Grant Details

Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program (DLT) - Opioid

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    Funder Type

    Federal Government

    IT Classification

    A - Primarily intended to fund technology


    Rural Development


    The Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program is designed to provide access to education, training, and health care resources for rural Americans. The DLT program provides financial assistance to encourage and improve telemedicine and distance learning services in rural areas through the use of telecommunications, computer networks, and related advanced technologies that students, teachers, medical professionals, and rural residents can use. Grants may be used to fund telecommunications-enabled information, audio and video equipment, and related advanced technologies which extend educational and medical applications into rural areas. Grants are intended to benefit end users in rural areas, who are often not in the same location as the source of the educational or health care service.

    In March 2018, Congress explicitly appropriated an additional $20 million for the DLT Program in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, Pub. L. 115-141, § 775 (2018) œto help address the opioid epidemic in rural America. Approximately half of this funding was awarded in FY 2018 to DLT projects that had opioid treatment as their primary purpose. For the remaining funds, the Agency is soliciting applications that specifically support treatment for, and prevention of, opioid use disorder in rural areas.

    Applications submitted under this announcement should address how they will strengthen local capacity to address one or more of the following focus areas:

    • Prevention”for example, educating community members and care providers or implementing harm reduction strategies to reduce the number of fatal opioid related overdoses and the occurrence of opioid use disorder among new and at risk users.
    • Treatment”for example, implementing or expanding access to evidence-based practices for opioid use disorder treatment, such as medication-assisted treatment.
    • Recovery”for example, expanding peer recovery and treatment options that help people with opioid use disorder start recovery and avoid relapse.

    In the context of the national opioid crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified 220 counties and jurisdictions that are vulnerable to infection or disease outbreak due to injection drug use (hereinafter at-risk counties). Under this grant opportunity, the Agency is prioritizing assistance for rural areas in these at-risk counties. Applications with end-user sites that are in one or more of the at-risk counties will receive additional points in the competitive scoring process.

    Vulnerable Counties and Jurisdictions Experiencing or At-Risk of Outbreaks:

    There are three categories of eligible purposes:

    • Acquiring, by lease or purchase, eligible new or non-depreciated equipment. The application must demonstrate both that the predominant purpose (50% or more of use) of every line-item in the grant and match budget meets the DLT Grant definition of distance learning and/or telemedicine. Examples of eligible equipment include:
      • Computer hardware and software 
      • Site licenses and maintenance contracts
      • Extended warranties (up to 3 years)
      • Audio and video equipment (including interactive audio/video equipment)
      • Computer network components
      • Telecommunications terminal equipment
      • Data terminal equipment
      • Inside wiring
      • Broadband facilities (if owned by the applicant)
    • Acquiring instructional programming that is a capital asset (including the purchase or lease of instructional programming already on the market). Renewals of instructional programming are not eligible nor is classroom equipment (such as laboratory equipment). Also, expenses (such as those for tuition, fees for coursework on a per course basis, or fees for cultural events or virtual field trips) are not capital assets and therefore, are not eligible. 
    • Providing technical assistance and instruction for using eligible equipment, including any related software; developing instructional programming that is a capital asset and providing engineering or environmental studies relating to the establishment or expansion of the phase of the project to be financed with the grant. The costs for this category cannot exceed 10% of the grant amount requested.

    The following purposes are considered ineligible grant purposes:

    • To pay for medical or educational equipment not having telemedicine or distance learning as its essential function; including telephone systems.
    • To pay for Electronic Medical Records (EMS) systems.
    • To pay salaries, wages, or employee benefits to medical or educational personnel;
    • To pay for the salaries or administrative expenses of the applicant or the project;
    • To purchase equipment that will be owned by the local exchange carrier or another telecommunications service provider unless that service provider is the applicant.
    • To duplicate facilities providing distance learning or telemedicine services in place or to reimburse the applicant or others for costs incurred prior to RUS' receipt of the completed application;
    • To pay costs of preparing the application package for financial assistance under this program; 
    • For projects whose sole objective is to provide links between teachers and students or between medical professionals who are located at the same facility or campus environment;
    • For site development and the destruction or alteration of buildings;
    • For the purchase of land, buildings, or building construction;
    • For projects located in areas covered by the Coastal Barrier Resources Act;
    • For any purpose that the Administrator has not specifically approved; 
    • Except for leases provided for in §1734.21, to pay the cost of recurring or operating expenses for the project including but not limited to internet connection fees;

