Telehealth Alliance initiates school-based program

Iris Lane
Iris Lane

Bay Rivers Telehealth Alliance (BRTA) has been awarded federal grant funds of $1.2 million over four years effective September 1, 2016, for its School Based Telehealth Initiative.

BRTA will work with Essex, Northumberland and Westmoreland public schools to bring healthcare services directly to students, reported executive director Donna Dittman Hale. The services will focus on improving access to care and improving outcomes of chronic health conditions including asthma, obesity reduction and prevention, and diabetes, plus behavioral health and oral healthcare.

The federal funding comes from the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services Telehealth Network Grant Program which exists to increase access to healthcare in rural areas through the expansion of telehealth technology. BRTA will partner with the three school districts, Riverside Health System, VCU Health System, Middle Peninsula Northern Neck Community Services Board, Rappahannock Community College, the Virginia Department of Health, Community Health Solutions and the Center for Rural Health Innovation.

This is a tremendous opportunity to increase the access of rural children in Essex, Northumberland, and Westmoreland counties to high quality healthcare via modern telehealth technologies,” said Hale.

“We are delighted to be working with our partners over the coming four years to make a positive difference in the lives of these children,” she said.

Iris Lane recently was hired to serve as project coordinator. Her experience in grant management, educational and healthcare leadership qualifies her to work with the organizations involved to implement this initiative, said Hale.

“As a Westmoreland County native and retiree of the U.S. Department of Education, I am humbled, honored and excited to be involved in such a meaningful and fulfilling project,” said Lane. “This Initiative has the potential to have a major and positive impact on keeping our students healthy. In turn, healthy students are better able to learn and evidence has shown School-Based Telehealth Programs result in a decrease in absenteeism.

“This innovative program is a “win-win” for our school systems, parents, medical providers, students and our local communities,” she said.


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