STHCS gets $265,000 grant for distance learning tech

Southern Tier Health Care System will receive more than a quarter million dollars in a second round of federal funding for distance-learning technology.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program tapped STHCS for the $265,179 grant.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to receive this second round of federal funding,” Donna Kahm, STHCS president and CEO, said Friday after learning of the grant. “Distance is one of the biggest barriers to health care and health education for professionals in this vast, rural coverage area.”

Kahm said with each additional satellite site STHCS reduces distance in providing services, “allowing for trainees from a broad spectrum of health-care disciplines to access information vital to serving the residents of our counties, enhancing the quality of rural health care and advancing their own careers.”

Funding will support the purchase, installation and technical services of distance-learning equipment and software at three additional satellite training sites across STHCS’ coverage area of Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties. A key principle behind the grant is building capacity to combat the opioid epidemic.

The three additional sites are:

• Cattaraugus Indian Reservation Volunteer Fire Department in Irving.

• West Valley Volunteer Hose Co. in West Valley.

• Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville.

It also will allow the installation of additional video-recording equipment at STHCS’ main Training Center in Olean.

The grant covers state-of-the-art videoconferencing equipment and software allowing instructors and trainees to virtually connect in multiple locations seamlessly.

An initial round of funding totaling $132,899 was awarded in 2017. It covered equipment installations and support at the following end-user sites in the three counties:


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