the discussion site go here.

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