Baptist Health Foundation Corbin Receives Telemedicine Funding to address Opioid Epidemic in Appalachia
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded Baptist Health Foundation Corbin, Inc. a $377,121 grant that will help connect clinical specialists to ten school-based health centers and two primary care sites.
Corbin, KY. (July 8, 2016): United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded Baptist Health Foundation Corbin, Inc. a $377,121 grant that will help connect clinical specialists to ten school-based health centers and two primary care sites. This project will provide mental, behavioral and psychiatric care services in high poverty StrikeForce areas and Kentucky’s southeastern Promise zone. The StrikeForce and Promise Zone initiatives are part of the Obama Administration and USDA’s efforts to target investments to areas of persistent economic hardships.
While Baptist Health Corbin offers a wide variety of programs, these programs are often not easily accessible to patients due to location. Telemedicine offers the ability to extend the reach of the highly qualified providers at Baptist Health Corbin. For patients, transportation and the geography of the region are considered barriers to accessing care. The service area is mountainous and navigating secondary roads is difficult and time consuming. Inclement weather conditions in the winter frequently force the closing of local schools due to road conditions.
The primary goal of this project is to expand behavioral health and psychiatric consultation into the schools and two Baptist Health Primary care sites located in Williamsburg and Barbourville and Grace Community Health Center (GCHC). “Partnering with Grace Community Health Center, telemedicine will offer a unique opportunity to maximize resources and reach isolated communities with healthcare services that are not otherwise available,” said Larry Gray, President at Baptist Health Corbin. Gray continued, “While this project cannot address the economic barrier of poverty directly, a telemedicine program can ease the financial burden of accessing care.” This program will allow Baptist Health Corbin to provide more services within local rural communities. Each school has a nurse who oversees care for the students. This telemedicine program will aid care coordination between the student’s primary care provider, specialists and parents. Telemedicine will also help to provide additional primary care services in the school setting. The schools in this proposed project serve 5,673 students. In 2015, GCHC served 2, 844 students in their school-based health centers. In 2016, this number is expected to be even higher because the school-based clinics will be fully operational in all four school districts represented.