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COOS COUNTY – The Coquille Indian Tribe received a grant Friday from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development to increase its medical care coverage using remote, telecommunication technology.   

According to a press release from the USDA, the grant will be used to purchase equipment such as computers, high-definition cameras and specialized software to run the telemedicine system.

“Rural residents often lack access to specialized medical care within their local community,” said USDA State Director John Huffman. “This USDA investment will help overcome the challenges associated with remoteness by providing a more comprehensive array of healthcare services and access to specialists located in larger medical centers, improving the quality of life for this tribal community.”

The Coquille Indian Community Health Center located in Coos Bay on the Kilkich Reservation is set to house the telemedicine system. Once installed, it will provide medical services such as pediatric psychiatry, substance abuse care, and dermatology services to thousands of Native Americans throughout southwestern Oregon.

The grant totals over $57,000 and is being offered through the USDA’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program. According to its press release, the program has awarded $39.6 million in grants nationwide to 128 projects to aid in education, job training and healthcare in rural areas.

Approximately 1,300 residents are expected to receive the remote services. The USDA Rural Development was created to provide grants and loans to rural areas in need of economic opportunities.

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