Is your organization aware of the USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant opportunities? The USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will make known the specifics of the 2017 program and the deadline for applications shortly after the first of the year. It usually sets the deadline in mid-March.
Here’s what you need to know:
This competitive program makes between $50,000 and $500,000 available for telemedicine programs and those that provide access to education and training. The organizations eligible to apply for the grants are: for-profits, not-for-profits, hospitals, clinics, health associations, state and local governments, colleges and universities and tribal entities. The purpose of the grant is to provide start-up funding for the purchase or lease of telecommunications equipment necessary to deliver telemedicine or distance learning services and content to rural areas.
To be eligible for a grant, the telemedicine end user site(s) (patient locations) cannot be located within a community of 20,000 or more inhabitants. However, RUS does give special consideration to end user sites formed by public-private partnerships that bring targeted assistance to rural areas with chronic poverty in 21 states and Puerto Rico. These are called “strike force teams.” And it offers the same consideration to “promise zones” that may be on Native American reservations. In fact, RUS provides special consideration to applicants in which at least one end user is in a tribal area.
Applicants must provide a minimum of 15% of the amount of grant money requested in the application. In-kind vendor donations were not eligible in 2016 and no change is foreseen. Matching funds are one area where an applicant can make up points lost in other sections of the proposal.
Applicants who tell a compelling story about the need for the programs and how they will benefit the area will receive a large number of points in this category.
Points for technological innovation that show how the program plans to bring something new to the area are among the hardest points to get.
Demonstrating the cost effectiveness that a program hopes to achieve is not about getting the lowest possible price for equipment. Instead, the applicant shows it has done due diligence in considering the best fit for the program.
Use of Grant Funds:
In past years, grant money could be used for a number of specific purchases, including audio, video and interactive video equipment, terminal and data terminal equipment, computer hardware, software, network components and inside wiring. This will likely stay the same.
The grant money does not pay for the installation or construction of telecommunications transmission facilities or recurring or operating expenses, other than leases for eligible equipment.
GlobalMed’s Proven Experience
GlobalMed has worked with past USDA grant awardees to develop telemedicine solutions that are now adding value and improving outcomes for rural communities throughout the United States.
As mentioned above, a low points score in one area can be made up for in other areas. To learn more about other successful USDA grant deployments, click here or “Contact a Telemedicine Specialist.”
Once the 2017 program is announced, you can begin the application process by going to www.grants.gov.
If you have questions about starting a telemedicine program using the USDA grant program or your grant proposal, or would simply like more information to help you grant application, contact, Roger Downey, GlobalMed’s Government Affairs Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org.