Beauregard Library System gets funding to start free telehealth services throughout parish

The Beauregard Parish Library (BPL) system was one of eleven library systems across Louisiana to receive funding from The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation to institute free telehealth services at every location in the parish.

Through the The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation’s Telehealth Outreach Pilot Program grant, over $50,000 was awarded to provide libraries with medical equipment to facilitate telehealth appointments in libraries.

Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser said in a release that the intention of the grants are to create new ways to serve citizens.

“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.”

BPL received $5,000, according to Erin Chesnutt, BPL director.

They applied for the grant to ensure Beauregard residents had healthcare necessities within reach.

“Our intent is to provide access to equipment that will allow Beauregard residents easier access to healthcare outside the constraints of transportation or limiting oneself to the kind of specialists locally present.”

She said the mission to provide telehealth services and supplies to local residents aligns with the purpose of libraries,  “connecting people with the information they seek.”

“One of the most critical kinds of information a person can seek is that of their own health. While library staff are not qualified to give health information such as diagnosis or treatment plans, we are well placed to provide individuals with access to the resources to connect them with the doctors, nurses and therapists who can.”

BPL has offered similar services in the early 2000s as a partner site for a TeleMed service, in which local libraries showed seminars featuring doctors and specialists. This allowed patrons to learn from experts close to home.

While this technology did allow for one-on-one medical appointments, it wasn’t used often.

With the grant money, they will purchase headsets for audio communication and webcams for visual communication to work in tandem with BPL’s existing circulating laptops and hotspots. These technological additions will allow for telehealth appointments.

They will also be creating wellness kits that will include blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters, digital scales, infrared thermometers and cases. The kits will be available by October 1 at the latest.

Additionally, some of the funding will be used to promote these new resources.

Access to the telehealth  resources will be free, and available at every library branch in the BPL system – DeRidder, Merryville, South Beauregard in Ragley and West Central in Singer

 Patrons are responsible for any costs assessed by their healthcare provider.

In the case of damage, loss or failure to return the items, costs can be incurred.

BPL also offers monthly homebound delivery service to parish residents who are homebound. Once the wellness kits are ready for circulation, they will also be available through the homebound service upon request.

Those interested in homebound delivery can contact BPL at 337.463.6217 ext. 31.

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