(ZANESVILLE, Ohio) – Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted visited Zanesville High School in Muskingum County today to announce a BroadbandOhio expansion initiative that will connect nearly 20,000 students to telehealth services through a $1.15 million appropriation by InnovateOhio.
The “Muskingum Valley ESC’s School-Based Telemental Health in Appalachian Ohio Project” will provide telehealth services to 15 school districts, spanning six counties in rural Appalachian Ohio, including Coshocton, Morgan, Muskingum, Perry, Noble, and Tuscarawas. Funding for this program also allows four school districts in the region to access telemedicine supports for students with acute illness or chronic conditions through remote access to pediatricians and other providers.
“With every broadband expansion announcement we make, more and more Ohioans are getting access to services that were basically unavailable to them before,” said Lt. Governor Husted, who also serves as Director of InnovateOhio. “This project, championed by the Muskingum Valley ESC, supported by BroadbandOhio, and funded through InnovateOhio, will allow students in rural counties to have a direct line to healthcare experts – in real time, when they need it.”
For today’s announcement, the Lt. Governor was joined by Superintendent of the Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center Lori Snyder-Lowe; Executive Director of the Appalachian Children’s Coalition Randy Leite; Zanesville City Schools Nurse Beverly Guinsler; and Margo Asire, a mother of five and local nurse, who has experience using telehealth technology.
“This $1.15 million appropriation will increase mental health services and health care access for rural southeastern and eastern Ohio students and their families,” said Lori Snyder-Lowe, Superintendent of the Muskingum Valley ESC. “Research estimates 1 in 5 students experience mental health struggles during their school years, but more than 60 percent of these students will not receive the help they need. Access to care is a hurdle in our region, and the use of teletherapy and telemedicine carts in a school-based setting can help remove those barriers for our students and their families.”
The project is a collaborative effort between InnovateOhio, BroadbandOhio, the Muskingum Valley ESC and the Appalachian Children’s Coalition.
Today’s launch represents another broadband expansion project that builds upon the DeWine-Husted Administration’s efforts to expand and enhance broadband connectivity for businesses and families throughout Ohio.