The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

USDA Rural Health Care Projects in the Delta; & notice on USDA openings

Posted on November 23, 2011 at 02:16 PM

We would like to call your attention to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack’s recent announcement of a series of funding announcements to establish telemedicine and other health care projects to improve health care in the underserved Delta region.

These projects are welcome and are seriously needed in the Delta, where unfortunately we have much higher rates of health problems than the national averages.

Great to have some good news this Thanksgiving.

Secretary Vilsack said the grants will help fund 10 health care projects in Arkansas, southern Illinois, Alabama, western Kentucky, Mississippi and Louisiana in areas now lacking adequate care, and will deliver services to 25 counties with persistently high poverty rates.

The funding, which was announced on Nov. 18, 2011, came from a program established in the 2008 farm bill, and as we are now working on the new farm bill we should work to include beneficial provisions like this in the upcoming legislation.

The 2008 farm bill provided for grants to eligible entities, including health care professionals, institutions of research and higher education to address unmet health needs in Delta communities with no more than 50,000 people in the 252 counties and parishes in parts of the eight states served by the Delta Regional Authority.

Vilsack said in a statement that “These projects can provide care to patients currently receiving no care at all and hopefully reduce the incidence of stroke, mental illness, and other health disorders in rural regions.”

ALSO AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST–ANNOUNCEMENT OF USDA RURAL UTILITIES SERVICE FOR QUALIFIED ENGINEERS. If you know anyone who is qualified and would like to apply for these jobs, please see the notice at the bottom of this message after the description of the USDA rural health care projects.

This jobs notice is being sent strictly because the USDA Rural Utilities Service personnel is looking for qualified applicants and thought those in our network might know of people with the qualifications and interest. Any time we can help somebody find a job in this economy we are glad to do so.

For the USDA rural health care grants, the total amount of funding for the grants is approximately $6,075,000.

Examples: Examples of the projects includes funding to Murray State University to finance the West Kentucky TeleCare Project by providing equipment and resources for telehealth infrastructure in five rural critical access hospitals, two small hospitals, and one acute care hospital in the western Kentucky Delta.

This project will link the eight hospitals into the Kentucky Telehealth Network, which emphasizes providing clinical, educational and administrative support for healthcare in rural Kentucky. This project will provide help for research to advance community health, a network and training for rural hospital staff, medical students, and clinical programming with physicians in the Kentucky Telehealth Network.

In another example, USDA Rural Development funds will be used to finance the Delta Electronic Intensive Care Unit network to link five hospitals in the most rural and impoverished counties of the Mississippi Delta.

In the Alabama DRA area, Rural Development funds will finance “Healthcare on Wheels” to provide health care survices in areas now lacking clinics, hospitals, emergency and general provider services.

Complete list and description of the Delta rural health care projects announced this November: We include below a list of the projects funded under Rural Development’s Delta Health Care Services Grant Program, contingent on the recipient meeting the terms of the agreement with USDA. This list is provided in part of a news release from USDA on Nov. 18, 2011. See their website at Congratulations to USDA and to the participants in these meritorious projects.–Delta Caucus, (202) 360-6347


The Tombigbee Health Care Authority–$384,742 will finance a nurse/medical student managed Mobile Health Van Program (MHVP). The program will provide healthcare services, education, telemedicine, and outreach linkage to community resources.

The mobile medical van will be a totally independent unit with the capability of providing healthcare/clinic services. Access to health care in the Alabama Delta is a major concern. This project will serve the portion of the Alabama Delta that currently has no health care provider offices, no Federally Qualified Health Care Clinics, no hospitals and no emergency medical service.


Arkansas State University – Mountain Home–$384,742 will finance improved education and training in two state schools’ accredited 2 year Respiratory Therapy (RT) programs by providing equipment needed to add certification in the Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP). The rural Delta Region of north central Arkansas has a high need for neonatal respiratory care due to high rates of teen pregnancies and reliance on emergency health services.

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences–$162,002 will finance equipment and support for the Delta Telecommunications Centers (DTC) project to address the long-term care and unmet health needs in the Arkansas Delta Region. Funds will be used for provide computer labs with Internet access to six nursing home facilities to provide educational opportunities for students enrolled in college-based registered nursing programs.

