SACRAMENTO, Aug. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra joined a diverse group of statewide healthcare and technology agencies today at the UC Davis Cancer Center in Sacramento to launch the California Telehealth Network (CTN). A $30 million joint funding effort between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), the California HealthCare Foundation, UnitedHealthcare, the National Coalition for Healthcare Integration, the University of California and other private and public entities, the California Telehealth Network is the largest single-state grant award of its kind. It will connect more than 800 California healthcare facilities to a statewide medical-grade network of healthcare and emergency services.
"California is always leading the way with the most innovative and new technology that is changing the future. And, what we are launching today is a new era for health care," said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. "Through a simple broadband link, this state-of-the-art system will save lives by instantly connecting people from across the state, including underserved and rural areas, with the best and brightest doctors. The California Telehealth Network marks the beginning of a new digital highway that will fundamentally change the future of how health care is provided."
"There is great need for more accessible acute and specialty care in medically underserved areas across California," Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to President Barack Obama commented. "With the $22.1 million in grant funding from the FCC, along with $3.6 million in matching funds from the CETF, the CTN will help improve access to quality healthcare in rural and medically underserved areas, over a secure, managed network enabling the delivery of emerging eHealth and telemedicine services."
Using broadband to connect healthcare providers, the California Telehealth Network will join 68 other networks in the nation and serve as a backbone in establishing telemedicine and eHealthcare. CTN is a public and private, federal and state partnership which can be used as a model across the nation as other networks are funded and come on board.
"We're proud to be a partner in the effort to build a robust statewide network that will bring specialized health and medical care to underserved communities, both rural and urban," said Sunne Wright McPeak, President and CEO, California Emerging Technology Fund. "By bringing broadband capacity to those areas in need, CTN is helping to empower individuals to take more responsibility for their own health."
"The CTN is a peer-to-peer network which enables providers to share X-rays and other diagnostic tests instantaneously, and view treatments and procedures from afar in distant emergency rooms or surgical centers as they happen," said Sandra Shewry, President and CEO, Center for Connected Health Policy. "The CTN also enables the sharing of information for continuing education/distance learning, disaster preparedness, and access to new technologies – all essential elements for the California healthcare system's growth."
The CTN is being managed and led by the University of California on behalf of the Governor's office, with guidance from an Advisory Board consisting of experts from state government, rural healthcare, telemedicine and technology. A statewide consortium was initially brought together by the Governor's Office to develop the CTN project and proposal to the FCC.
"We are honored to work alongside such amazing and dedicated partners as the California Emerging Technology Fund, California HealthCare Foundation, the University of California, UnitedHealthcare, the National Coalition for Health Integration and the University of California on the important issue of telehealth," said Eric Brown, Executive Director, CTN. "We are eager to see the positive effects over the next few months as we activate the first 50 sites and roll out our eHealth applications that will help transform healthcare delivery in California. Working with our statewide eHealth partners such as Cal eConnect, CalHIPSO, and HITECH-LA, our vision is to create healthcare delivery infrastructure so that geographic barriers to care are eliminated."
For more information about the California Telehealth Network please visit: http://www.caltelehealth.org/
About the California Telehealth Network
The California Telehealth Network (CTN) is part of an effort supported by the Federal Communications Commission to improve the rural health infrastructure throughout California and the nation. The University of California Office of the President, together with the UC Davis Health System, is serving as the legally and financially responsible partner for the project. A large and diverse group of partners includes representatives from the Office of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; California Public Utilities Commission; California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency; and the California Health and Human Services Agency. In addition to the $22.1 million award from the FCC, nearly $10 million in funding has thus far been pledged to secure this award and support operations of the CTN. Contributors include the California Emerging Technology Fund, UnitedHealthcare, the California Public Utilities Commission, the National Coalition for Health Integration and the California HealthCare Foundation. Participants in the project also include multiple regional and statewide associations representing healthcare providers and existing telehealth networks.
About Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP)
The Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP) is a non-profit planning and strategy organization working to remove policy barriers that prevent the integration of Telehealth technologies into California's health care system. CCHP advocates for policies that expand Telehealth services in pursuit of these goals. CCHP conducts objective policy analysis and research, develops non-partisan policy recommendations, and operates Telehealth demonstration projects. CCHP's current Telehealth demonstration project is The Specialty Care Safety Net Initiative (SCSNI). This project connects safety net clinics across California with medical specialists at four University of California Schools of Medicine.
SOURCE California Telehealth Network