Grant Expands Telemedicine Program at Ministry Health Care

November 07, 2016 2:05 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

November 3, Wisconsin Health News - A federal grant will help Ministry Health Care expand its telemedicine program to clinics across seven northcentral Wisconsin counties. 

The United States Department of Agriculture announced the $432,258 grant last week. It'll expand a project allowing advanced practice nurse practitioners to consult with physicians and provide care in facilities serving Clark, Forest, Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, Vilas and Waupaca counties. 

"These investments will help provide better healthcare and educational opportunities for rural residents," USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. 

Ministry, which is part of Ascension, plans to add therapeutic services to the program, including dietary and diabetic counseling, tele-psychiatry and post-hospitalization, post-surgical follow-up, according to the USDA.

The project will connect 13 rural clinics and two hospitals to Ministry Saint Claire's Hospital in Weston, according to Ministry spokesman Tom Weaver.  

It will allow Ministry to care for more complex patients within their home communities and has the potential to provide more than 100,000 telemedicine visits during the next three years, Weaver said.  

Ministry's project was one of only seven healthcare projects and the only Wisconsin project funded in the grant cycle. Eighteen projects in 16 states received $4.7 million.