The DTC will also establish three telehealth centers to enable nursing home medical staff to consult with distant medical directors and specialists associated with the Arkansas Aging Initiative and the Reynolds Institute on Aging.


Connect SI Foundation, Inc.– $519,924 will finance the Southern Illinois Delta Regional Simulation and Learning Lab Project. The funds will provide distance learning equipment and support to four local colleges and two high schools to help develop and provide Health Education Programs and Health Care Job Training Programs through distance learning equipment and technologies.

The project will serve the southernmost part of Illinois, a region with isolated households, low income and low educational levels, high rates of poverty, illness and mortality, and large numbers of medically underserved residents.


Murray State University–$233,366 will finance the West Kentucky TeleCare Project by providing equipment and resources for telehealth infrastructure for five rural critical access hospitals, two small hospitals, and one acute care hospital in the Delta Region of western Kentucky. The project will link the eight hospitals into the Kentucky Telehealth Network, which focuses on providing clinical, educational, and administrative support for healthcare in rural Kentucky. The project will provide a network and training for rural hospital staff, medical students, and clinical programming with physicians in the Kentucky Telehealth Network, and research to advance community health.


Delta Health Alliance, Inc.– $699,142 will finance the Delta Electronic Intensive Care Unit (eICU) Network. The network will provide a secure interlinked eICU system between five hospitals in the most underserved and impoverished rural counties of the Mississippi Delta. The telemedicine initiative project will connect the rural hospitals with the state-of-the-art critical care center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

City of Mound Bayou–$2,993,954 will finance the Taborian Urgent Care Center of Mound Bayou, MS, the area’s first urgent care center. Currently, there are no urgent care centers within an 80-mile radius of Mound Bayou. The nearest hospital is approximately 9 miles from the city. The Taborian Urgent Care Center will offer residents expanded health care services with extended hours and can provide distance learning in collaboration with Mississippi Valley State University. The center will also offer on site courses in collaboration with Coahoma County Community College.


Building Healthy Communities, Inc.–$364,443 will finance the Louisiana Nursing Home Telehealth Project to provide specialty healthcare consultation including cardiology, pulmonology, nephrology, oncology, and wound care, to five rural nursing homes in the Louisiana Delta. The project will allow patients to be examined by a specialist in another city without leaving their nursing facilities.

The five nursing homes associated with the project have a large Medicaid population and face significant challenges in accessing affordable, timely, and quality healthcare services.

Franklin Parish Hospital, Service District No. 1–$62,870 grant will finance a telemental health program for residents of Franklin and Tensas Parishes, two of the most impoverished parishes in the Mississippi Delta region of Northeast Louisiana. The area ranks higher than the state and national averages for the number of mentally ill.

This telemental health program will address the problem of shortages and increasing mental health patient load from mental facilities through video conference-enabled psychiatric counseling, pre-hospitalization assessment, post-hospital follow up care, outpatient visits, and medication management.

Ochsner Clinic Foundation–$270,254 will finance the Acute Stroke System for Emergent Regional Telemedicine (ASSERT) to eight rural hospitals in Central Louisiana to develop health care services, health education programs, and professional training programs related to stroke care.

The telemedicine project will provide the hospitals with access to a stroke specialist, reduce decision time for treatments, increase the use of interventions shown to improve outcomes following strokes, improve overall care of stroke patients, and reduce transfer rates of patients out of the rural hospitals. The proposed hospitals are small rural hospitals without the specialty stroke coverage on staff to provide acute stroke care and are located in a region with high risk and mortality for stroke care.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $155 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

Visit for additional information about the agency’s programs or to locate the USDA Rural Development office nearest you.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

NOTICE: The Rural Utilities Service Telecommunications Program has several open engineering positions in Washington, DC.

There are three different vacancy announcements, and the positions range from GS-9 to GS-14. The Rural Utilities Service is a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development mission area. The employees in these engineering positions will be reviewing loan and grant applications for financing high speed broadband infrastructure in rural communities.

DEU-NO-2012-0003 GS-14 Supervisory Electronics Engineer (closing date 12/1/11) DEU-NO-2012-0005 GS-9/11/12 Electronics Engineer (closing date 12/5/11) DEU-NO-2012-0002 GS-13 Electronics Engineer (closing date 11/30/11)


Please pass along to anyone you think may be interested and qualified.