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RURAL NEW YORK HOSPITALS BEGIN HEALTH CARE NETWORK

 CUBA, N.Y., March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The first U.S. health communications network to link independent rural hospitals with medical specialists in urban areas was activated today in New York.
 Hospitals in the Southern Tier of New York have joined several telecommunications vendors and health care organizations to establish the Rural Health Networking Project, a regional communications network to improve the distribution and availability of medical services to rural areas.
 The project uses interactive video teleconferencing to link patients and health care workers at multiple sites, eliminating travel time and inconvenience for rural residents while helping to reduce health care costs.
 The hospitals' bid to control rural medical costs is being realized in part through reliance on digital technology that allows video teleconferencing and medical imaging "calls" to be dialed up as needed, without the expense of a dedicated private line. The project is supported by Sprint's Healthcare Application Network Delivery System (HANDS), New York Telephone's fiber-optic and digital network, and Compression Labs Inc.'s (NASDAQ-NMS: CLIX) videoconferencing equipment.
 Rep. Amo Houghton (R-N.Y.) of the Southern Tier's 31st district led the effort to create the network project. Houghton's district is home to 11 rural hospitals that are establishing the network.
 "The technology is available today to help us solve our health care problem," Houghton said. "We will be isolated no longer. Patients in rural areas such as Cuba now can talk with and see doctors in any city in the world without leaving Allegany County."
 The network will help provide the following services to rural New York:
 -- Direct communication support between primary care services
 in rural areas and specialists at major regional medical
 centers;
 -- Tele-consultation for outpatient rehabilitation;
 -- Educational support for physicians at Cuba Memorial
 Hospital and family practice resident physicians at the
 Rural Health Care Campus in Cuba, N.Y., an affiliate of
 the Department of Family Medicine at the University of New
 York at Buffalo;
 -- Inter-hospital communication support within the rural
 community.
 "The focus around this country is on health care reform," Houghton said. "Again, we are moving ahead of the curve. While others are looking to Washington for the answers, the hospitals in our area have taken the lead. A recent report states that by implementing new telecommunications technologies in the health care field we will save $36 billion annually. Why not start that savings in our region? We will save money and improve access for all of our neighbors."
 Houghton is referring to a recent study by the consulting firm of Arthur D. Little that concluded the United States could save $36 billion through the use of telecommunications applications in the health care industry. Of that total $36 billion, the study estimated that $200 million could be saved just by using videoconferencing for remote medical consultations and professional training.
 "The network opens many new applications that can reduce costs related to travel and the lack of access to specialized care," said Scott Parisella, chief executive officer of the Western New York Rural Health Care Cooperative. "It can provide the opportunity for physicians to extend additional service into the rural communities."
 As part of the network dedication today, Sprint's HANDS and New York Telephone will link Cuba Memorial Hospital in rural Allegany County with Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo. To serve the 11 hospitals on the network project, more than 100 miles of fiber-optic lines within the New York Telephone network and several digital switches will be used to enable the simultaneous exchange of voice, data and video.
 "New York Telephone is proud to be an integral part of this project, and we look forward to its expansion to other hospitals and health care providers over the next few years," said Richard Jalkut, president and chief executive officer of New York Telephone. "Through the use of fiber optics and digital switching systems, New York Telephone is working to improve the ways we exchange information on health care, education and economic development."
 Nearly 700 health care providers in America are connected on Sprint's HANDS network, including community hospitals, university medical centers, research facilities, physicians, radiologists and health care system vendors.
 "As hospitals and health care organizations see the capabilities of telecommunications in the medical arena, more and more of them will want to benefit from them," said David W. Dorman, president of Sprint's Major Accounts Group. "The technology creates almost limitless possibilities to improve health care and control health care costs in America."
 HANDS is Sprint's package of worldwide integrated voice, data and video telecommunications services developed for the medical community. Services provided through this package include video teleconferencing, telemedicine applications, the high-speed transmission of diagnostic-quality medical images, and long distance and 800-number services.
 CLI offers health care organizations, such as the Rural Health Care Campus in Cuba, complete videoconferencing solutions, including video codecs, modular room systems, data ports for telemedicine enhancements, and network services through partnerships with leading carriers like Sprint.
 "Our systems can be tailored to meet a variety of needs and budgets -- from the largest hospital organization to the smallest clinic," said Ken Hollen, executive director of market development for CLI.
 CLI is a recognized leader in the video communications industry. In the late 1970s, CLI pioneered Compressed Digital Video (CDV), the technology that makes long distance video communications practical and affordable. With years of experience in designing and implementing solutions for the health care industry, CLI brings medical professionals face-to-face with a better way to communicate.
 Under a modernization program, New York Telephone has deployed more than 370,000 miles of fiber optics throughout the state, including 40,000 miles in Western New York, and has installed computerized switching systems in every one of its wire centers in New York. New York Telephone provides telecommunications services to more than 7 million business and residential customers. The company has 42,000 employees and generates operating revenues of more than $7.7 billion.
 Sprint (NYSE: FON) is a diversified international telecommunications company with more than $10 billion in annual revenues and the United States' only nationwide all-digital, fiber- optic network. Its divisions provide global long distance voice, data and video products and services, and local telephone services to nearly 5.9 million subscriber lines in 19 states, and cellular operations that serve 42 metropolitan markets and more than 50 rural service areas.
 -0- 3/16/93
 /NOTE: HANDS is a registered trademark./
 /CONTACT: Mike Hyland of Rep. Houghton's office, 607-937-9842, or after hours, 607-937-3336; Maureen Maguire for Erie County Medical Center, 716-882-1041, or after hours, 716-833-1859; Norman Black of Sprint, 404-859-6096, or after hours, 404-578-0679; Cliff Lee of New York Telephone, 800-698-0198, or after hours, 518-393-4807; or Robin Parker-Meredith of Compression Labs, Inc., 408-428-6780/
 (FON CLIX)


CO: Sprint; Erie County Medical Center; New York Telephone;
 Compression Labs, Inc.; Western New York Rural Health Care
 Cooperative ST: New York IN: TLS HEA SU: PDT


KD-DC -- DC013 -- 6573 03/16/93 12:46 EST
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Date:Mar 16, 1993
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