At its Educational Conference and Annual Meeting on August 11 in Effingham, the Illinois Rural Health Association presented its “2016 Rural Health Award of Merit” to the Illinois Telehealth Network (ITN). HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital is one of the 23 Network members honored with this award.
Each year, the association’s Award of Merit is presented to a group that has made great strides to improve access to rural health care with innovative programs or activities that provide outstanding benefit to the public’s health.
David Imler, one of seven newly elected ITN board members and board chair of Hillsboro Area Hospital, accepted the award on behalf of the network. “I believe the Illinois Telehealth Network has the potential of saving hundreds of lives in the years ahead,” Imler said. “It can also improve patient outcomes, reduce disability, and increase access to care for countless rural patients.”
With a vision to connect and share resources, strengthen rural health care and save lives, the network has 23 mostly rural members. It is supported by more than $1 million in federal and private foundation grants. Several of the network’s federal grant applications were supported by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, and U.S. Representatives Rodney Davis and John Shimkus.
In the past two years, ITN has:
- Helped launch pilots for tele-stroke, heart failure remote monitoring telehealth, and virtual urgent care
- Secured federal grant funds for emergency room telemedicine equipment for six rural hospitals
- Completed a five-year strategic plan, elected a board and formalized bylaws
Also representing the ITN and accepting the award with Imler were:
- Gurpreet Mander, MD, ITN chair; chief medical officer, HSHS St. John’s Hospital (Springfield, IL)
- Tammy Lett, RN, MBHA, ITN Tele-Behavioral Health Committee co-chair, chief nursing officer, HSHS Holy Family Hospital (Greenville, IL)
- Ryan Jennings, MD, ITN Tele-Behavioral Health Committee co-chair, chief medical officer, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital (Effingham, IL)
- Chris Schmidt, RN, BSN ITN network director; regional stroke and telemedicine nurse coordinator, HSHS St. John’s Hospital (Springfield, IL)
- David Mortimer, ITN administrative director; innovation institute director, Hospital Sisters of St. Francis Foundation (Springfield, IL)
Dr. Mander, who served as ITN chair and joined Imler in accepting the award, commented, “Over the past two years, this network has made great strides in advancing delivery innovations through telemedicine applications.” He added, “In this time of care redesign and accountable care preparedness, I believe that the work of this new network will be transformative to rural health care.”
For more information about HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital, visit St. Anthony’s Web site at stanthonyshospital.org. HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital is part of the Southern Illinois Division of Hospital Sisters Health System, which also includes HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese, HSHS Holy Family Hospital in Greenville, and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland.