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UP Grant to Support VVRMC Telehealth

Friday, July 17, 2020

Telehealth Services Coming to Val Verde Regional Medical Center Thanks to Union Pacific Railroad Community Ties Giving Program Grant

It will come as no surprise to residents that Val Verde County is a medically underserved area with a shortage of health professionals. In fact, the ratio of primary care physicians to residents is 3,510 to 1. That’s a lot of patients for one physician. If you are looking for a specialist, it becomes even more of a challenge. Medical specialties are under-represented in Val Verde County and some are not represented at all. Public transportation outside of the area is very limited so if you don’t have your own vehicle, access to healthcare can become extremely frustrating.

Thanks to the support of a $20,000 COVID-19 Relief Grant from Union Pacific Railroad’s Community Ties Giving Program, VVRMC will be able to fully implement Telehealth Services by September 2021. The grant will help train 26 providers and 26 nurses to use the required equipment. Telehealth services will be available at VVRMC’s main campus, Rural Health Clinic, the Heart Institute and Diabetes Center. The telehealth capabilities and training will also increase access to specialty services outside of Del Rio. “VVRMC is grateful to the Union Pacific Railroad Community Ties Giving Program for their generous grant funding and for everything they do to support our community,” said VVRMC’s CEO, Linda Walker, ” The grant will enable us to better serve the health needs of our rural community through the expansion of Telehealth programs and the associated training involved.”

"Every community has its own unique needs in responding to the pandemic,” said Ivan Jaime, Union Pacific Sr. Director of Public Affairs. "By investing in high-quality nonprofits and programs such as VVRMC’s Telehealth Services Initiative, we can directly help those impacted, providing the assistance they need to recover."

VVRMC already provides mental health services via telehealth and it has proven very beneficial to patients. Telehealth is the future of medicine, especially in medically underserved areas. It allows access to a variety of physicians and specialists via telecommunication. You see the doctor, the doctor sees you and you can communicate using cameras, monitors, and other equipment. You go to your Telehealth appointment and are checked in and supported by a nurse. They connect you with the physician and you are able to receive health services remotely. With the current pandemic, Telehealth also assures the safety of medical staff and the community.

“VVRMC is grateful to the Union Pacific Railroad Community Ties Giving Program for their generous grant funding and for everything they do to support our community,” said VVRMC’s CEO, Linda Walker, “The grant will enable us to better serve the health needs of our rural community through the expansion of Telehealth programs and the associated training involved.”

Union Pacific operates two main tracks and changes train crews in Val Verde County, which serves as a key link on its historic Sunset Route. Throughout its existence, the success of Union Pacific's business has been inextricably linked to the economic and community wellbeing of cities and towns across the nation.