newssouthwest virginia telehealth services to expand with 5 1 million federal grant

Southwest Virginia: Telehealth services to expand with $5.1 million federal grant

uva healthUVA Health and a coalition of Southwest Virginia healthcare groups are partnering to increase telehealth services.

Services will be possible with funding from a $5.1 million federal grant.

The goal of the Virginia Consortium to Advance Healthcare in Appalachia by bringing together the UVA Center for Telehealth, the Healthy Appalachia Institute, UVA’s College at Wise, the Southwest Virginia Health Authority, the Health Wagon, Tri-Area Health and Ballad Health is to improve outcomes for patients with COVID-19 and chronic health conditions.

“We look forward to working with our colleagues at the Healthy Appalachia Institute at UVA Wise, the Southwest Virginia Health Authority and with partner healthcare systems and providers across the region to develop a contemporary strategic plan, a ‘Blueprint for Health and Health Related Prosperity,’” Dr. Karen S. Rheuban, director of the UVA Center for Telehealth, said. “Funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will also enable us to begin to implement the blueprint, to expand access to care through telehealth tools and provide training for a broad range of healthcare professionals.”

The consortium will serve the city of Norton and the counties of Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell and Wise. Adults aged 35 to 64 are 30 percent more likely in these localities to die earlier, 21 percent more likely to die from heart disease and 14 percent more likely to die from diabetes.

“There is an urgent need for community-academic partnerships such as this one to assess and respond to health inequities in Virginia’s Appalachian communities,” Dr. David L. Driscoll, director of the Healthy Appalachia Institute, said. “Our Consortium is committed to understanding, and most importantly, responding to the determinants of population health disparities in Appalachia, including adequate access to comprehensive public health and medical services.”


Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.