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November 26, 2007

OneCommunity lands $11.2m FCC Grant to Extend Community Network Coverage for Health Care Services

This just in from OneCommunity and the Northeast Ohio Regional Health Information Organization. The FCC funded more than $400m of infrastructure projects to connect urban health care research and clinical care providers to their rural community partners. OneCommunity will be working with other community-based networking groups to extend access for healthcare and other community priorities

Rural Hospitals to Benefit from Enhanced Collaboration and Services

Cleveland, Ohio – The Federal Communications Commission announced Monday that the Northeast Ohio Regional Health Organization (NEO RHIO) and OneCommunity are the recipients of an $11.2 million capital grant that will fund 70 percent of the total $16.1 million development of a regional broadband health care network over a three year period. The remaining 30 percent needed for the project will be raised through other sources. Funds will be used to extend OneCommunity’s dedicated HealthNet high-speed broadband network to connect 19 rural hospitals and numerous clinics spanning 22 counties to over 30 existing hospitals connected to the OneCommunity network. HealthNet will enable NEO RHIO and its collaborative medical providers to deliver telemedicine applications, records access, medical imaging and remote diagnostic services.

The FCC grant is part of the national Rural Healthcare Pilot Program (RHCPP), a $417 million campaign connecting over 6,000 public and non-profit healthcare providers in rural, urban and suburban communities to a high-speed broadband network. There is a great need for broadband in the rural healthcare community, where isolated clinics will now have the opportunity to save lives by using advanced communications technology to tap into the expertise of modern urban medical centers. The effort supports the President’s goal of a national system to manage electronic patient health records and will connect to the National LamdaRail and Internet2. The FCC announcement comes on the heels of last week’s American Health Information Community conference in Chicago where FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed plans to develop the RHCPP.

“This is an important economic development for our region’s healthcare industry,” says Mark Ansboury, acting chief technology officer for NEO RHIO and chief technology officer of OneCommunity. “We now have the opportunity, for the first time, to connect rural medical facilities to a network of nationally recognized health care providers. In the end, the grant is not only revolutionizing the way health care is delivered in rural areas, but is also helping the people that need it most – the patients.”

“We offer our congratulations to Ohio’s two other grant recipients, Holzer Consolidated Health Systems and the Southern Ohio Healthcare Network,” says Scot Rourke, chief executive officer of OneCommunity. “This is a nice win for the entire state. Together, our efforts will connect hundreds of medical facilities in Ohio and enhance our healthcare services and related research capabilities.”

“This award was made possible by many strong collaborators including Northeast Ohio Technology Coalition (NorTech), the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Ohio Congressional delegation, the Governor’s office, and all the many state government officials who supported this effort,” continued Rourke.

The connected 22 counties will include: Ashland, Ashtabula, Carroll, Columbiana, Coshocton, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Holmes, Huron, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Sandusky, Seneca, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas and Wayne.

Posted by lsg8 at November 26, 2007 10:04 AM and tagged

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