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Hailey Public Library to Offer Telehealth Space
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Monday, May 16, 2022
 

PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

 The Hailey Public Library has received $8,400 to turn an existing meeting room into a private, soundproof telehealth space, which includes the necessary equipment and reliable internet access patrons will need to conduct safe, effective telehealth sessions.

The grant was funded by the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health, Inc. and managed by the Idaho Commission for Libraries. 

 The Hailey Public Library serves the people of Blaine County, along with those who commute to work in the Wood River Valley. According to the 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment, the most significant health needs in Blaine County concern the prevention and management of obesity, improving mental health, and reducing substance abuse.

 Challenges to health care for area residents and commuters include transportation difficulties, work conflicts, lack of childcare, and long commutes that leave little time for health-related appointments. In addition, many residents cannot conduct their telehealth sessions due to poor internet connections, the high cost of internet services, or the lack of adequate technical skills to connect virtually with their healthcare providers.

 By providing a telehealth option, the Hailey Public Library is serving its community in a way that goes beyond the traditional role of offering books and resources.

 “This dedicated space will allow people to meet with health care providers virtually and receive the service they would otherwise have to miss entirely or travel to access,” said Hailey Public Library Director Lyn Drewien.

 Libraries are uniquely positioned to virtually connect underserved and rural communities with health care providers and supportive resources and fill a core need in their communities, said State Librarian Stephanie Bailey-White.

 “We’re happy to support telehealth spaces in Idaho libraries further as this investment helps increase access to health care in rural parts of our state,” added Kendra Witt-Doyle, executive director of Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. “Libraries are a great community resource. Offering health care access at these locations will greatly benefit those communities.”

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