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IHS to Fund Extended Telemedicine for Native Americans

Nov 29, 2016 10:30AM ● By MED Magazine
Avera Health could receive up to $100 million dollars over five years from Indian Health Service to offer provider education and extend its Avera eCare telemedicine to serve 130,000 Native Americans in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa.  

Under the proposal, Avera would have an exclusive contract with the Indian Health Service and would receive approximately $6.8 million in the first year with the opportunity to extend the contract for five years.

Avera eCARE connects specialists in more populous areas to patients and providers in rural locations. The program includes eEmergency which give rural centers immediate access to emergency medicine specialists at the touch of a button. eConsult give patients the opportunity to see specialty physicians in areas such as behavioral health; cardiology; nephrology; pain management; pediatric behavioral health; rheumatology; wound care; ear, nose and throat care; and dermatology.

 “It is challenging to provide specialty healthcare in rural areas, and this is especially true in Indian Country,” says Mary L. Smith, IHS principal deputy director. “IHS experience shows that telemedicine is an effective way to increase access to quality healthcare services in remote, hard to reach areas,” 

“Avera eCARE has more than 250 sites across 13 states. We have the experience and background and we’re confident we’ll be able to impact patient care and outcomes,” said Deanna Larson, CEO of Avera eCARE. “Avera looks forward to this opportunity.”