WYOMING — A new grant awarded to Wyoming Telehealth Network (WyTN) will aim to increase access to telehealth equipment and infrastructure to expand health care for Wyoming residents.

WyTN was awarded $178,200 of the state’s American Recovery Plan Act funding from Wyoming’s State Loan and Investment Board. WyTN is a project of the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND), an academic unit in the University of Wyoming’s College of Health Sciences.

The funding supports the purchase of telehealth equipment in a first-of-its-kind pilot project to establish eight community telehealth access sites across the state. Each site will provide private HIPAA-secure public spaces that can be used for confidential telehealth appointments with healthcare providers licensed in Wyoming to provide increased access to telehealth services.

Rural areas of the state are some of the hardest places to deliver consistent access to specialized and mental health care. 

“Expanding access to health care in a state with multiple barriers to care is challenging,” says Canyon Hardesty, an associate director at WIND. “By working with unique partners, we can reach more people and provide health care services in a stigma-free and safe environment with reliable broadband access.”

Wyoming residents may struggle with barriers to accessing medical care, including rural locations; stigma about receiving health care, particularly mental health care; lack of safety; and lack of adequate technology or broadband to access telehealth from home.

The project seeks to advance how health care is delivered across multiple settings while enhancing provider and patient digital literacy and overcoming broadband barriers to care.

“We are grateful for the generous support from the Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board toward expanded health care access,” Hardesty says.