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Telehealth NewsExpanding Beyond Our Region

Expanding Beyond Our Region

July 22, 2015

Late summer and fall are busy times for NRTRC. Aside from our usual technical assistance assists with our colleagues from the region, we’re doing quite a bit outside our seven-state bailiwick.

We’re stepping beyond our usual assistance to NRTRC-region telehealth organizations this time of year. I think I reported on my visit with a Select Committee from the North Dakota State Legislature last month. That was interesting and they were a gracious audience. But it’s not only legislators and providers that we work with. We’re also getting pretty active with our colleagues on the National TRC Coalition. We’ll be meeting with them at the end of August, and in the meantime, I’m helping them put together a ten-year retrospective document. That’s right, the ‘official’ TRC movement has been helping expand care to underserved areas for ten years now.

Of course, all those other TRCs are Johnny-come-lately organizations when compared to NRTRC. We are the first TRC in the country. NRTRC was formed in 2005 to provide assistance and support to telehealth in the Northwest. At that time, we had eight states (UT, WY, MT, ID, OR, WA, AK and HI) along with the Affiliated Pacific Islands. It was an interesting challenge in those days to arrange even a conference call. We spanned 12 time zones, so someone was always having to get up in the middle of the night or stay up late to participate. Our Pacific friends have since formed their own TRC, a logical step because of the timing issues, of course, but also because their health care situations are so different from the Mainland that it was just a good idea. We still do a lot with the Pacific Basin TRC, as we do with all our colleagues, but now nobody has to get up in the middle of the night to talk to me.

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