CHARLESTON, S.C. and JACKSON, Miss. – The Medical University of South Carolina and the University of Mississippi Medical Center have been recognized by the Health Resources and Services Administration as the only two national Telehealth Centers of Excellence in the U.S.
The awards recognize each academic institution’s role in expanding the footprint of telehealth, according to the HRSA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Each institution received a grant of $600,000 with the
opportunity for an additional $2 million over the next two years.
“This is a phenomenal achievement,” said Dr. Patrick J. Cawley, CEO and vice president for health affairs at MUSC Health, in a statement. “This grant acknowledges the premier position that our telehealth team has established not only in South Carolina, but across the nation.”
MUSC provides telehealth services at more than 200 locations across the state, including impoverished, medically-underserved, rural areas with high rates of chronic disease.
“This is one of the first of its kind HRSA grants with only two awarded in the entire country,” said Shawn Valenta, MUSC Center of Telehealth director. “Grant funds will allow the MUSC telehealth team to leverage the unique qualities intrinsic to our academic medical center and extend this mission nationally to accelerate the dissemination of best practices to achieve effective and efficient care,” said Shawn Valenta, director of the MUSC Center of Telehealth, in a statement.
The UMMC Center for Telehealth connects patients and caregivers to health care providers remotely, in real-time, using video calls and interactive tools. More than 500,000 patient visits in 69 of the state’s 82 counties have been recorded since the center began with just three sites, expanding to more than 200 sites today, not including the homes of patients.
“UMMC’s selection as a national Telehealth Center of Excellence is affirmation of our mission and responsibility to bring high-quality health care to all Mississippians, especially those in rural, underserved areas,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the UMMC School of Medicine, in a statement.
The designation as Telehealth Center of Excellence allows the two organizations to serve as national clearinghouses for telehealth research and resources, including technical assistance to other telehealth providers.