New England Telehealth Consortium Receives Federal Health Care Grant

Consortium receives $24.6 million to connect rural and urban nonprofit health care centers.

by / January 7, 2008

Maine Governor John E. Baldacci congratulated the New England Telehealth Consortium today for receiving a $24.6 million Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rural health care grant. The grant is the largest award issued by the FCC under the Rural Health Care Pilot Program. The Consortium's winning proposal calls for the connection of rural and urban nonprofit health care centers in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

"The system that will be created will enable citizens, especially in rural areas of Maine, to receive top quality care through enhanced telemedicine and information sharing," Baldacci said.

ProInfoNet of Bangor developed the coalition that sought the award. The New England Telehealth Consortium consists of 31 members, representing 555 health care sites in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, including hospitals, the University of Maine, the University of New England, The Jackson Laboratory and others. The consortium will link regional health care providers with urban public practices, research institutions, academic institutions and medical specialists to provide greater efficiency in the sharing of information relevant to health care applications. Once the network is complete, the opportunity exists to connect with a similar network in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

"The network created will help all these institutions -- hospitals, clinics, and other providers -- along with academic and research facilities -- to share professional knowledge and research that will ultimately benefit the patient whether that patient is in Bangor, Rockport, Lubec or Millinocket," the governor said. "This project moves us forward on the critical goal of my Administration of improving health care for all Mainers."

Total, the FCC dedicated $417 million over three years for the construction of 69 statewide or regional broadband telehealth networks in 42 states and three U.S. territories.