2010 Archive

Lugar Associate Presents at National Workshop

Stephanie Laws, RN, BSN, Project Associate with the Richard G. Lugar Center for Rural Health, was recently invited to participate in a workshop on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in High-Risk Rural Communities, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. According to the Workshop Executive Summary, the objective of the workshop; held June 14-15 in Bethesda, Maryland; was to "provide research recommendations for the development, implementation, and evaluation of family and community interventions to reduce obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in rural communities of the United States. Workshop participants discussed geographic disparities observed in risk factors associated with CVD in high-risk rural communities. Participants discussed the unique characteristics, issues, and opportunities affecting underlying health status and risk in rural communities. They discussed the need for sustained partnerships to build capacity for health promotion and disease prevention, including CVD." The intended outcome of the workshop was a set of recommendations to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute on strategies to reduce CVD through the adoption of evidence-based and practice-based interventions in rural communities.

Stephanie was invited to be a member of the NIH workshop panel due to her leadership in the Lugar Center's nationally recognized program in tele-cardiology. Implemented in 2009, the tele-cardiology service provides live, real-time medical consultations via secure video between cardiologists, based in Terre Haute, and cardiology patients receiving care at the Critical Access Hospital located in Clinton, Indiana (Union Hospital Clinton). Cardiologists from both Union Associated Physicians (UAP) and the Providence Medical Group participate in the program. The project has significantly reduced the outward migration of low-risk cardiology patients from the critical access hospital, resulting in retained revenue at Union Hospital Clinton. It has also significantly reduced the costs associated with EMS transportation and cardiologist drive time. The Lugar Center is currently expanding this tele-cardiology model to critical access hospitals in Sullivan and Brazil, Indiana and has been invited to collaborate with the State of South Carolina in replicating the model in South Carolina's five critical access hospitals beginning in 2011.

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michelle-smith“Telemedicine has allowed our patients to receive the care they need right here in Sullivan, IN. In our current challenging economic times, the more dollars we are able to retain locally the better off our community will be.”

- Michelle Franklin, CEO
Sullivan County
Community Hospital