Skip to main content

MaineHealth Awarded $274,000 Grant to Enhance Telehealth Network in Rural Communities

February 08, 2018

Contact: Kathleen Taggersell
207-661-7582 |

PORTLAND, Maine  The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a $274,092 grant to MaineHealth to enhance its telehealth capabilities in rural areas. The three-year project, awarded through the USDA’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program, will focus on three telehealth initiatives:

  • Enhanced communications between Emergency Departments (EDs) and local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in rural areas
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU)/Nursery Care Support and Transfer Decision Support
  • Post-discharge care to the home


MaineHealth Chief Medical Officer Joan Boomsma said, “We are pleased to continue to build on our telehealth framework with these three important initiatives that serve rural communities across our service area. Telehealth leverages MaineHealth’s investment in shared electronic health record technology to facilitate information flow across our health system.”

MaineHealth will establish telehealth workstation “hubs” at six member and affiliate hospital EDs, and deploy tablets and other components to local EMS services, facilitating communication between ambulances and EDs. This will enable time-sensitive information about patient status and condition to be shared en route to the hospital, supporting critical pre-arrival preparation.

The second component leverages telehealth tools to support transfer decision-making and care plan confirmation between five remote MaineHealth member and affiliate hospital NICU/Nurseries and neonatology specialists. “By facilitating telehealth consultations between local care teams and specialists, we can extend scarce resources of pediatric specialists to our most at-risk and rural populations,” Boomsma added.

In the third component of the project, MaineHealth Care at Home will deploy tablets, smart phones, associated software and peripheral devices, augmented with home health services, to support post-discharge care of NICU infants from participating hospitals and elders referred from hospitals and physician groups in the service area (Western and MidCoast Maine). MaineHealth Care at Home physicians and medical specialists will also participate in video consultations and virtual rounding.

Together, these three components build on MaineHealth’s existing telehealth platform, operations and processes with the goal of expanding access to care, improving quality outcomes, and reducing avoidable hospitalizations among rural Maine’s most vulnerable populations.

The EMS services hubs are:

  • Memorial Hospital (North Conway, NH)
  • Franklin Memorial Hospital (Farmington, Maine)
  • Stephens Memorial Hospital (Norway, Maine)
  • Miles Memorial Hospital (Damariscotta, Maine)
  • MaineGeneral Augusta
  • MaineGeneral Waterville


The NICU/Nursery Care Support and Transfer Decision Support partners include:

  • Maine Medical Center
  • Memorial Hospital
  • Franklin Memorial Hospital
  • Stephens Memorial Hospital
  • Miles Memorial Hospital
  • MaineGeneral Augusta


About MaineHealth
MaineHealth is a not-for-profit integrated network of high-quality hospitals, providers and healthcare organizations dedicated to a vision of working together so our communities are the healthiest in America. MaineHealth member organizations include Maine Medical Center, Coastal Healthcare Alliance (which includes Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital), Franklin Community Health Network, LincolnHealth, Maine Behavioral Healthcare, Memorial Hospital, Southern Maine Health Care, Western Maine Health, MaineHealth Care at Home, and NorDx; the MaineHealth Accountable Care Organization is also part of the MaineHealth family. Affiliates of MaineHealth include MaineGeneral Health, Mid Coast-Parkview Health, New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland and St. Mary's Health System.


News from Around MaineHealth

View All
Trauma Intervention Program Transitions to TIP National
Management of the Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) of Greater Portland, formerly part of Maine Behavioral Healthcare has transitioned to its founding organization, Trauma Intervention Programs, Inc., (TIP National) effective September 1, 2020.
Drive-through Flu Shots Available at MaineHealth Care at Home
MaineHealth Care at Home (MHCAH) will be offering drive-through flu shots for all community members at their Saco location at 15 Industrial Park Rd.
Franklin Community Health Network offers flu clinics
Franklin Community Health Network is offering drive-up flu clinics in October for adults on the Franklin Memorial Hospital campus and via mobile outreach by the Healthy Community Coalition. No appointment is required.
Physicians Join Maine Medical Partners
Maine Medical Partners announces the following new hires.
Memorial Hospital Reminds Parents to Check Children's Immunization Status
Dr. Wenda Saunders, a pediatrician at Memorial Hospital’s Mt. Washington Rural Health Care is encouraging families to get caught up with immunizations.
Stephens Memorial Hospital Receives 5 Star Patient Experience Rating
Stephens Memorial Hospital was one of 266 hospitals, or 8 percent, in the nation who received a perfect five-star rating on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare website.PBMC, WCGH and Belfast Public Health Nursing combine to offer 40 flu clinics.
Maine Behavioral Healthcare Selects New President
Kelly Barton, an experienced health care executive from Indianapolis, will lead behavioral health services for MaineHealth - northern New England’s largest integrated health system.
Healthy Community Coalition awarded $1 million to address opioid use disorder
Healthy Community Coalition (HCC), an affiliate of Franklin Community Health Network (FCHN) and a member of the MaineHealth family, has been awarded a grant totaling $1 million over three years to implement a Greater Franklin County rural response to the current opioid crisis.
Shaw Brothers Construction Pledges $1 Million to Maine Medical Center to Honor Sally Shaw
In recognition of a $1 million commitment by Jon and Dan Shaw, founders of Shaw Brothers Construction in Gorham, Maine Medical Center will name the causeway of the new Congress Street Tower in honor of the Shaws’ mother, Sally Shaw.
MMC Participates in NIH-Funded Clinical Trial Studying Buprenorphine Treatments for Opioid Use Disorder
Maine Medical Center’s emergency department is one of 30 chosen across the country as part of the National Institutes of Health "Helping to End Addiction" Long-term Initiative (HEAL).