The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center’s Center for Telehealth is using a $15.5 million grant from the Federal Communications Commission to design, build, operate and assess a major broadband network designed to link rural telehealth networks throughout the region, the Associated Press reports. The Southwest Telehealth Access Grid would help create connect more than 500 Indian Health Service (IHS) and other health care facilities in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, California, Nevada, Texas and Utah. Described as a “network of networks,” the grid will enable IHS to offer roughly 60 telemedicine services to patients including teleradiology, teleophthalmology and telepsychology. According to the center’s medical director, the grid will likely improve patient care and provider training, as well as disaster response capabilities. Noting that telehealth does not replace the value of in-person care, he also suggests that the network will significantly enhance physician-patient relationships, adding that demand for such services will likely increase as more experience the value of telehealth (Holmes, AP/Yahoo! News, 3/19/08).