Sidney Health Center was recently recognized for 20 years of excellence in telemedicine services as a member of the Eastern Montana Telemedicine Network.
The Eastern Montana Telemedicine network is a mature telemedicine delivery system, providing medical care in 29 rural and frontier Montana communities. Currently, medical and mental health services comprise 71% of all network activity. Over 80 specialists and clinicians provide care in 26 specialty areas including: cardiology, oncology, nephrology, dermatology, pulmonary, rheumatology, physical medicine and rehab, neurology, genetics counseling, geriatrics, diabetes care, dietician services.
These medical consultations often save rural Montana residents in out-of-pocket travel expenses. In addition, mental health encounters are a vital service of the telemedicine network. With few psychiatrists practicing east of Billings, MT, access to telemental health service is critical. The availability of mental health services is truly a life line for rural and frontier residents in Montana.
“Telemedicine also gives our nurses at Sidney Health Center an opportunity to do continuing education online. We need 24 credits every two years,” commented Judy Reid, telemedicine LPN. “Being able to do education here is essential to keeping our license requirements up-to-date.”
In 2012, Billings Clinic the home of the Eastern Montana Telemedicine Network Office received funding from the USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant program to purchase medical peripheral equipment supporting expansion of clinical telemedicine services. Sidney Health Center was one of 16 sites that received an ENT scope and specialized patient exam camera enabling the expansion of clinical care in the areas of dermatology, allergy and ENT.
Sidney Health Center continues to expand and offer telemedicine services to area residents as a community health benefit. Supporting the health and vitality of rural communities and the people who live and work in them is a top priority of the Eastern Montana Telemedicine Network. This service allows individuals who choose the rural lifestyle the opportunity to access comprehensive, high-quality health care in their home communities. Telemedicine connects communities across the miles to a robust, secure and sustainable healthcare network.