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La Maestra Community Health Centers Expands Telemedicine Program
Date:10/17/2008

$73,000 Grant From Verizon Improves Access to Care in Underserved Communities

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Continuing its efforts to provide state-of-the-art medical care to underserved residents of San Diego County, La Maestra Community Health Centers announced Friday (Oct. 17) the expansion of its telemedicine program, thanks to a $73,000 grant from Verizon.

The grant has been used to purchase new equipment including a camera that can be coupled to specialized medical devices such as dermascopes and ear, nose and throat scopes. The camera allows physicians at facilities elsewhere in the county to perform more thorough examinations of patients at La Maestra's clinic in the City Heights neighborhood here. Images are transmitted over secure point-to-point connections to ensure patient confidentiality.

"Bringing this kind of technology to our clinic will directly benefit our patients and our partners in remote areas of the county," said Zara Marselian, La Maestra's chief executive officer. "Thanks to Verizon, we have been able to expand our telemedicine capabilities in the areas of ENT diagnosis and dermatology. The dermascope we purchased will play a critical role in caring for patients with diabetes. Telemedicine is a big part of our future and one of the most important trends in health care today."

La Maestra has been a telemedicine provider since 2005 and is the first urban clinic in San Diego to implement a telemedicine program. Currently, La Maestra provides mental-health services to rural clinics in San Diego and Imperial counties and has created a network of specialty providers, such as the Scripps Mercy Hospital cardiology department, that are willing to participate in this innovative approach to increase access for patient care.

David Shaw, M.D., M.B.A, cardiologist and director of graduate medical education at Scripps Mercy Hospital, said, "This technology allows for further collaboration between clinics throu
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SOURCE Verizon
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