Thursday, August 13, 2009

Qwest Selected for Colorado Telehealth Network

The Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) and the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council (CBHC) have selected Qwest Communications (NYSE: Q) to provide high-speed broadband services that will link nearly 400 of the state's urban and rural health care and behavioral health providers, and facilitate telemedicine access. Once complete, the Colorado Telehealth Network will be the among the largest health care information networks in the United States.

Qwest will manage metro optical Ethernet and data networking technology to provide a secure, reliable, scalable voice and data platform to health care providers of all sizes, enabling them to share critical medical information over large distances, control costs and reduce patient travel time, thereby providing a better patient care experience. Colorado Telehealth Network will connect into Qwest's national fiber-optic network , providing patients -- especially those in rural areas--with state-of-the-art, long-distance medical care using speeds up to 100 Mbps.

"Too many rural communities are isolated from many of the advanced diagnosis and treatment technologies available in urban areas," said CHA President and CEO Steven J. Summer. "The Colorado Telehealth Network, when implemented, will enable Coloradans to receive the right care, at the right place and at the right time."

"The Colorado Telehealth Network will promote better health in many ways, while greatly reducing the need for rural residents to travel long distances to receive quality care," said George DelGrosso, executive director of the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council. "This innovative system will save lives and scarce health care resources."

The Colorado Telehealth Network is funded by two awards from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). An FCC award to CHA provides up to $4.6 million in federal funds over three years. When combined with a similar award to CBHC, $9.8 million will be available for the initiative. In addition, a 15 percent match from participating health care providers will supplement the program. CHA and CBHC expect that the Colorado Telehealth Network will connect approximately 70 percent of the 388 eligible facilities by the end of the year and will complete connectivity in early 2010.