Congressman Bill Owens announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made funding available to the Adirondack Medical Center, a member of Adirondack Health, to implement a telemedicine network connecting the main hospital at Saranac Lake with satellite clinics in the nearby rural areas. The grant, made possible through USDA Rural Development, has been awarded in the amount of $112,860.
"As we work together to lower the overall cost of health care for patients and providers, promoting telemedicine programs like the one here at Adirondack Medical Center is a step in the right direction," said Owens. "I would like to thank the folks at AMC for the hard work done not only to secure this grant, but for working everyday to improve the quality of care patients receive in Franklin and Essex Counties."
Implementation of the telemedicine network at Adirondack Medical Center includes setting up new video end points to extend the hospital medical services to patients in the North Country who do not currently have access to the facility's services. The network will allow rural clinicians to visually consult with medical specialists at the hospital, to synchronize patient information between sites, and to realize cost-savings at every point in the process, especially travel costs for patients. The primary and secondary service areas span over 1,200 square miles in region.
"As we all know there are many challenges for health care providers in a rural area such as ours," said Chandler Ralph, President and & CEO of Adirondack Health. "Nevertheless, we are committed to overcoming those challenges to maintain the level of sophisticated and compassionate care our community expects and deserves. This telemedicine project is yet another example of overcoming obstacles to meet the needs of our patients and Living Center residents."
"Congressman Owens has a deep and clear understanding of the challenges faced by rural health care providers, and has consistently assisted us in our mission of providing the best care possible for our patients and Living Center residents," Ms. Ralph further noted.
Adirondack Health will use telemedicine to reduce travel for residents, patients and providers as well as retain and enhance current medical services. Adirondack Health will utilize secure web-based technology to implement the telemedicine system. Initially, the technology will be used among Adirondack Health's facilities.
For example, this virtual connection will allow a nurse at either Living Center to consult with the Emergency Department at AMC if a resident is experiencing complications. In some cases, a routine hospital visit can be a stressful or exhausting experience for a Living Center resident who may be elderly or frail. The telemedicine connection with the Emergency Department can determine if a health concern can be managed within the comfort of the resident's home environment at the Living Center.
As the system develops, Adirondack Health will broaden the telemedicine network to include regional connections to provide specialty services not available locally. This could eliminate the inconvenience and cost of travel for Tri-Lakes residents.
Adirondack Medical Center is a member of Adirondack Health, which includes Living Centers in Lake Placid and Tupper Lake, health centers in Keene, Lake Placid and Tupper Lake, and a dental clinic in Lake Placid. Adirondack Health provides a full range of acute, primary and skilled nursing care to the Tri-Lakes region, and is the largest private employer in the Adirondack Park.