Baptist Health Foundation Corbin Receives Telemedicine Funding to expand Telehealth Services in Appalachia

September 26, 2018

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded Baptist Health Foundation Corbin, Inc. a grant totaling $1,050,000 over the next three years that will help develop and expand its tele-behavioral health program to the communities served. 

CORBIN, KY (September 25, 2018) – Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded Baptist Health Foundation Corbin, Inc. a grant totaling $1,050,000 over the next three years that will help develop and expand its tele-behavioral health program to the communities served. This will allow patients to receive services without the added barrier of traveling outside of their respective communities.

Earlier this year, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) contacted the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) on behalf of Baptist Health Foundation’s competitive federal grant application.

“I was proud to help the Baptist Health Foundation in Corbin in their mission to deliver quality care in Southeastern Kentucky,” said Senator McConnell. “Helping to remove the travel barriers and to connect health-care professionals with those who need them can drastically improve outcomes for families in these communities. This new investment can go a long way to help Kentuckians on the cutting-edge of medicine, and I look forward to seeing BHF’s continued success.”

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.

Baptist Health Corbin has provided telehealth services since 2016. The majority of our partners currently have telehealth equipment and their patients are receiving services, but to date the services we provide have been limited due to inability to dedicate staff time to telehealth. This grant opportunity will expand our tele-behavioral health network by increasing staff capacity, expanding the services provided, and increasing the number of patient sites. We will also expand our infrastructure for data collection and analysis to show the impact of telehealth services on patient outcomes. Our focus is on providing mental health and substance abuse treatment across our region to patients in schools and primary care settings as well as in the emergency department at a sister hospital. Services will include addiction assessments, level of care determination and referral or transfer to additional services, and treatment including medication management and therapeutic intervention. “Telemedicine offers a unique opportunity to maximize resources and reach isolated communities with healthcare services that are not otherwise available,” said Chris Holcomb, Executive Director at Baptist Health Corbin. Holcomb continued, “This funding will allow Baptist Health Corbin to provide more services within local rural communities while giving us the resources necessary to better meet the demand.” While this project cannot address the economic barrier of poverty directly, a telemedicine program can ease the financial burden of accessing care and making it more accessible within isolated areas.

This program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,050,000. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

About Baptist Health

Founded in 1924 in Louisville, Ky., Baptist Health is a full-spectrum health system dedicated to improving the health of the communities it serves. The Baptist Health family consists of nine hospitals (eight owned and one managed); employed and independent physicians; more than 300 points of care in 75 Kentucky counties, seven counties in Illinois, six counties in Southern Indiana and two counties in Tennessee, including: outpatient facilities, physician practices and services, urgent care and retail-based clinics; outpatient diagnostic and surgery centers; home care; occupational medicine and physical therapy clinics; and fitness centers.

Baptist Health’s eight owned hospitals include more than 2,400 licensed beds in Corbin, La Grange, Lexington, Louisville, Madisonville, Paducah, Richmond and New Albany, Ind. Baptist Health manages Hardin Memorial Health, a 300-bed hospital in Elizabethtown, which is expected to become part of the Baptist Health family in December 2018. Baptist Health employs more than 20,000 people in Kentucky and surrounding states.

Baptist’s physician network, Baptist Health Medical Group, has about 1,100 employed providers, including about 600 employed physicians, plus more than 2,000 independent physicians.