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Pottsboro Library vyes for $25k telehealth grant

Staff Writer
Herald Democrat

The Pottsboro Library needs the public’ help to win a $25,000 grant from State Farm Insurance to provide telehealth access to the local community from the library.

The library is one of 200 non profits awarded the right to compete for the grants. Voting is done online and ends on Oct. 2.

The 40 top vote recipients get the $25,000 for a community project.

The project will be to create a private space for telemedicine, zoom meetings, and job interviews.

“One of our challenges is that the public thinks they know what a library does, but we offer so much more than expected,” Pottsboro Library Director Dianne Connery said in an email. “Often people don't even think that a library would be the place to go for help.”

In this case, it might be the place to go for medical help if the community supports the project by voting. Telehealth can help, she said, to cut down on obstacles to see a doctor on a more frequent basis. Things like transportation and finances can figure into the equation, but being able to speak to a health care provider electronically can help remove those obstacles.

She said if the library wins the grant, they will use plans from the Philips Corporation for the Veterans Administration Accessing Telehealth through Local Area Stations Telehealth Initiative to design a physical space and it will be finished between November and January.

“The need for telehealth came into focus in March when an older woman with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease came to the library for a virtual appointment with her neurologist who had ordered an MRI,” Connery said. “Earlier tests had identified a mass in her brain, and she needed to discuss the diagnosis and treatment plans without risking acquiring Covid-19 by going to an in-person visit. Due to the lack of digital literacy and broadband access in our community, the Pottsboro Library remained open throughout the pandemic. Computer use was available by appointment.”

She added that, “Health disparities exist in rural areas. They are even more pronounced for older adults (65+). Census tract 3.03 in Pottsboro, TX consists of 28% of the population who are over 65. This is almost double the national average. Health literacy, in general, is lower in seniors. Lack of transportation and broadband infrastructure exacerbates the health disparity for older adults who live in rural areas. Not only is it a case of not knowing what services are available, the services often do not exist. The development of telehealth could bypass many of the challenges that currently exist.”

But they can’t start helping to solve the problem until they win the grant, so they are asking for public to vote. Over the challenge period locals can go online each day and cast up to 10 votes at https://www.neighborhoodassist.com/entry/2033441/.