The Roundup -

Sidney Health Center Recognized For Providing Telemedicine To Area Residents

 

Judy Reid, Sidney Health Center Telemedicine LPN and Lori Bigwood-Pecarina, Telemedicine RN from the Eastern Montana Telemedicine Network demonstrate the new equipment on Carla Bright, RN. The equipment was provided by Billings Clinic through a grant from the USDA to extend specialty medical services to communities in eastern Montana.

Sidney Health Center was recently recognized for 20 years of excellence in telemedicine services as a member of the Eastern Montana Telemedicine Network.

The Eastern Montana Telemedicine network is a mature telemedicine delivery system, providing the provision of medical care in 37 rural and frontier Montana communities. Currently, medical and mental health services comprise 71% of all network activity. Over 80 specialists and clinicians provide care in 21 specialty areas including: cardiology, oncology, nephrology, dermatology, pulmonary, rheumatology, physical medicine and rehab, neurology, genetics counseling, geriatrics, diabetes care, dietician services.

These medical consultations often save rural Montana residents in out-of-pocket travel expenses. In addition, mental health encounters are a vital service of the telemedicine network. With no psychiatrists practicing east of Billings, MT, access to telemental health service is critical. The availability of mental health services is truly a life line for rural and frontier residents in Montana.

“Telemedicine also gives our nurses at Sidney Health Center an opportunity to do continuing education online. We need 24 credits every two years,” commented Judy Reid, telemedicine LPN. “Being able to do education here is essential to keeping our license requirements up-to-date.”

Earlier this summer, the USDA designated rural development grant funds for telemedicine equipment that extended specialty medical services such as dermatology, allergy care and ear, nose and throat care to 16 rural communities in eastern Montana, including Sidney. Billings Clinic was the recipient of the $295,117 grant through the USDA that helped place equipment in these facilities and extend the specialty medical services.

Sidney Health Center continues to expand and offer telemedicine services to area residents as a community health benefit. Supporting the health and vitality of rural communities and the people who live and work in them is a top priority of the Eastern Montana Telemedicine Network. This service allows individuals who choose the rural lifestyle the opportunity to access comprehensive, high-quality health care in their home communities. Telemedicine connects communities across the miles to a robust, secure and sustainable healthcare network.

 

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