(Salt Lake City, UT) – To help improve access to health care in Utah’s most remote areas, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) has awarded the first grant under a new Telehealth Pilot Project. The purpose of House Bill (HB) 345 is to determine how telehealth services can best be used, outline the best practices for providing telehealth services, and identify which types of health care services might benefit most from the availability of telehealth services. HB 345 was sponsored by Representative Rebecca Edwards and Senator Brian Shiozawa in the 2017 legislative session.
The grant was awarded to Telementalhealth: A Promising Approach to Reducing Perinatal Depression in Utah’s Rural & Frontier Communities. This project will train providers, screen 700 patients and provide group support services directly to 85 patients and develop partnerships with three local public health departments representing 10 rural and frontier counties.
In its first year of operation the UDOH received 23 applications amounting to requests of more than $3 million. Proposed projects using telehealth technology to reach underserved populations included services for seniors, veterans, pediatric trauma victims, postpartum mothers, cancer patients, off hour primary care and included behavioral health, psychiatric and stroke patients. The number of applications and the amount requested is a graphic reminder of the need in our community to reach out to disparate communities with innovative solutions.
Director, Patient Safety