July 8, 2010

Dial Represents Rural Health at Forum With FCC Chairman Genachowski

On June 25th Scotland County Hospital CEO, Marcia Dial, served on a panel at a forum in Troy, MO, with other rural Missouri leaders that addressed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski about the need for increasing rural broadband access. The panel included members of education, emergency response, economic development and Ms. Dial represented rural healthcare. The invitation to serve on the panel came from Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

The forum focused on the economic development opportunities created by broadband access when rural communities can easily and quickly connect to other areas of the country. In addition to the economic benefits, rural broadband access will also significantly help improve health care services in areas with low populations by promoting telemedicine technology, which allows doctors to communicate with patients using video-conferencing tools. Broadband also allows schools and libraries to utilize technologies that aren’t available with dial-up Internet, and helps with emergency response.

“Broadband access is particularly important in our healthcare delivery in this rural part of northeast Missouri. Much of our seamless healthcare access that we provide to our patients, in both our rural clinics and the hospital, is dependent upon an accessible and reliable tele-health connection,” said Dial. “Scotland County Hospital is emerging as the leader in rural healthcare in Missouri with our tele-health services. Later this summer we will be rolling out tele-radiology and tele-pharmacy services at Lancaster Medical Services and other rural healthcare leaders are calling us to see how we’re doing this.”

FCC Chairman Genachowski, is leading the federal government’s broadband initiatives.

In March, the FCC unveiled a sweeping proposal to overhaul broadband policy, with the goal of providing high-speed Internet access to underserved areas of the country and to make existing connections even faster. But the FCC is still assessing what level of access it can provide “without busting the budget,” Genachowski said at the forum, according to an article that appeared in the Columbia Missourian.

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