Rural schools will have greater access to telehealth services thanks to grant

Students attending rural schools in the Roseburg area will soon have greater access to health services with the expansion of telehealth clinics. 

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced last week that the Mercy Foundation in Roseburg will receive $375,768 from the Federal Communications Commission to help increase telehealth services available for rural schools.

“Many aspects of our lives have gone online during the pandemic as we worked to curb the spread of COVID-19,” Wyden said. “When I visited Mercy Medical in Roseburg last week, they made it clear to me that quality health care should be accessible to Oregon children no matter their family’s income or zip code. I am gratified to see the FCC funding this telehealth program to make that goal a reality for children in Douglas County.”

The grant will allow Mercy Foundation to implement rural school-based telehealth clinics, providing direct access to primary care for school-aged children. The FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program aids in health care providers’ efforts to serve patients by giving reimbursements for telecommunications services, information services and connected devices to make telehealth possible during the pandemic. 

“Many aspects of our lives have gone online during the pandemic as we worked to curb the spread of COVID-19,” Merkley said. “Many health providers have gone online as well, continuing to provide support and care for communities from all corners of Oregon through incredible telehealth programs.

The project is a collaborative partnership between Mercy Foundation, Mercy Medical Center, Cow Creek Indians Health and Wellness Center and Evergreen Family Medicine. In addition to assisting in the health and wellness of the community, it will include access to diabetes and ancillary services, said Lisa Platt, the president of the Mercy Foundation. 

“Needless to say we are humbled and thrilled by this news. This project enables us to further our mission of providing health and wellness resources to Douglas County children,” Platt said.