Statewide grant funds free telehealth resources for Cameron library

Published 7:04 am Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Libraries across Louisiana — including in Cameron Parish  — will soon start offering access to free telehealth services as part of $50,000 worth of grants from The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation through the State Library of Louisiana.

In 2022, ConnectLA worked with the Blue Cross Foundation to address the need for better access to telehealth services as they became more widely adopted in the state. ConnectLA and the Blue Cross Foundation saw the State Library as a unique institution found in many communities.

Eleven library systems will start offering free telehealth services.

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“Telehealth can be incredibly convenient and, for many patients, can be a much quicker and more comfortable way to access care that’s just as effective as an in-person visit,” said Michael Tipton, president of the Blue Cross Foundation. “Research demonstrates that when folks have access to a doctor virtually, they are more likely to access care.”

Medical equipment such as fingertip pulse oximeters, portable EKG monitors, laptops and tablets, and private booths in libraries for community members to meet virtually with their doctors will all be a part of the new services, according to a press release from Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser.

“These grants present an opportunity to serve our citizens in additional ways,” Nungesser said. “This will break down barriers that many people face when it comes to their health. Time, location and money are major factors. These grants remove all of them.”

Rural communities face many challenges when it comes to receiving healthcare and addressing the issue requires unique solutions, said Veneeth Lyengar, executive director of ConnectLa.

“Addressing healthcare challenges in rural Louisiana requires innovative partnerships in both broadband access and adoption,” Lyengar said. “In drafting the state’s first five-year action plan to address the digital divide, we prioritized the healthcare access gap by increasing broadband availability for telehealth solutions. This partnership is a significant first step in addressing these issues, and we are proud to make this happen.”