Iowa’s largest telemedicine program will get federal money to upgrade outdated systems. The Midwest Rural Telemedicine Consortium, or M-R-T-C, will receive more than three-quarters of a million dollars for improvements. Iowa Congressman Tom Latham announced the 700-thousand dollars in funding today at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa in Mason City. Latham says systems like this need to keep up with advancements in technology.M-R-T-C president and Mason City physician Dale Andres says the system is an important part of health care in the state. Andres says the network has had quite an impact on rural Iowa. He says the consortium has decreased costs, improved time efficiency, and improved access to specialty health care. Andres says the MRTC even played an active role in the days after the 9-11 attacks in helping federal officials deal with the anthrax threat. There are medical facilities in 32 cities which are part of the MRTC. Facilities include: Monroe County Hospital, Kossuth Regional Health Center, Mary Greeley Medical Center, Ankeny Mercy Clinic, Audubon County Memorial Hospital, Belmond Medical Center, Davis County Hospital, Hancock County Memorial Hospital, St. Anthony Regional Hospital, Mercy Medical Center-Centerville, Chautauqua Guest Homes, Inc., Wayne County Hospital, Regional Health Services of Howard County, Katzmann Breast Center, Mercy College, Mercy Franklin Center, Mercy Mayo Family Practice, Mercy School of EMS, Mercy Medical Center, Emmetsburg Palo Alto County Hospital, Graettinger Medical Clinic, Adair County Memorial Hospital, Franklin General Hospital, Mercy Clinic – Indianola, Ellsworth Municipal Hospital, Madrid Madrid Home for the Aging, Manning Regional Healthcare Center, Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center, Mason City Clinic, Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa, Ringgold County Hospital, Nevada Story County Hospital, Mercy Medical Center-New Hampton, Mitchell County Regional Health Center, Mercy Family Care-Spencer, Mercy Clinic – Urbandale, and Webster City Hamilton Hospital.