    Special Note: The agency is providing an additional filing window for those that could not complete applications prior to the Window 1 deadline. This window also makes available up to $25 million received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). While the CARES Act requires these funds be used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, the agency believes that all DLT projects already serve that purpose. As a result, while not required, applicants are encouraged to identify specific ways in which their application addresses COVID-19. This second application window is announced through a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) published on their program page and in 


    History of Funding

    The awardees for the 2019 DLT-Opioid program can be found here:

    Additional Information

    The DLT Grant Program is a competitive program. Applications are scored in objective and subjective categories. 

    • Objective Criteria: statistical in nature and evaluated by comparing statistics on numerical data.
      • Rural Area (Rurality) (Up to 30 points)
      • Economic Need (SAIPE) (Up to 30 points)
      • Special Consideration (Up to 30 points): Applicants will receive 5 additional points for each end- (up to 30 points) user site that is located within the 220 at-risk counties identified by the CDC. The at-risk counties are listed in the guide and they are also available in the Application Guide and the CDC website at Such applications will be awarded up to 30 points.
    • Subjective Criteria: rendered by a judgment, an informed opinion based on various factors, including experience, knowledge and statistical comparisons
      • Need for Services and Project Benefits (Needs & Benefits) (Up to 55 points): The Agency is seeking applications that use DLT technologies to facilitate the following opioid-related services:
        • Specialized medical, dental, psychiatric, or pharmaceutical services
        • Group counseling and other peer support services
        • Family therapy and support services
        • Home monitoring applications to support patients in between medical visits
        • School-based or community-based health centers
        • Peer-to-peer or mentor-led training between workers in the same professional sector or across sectors (e.g., nurse-to-nurse, judge-to-judge, teacher-to-teacher exchange and/or doctor-to-teacher, judge-to-counselor, nurse-to-judge, doctor-topolice exchange, etc.)
        • Advanced training classes or œvirtual clinics led by specialty care providers to train primary or rural care providers
        • Recovery support or workforce training for people with substance use disorders


    Shawn Arner

    Shawn Arner
    Office of Loan Origination and Approval
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20250-1550
    (202) 720-0800

  • Eligibility Details

    To be eligible for a grant, your organization must:

    1. Be legally organized as an incorporated organization or partnership; an Indian tribe or tribal organization, as defined in; a state or local unit of government; a consortium; or other legal entity, including a private corporation organized on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis. Each applicant must provide written evidence of its legal capacity to contract with the Rural Utilities Service to obtain the grant and comply with all applicable requirements.
    2. Either operate a rural community facility, or deliver distance learning or telemedicine services to entities that operate a rural community facility or to residents of rural areas at rates calculated to ensure that the benefit of the financial assistance is passed through to such entities or to residents of rural areas.

    Equipment vendors, system integrators, and other businesses whose purpose in the proposal is to sell equipment or technological services to support applicants cannot themselves be applicants. Additional Eligibility Criteria: Minimum Rurality Score - In order to be eligible to receive a grant, an application must receive a minimum of 15 points as an average score for all end user sties included in the project. To receive points, an end user site must not be located within the boundaries of any incorporated or unincorporated city, village, or borough having a population in excess of 20,000 inhabitants.

    Deadline Details

    Applications are to be submitted by April 15, 2019. A similar deadline is anticipated, annually.

    Award Details

    Approximately $40,000,000 is available in funding. Awards range between $50,000 and $500,000 each. The DLT program requires applicants to provide match funds that total 15% of the grant request and (cannot be from another federal source. Projects last up to 3 years.

    Related Webcasts Use the links below to view the recorded playback of these webcasts

    • Funding Classroom Technology to Empower Students and Teachers - Sponsored by Panasonic - Playback Available
    • Maximizing Technology-friendly Workforce Development Grants - Sponsored by Panasonic - Playback Available
    • Funding Data-driven Workforce Development Projects - Sponsored by NetApp - Playback Available


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