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Increasing Access to Health Care in Southeast Missouri

Community Counseling Center in Fredericktown is home to a Telehealth site, which gives patients in underserved areas access to University of Missouri Health Care specialists.

Transporting patients from the Bootheel of Missouri to Columbia for a doctor’s appointment involves more than just minor discomfort for the patient and the patient’s family. In addition to the emotional costs of uprooting a family from their daily lives to travel across the state, they frequently face steep financial costs – they must take off work, pay for gas, and often pay for lodging. However, with the technology made available through the Missouri Telehealth Network (MTN), patients across the state can now access University of Missouri specialists without leaving their communities.

While all states have at least one telehealth network, Missouri has one of the most developed telehealth networks in the country. The MTN started out with nine sites in 1994 and has since expanded to more than 200 sites in 56 Missouri counties. The term “telehealth” encompasses a broad definition of remote healthcare that can include medical education, patient consultations, and other services that improve healthcare but aren’t considered direct patient care.

The MTN is an affiliate of the Center for Health Policy at the University of Missouri, which helps the MTN with policy issues on both the state and national level.

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Posted on Jun 15, 2008.

Telehealth increases access to health care in rural communities.

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