Here's a half-million in stimulus dollars South Dakota's Republicans did not and just cannot approve of: on top of the $5.7 million Dakota State University received last spring to create the HealthPoint resource center to help South Dakota hospitals implement electronic health records (and create a few jobs right here in Madison), the health info-tech center now snags another $576K from the Recovery Act to provide technical assistance to rural South Dakota hospitals.
As one of my favorite local Republicans observed, a strong local health care industry is an "important asset for any community." Expanding the use of electronic health records will make it easier for rural doctors and nurses to do their jobs, as they will have more resources available. Among other benefits, the tech this grant supports will help a doctor at the clinic in Gettysburg get advice and treatment from a specialist at Avera without making the patient take a day off work to drive to Sioux Falls.
This latest stimulus grant for rural health information technology is an excellent example of government at work in our backyard, providing tangible benefits and improving basic services.
But if you prefer seeing rural communities struggle to recruit doctors and provide health care locally, well, go ahead and keep listening to the Republicans and teabaggers who tell you government can't do anything right.
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