Tester Announces Funding for Telehealth Initiative in Billings

St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation will receive $325,000 to support ongoing program

(Big Sandy, Mont.) – As part of his ongoing efforts to improve rural health care and connect patients with the physicians they need, Senator Jon Tester announced today that the St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation will receive $325,000 in funding for its Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center (NRTRC).

“We can now connect patients and physicians with the click of a button,” Tester said. “That’s why investments like this are so important, because solutions exist, folks on the ground just need the resources and flexibility to implement them.”

The award comes from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Telehealth Resource Center Grant Program, which helps bring telehealth technology to rural and underserved populations. It will fund the continued operation of the NRTRC, which is based out of Billings but serves seven states in the northwest part of the country. The mission of the NRTRC is to serve the healthcare community by identifying ways to incorporate Telehealth as a tool to improve patient care, especially in rural areas.

“Healthcare is a constantly changing industry and virtual healthcare is the way of the future,” said Eric Pollard, Director of Virtual Health & Radiology Services at St. Vincent. “The NRTRC can help pave the way forward with years of rural healthcare experience and a large collection of valuable resources that can be provided free of charge to the public. St. Vincent Healthcare is excited to be awarded another year of service for this valuable program!”

Tester is one of the Senate’s leading advocates for rural health and telemedicine. After holding his inaugural Rural Health Summit in Ennis earlier this year, Tester introduced the Restoring Rural Residencies Act to help bring more doctors to Montana’s rural communities.

He also recently announced another $375,000 in funding, awarded to Kalispell Regional Medical Center, which will provide telehealth technology to four different hospitals throughout Montana.