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September 2021


By News

Source: FCC

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Media Contact:
Katie Gorscak
[email protected]

WASHINGTON, September 29, 2021—The Federal Communications Commission today
approved an additional 72 applications for funding commitments totaling $41,113,186 for
Round 2 of its COVID-19 Telehealth Program. This is the FCC’s second funding
announcement of approved Round 2 applications following the nearly $42 million awarded on
August 26 to health care providers in each state, territory, and the District of Columbia.

“The FCC has now approved a total of over $83 million in funding applications for Round 2 of
its COVID-19 Telehealth Program. From community health clinics in urban city centers to
hospitals serving rural communities across the country, these funds will support efforts to help
our neighbors remain in the care of their doctors, nurses, physician assistants and trusted health
care providers during this pandemic,” said Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “I’d like
to thank the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau for their continued work on this critical
program which continues to make an impact on the health and well-being of all Americans.”

The FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program supports the efforts of health care providers to
continue serving their patients by providing reimbursement for telecommunications services,
information services, and connected devices necessary to enable telehealth during the COVID-
19 pandemic. Round 2 is a $249.95 million federal initiative that builds on the $200 million
program established as part of the CARES Act. As outlined in the Round 2 Report and Order,
once $150 million in funding has been committed, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau
will announce an opportunity for all remaining applicants to supplement their applications, as
required by Congress. After all remaining applicants have the opportunity to supplement, the
remaining program funding will be committed.

Below is a list of health care providers that were approved for funding (listed alphabetically):

  • AdventHealth, a non-profit consortia of health care providers in Florida was
    awarded $791,497 to purchase broadband services as well as remote monitoring
    devices that will allow discharged COVID-19 patients to be remotely monitored daily
    by nurses and other care providers.
  • Adventist Health System West serving California, Hawaii, and Oregon was
    awarded $1,000,000 to acquire tablets, webcams, headsets, and related peripherals to
    expand capacity to offer medical and behavioral telehealth services, remote COVID-19
    screening, and the required follow-up care to over 2 million individuals and families
    located within their service region.
  • The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) in Anchorage, Alaska
    was awarded $798,147 to supplement its existing telehealth and health information
    technology systems, which serve Alaska Native/American Indian residents living in
    remote communities.
  • Appalachian Regional Healthcare in Lexington, Kentucky was awarded $408,140
    to purchase video conferencing subscriptions, telehealth carts, and specialized
    telehealth equipment to provide care to patients in locations with limited neurology
  • AtlantiCare Health System in Cape May, New Jersey was awarded $533,062 to
    implement a more effective and user-friendly telehealth platform to address health care
    inequities and to increase access to socially distant health care.
  • Baptist Memorial Health Care, a consortium of 22 hospitals in Arkansas,
    Mississippi, and Tennessee was awarded $209,008 to allow for “Hospital at Home”
    services from six of their rural hospitals and to provide telehealth services, such as
    specialty and on-demand tele-consultations, using connected devices.
  • Baton Rouge General Medical Center – Mid-City Campus in Baton Rouge,
    Louisiana was awarded $367,664 for connected tablets to provide telehealth to
    patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas, Texas was awarded $984,183 for telehealth
    video and messaging platforms to increase the number of patients who can receive care
    remotely, and consequently, reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure for patients and
    staff, as well as to reach patients who have been avoiding care due to COVID-19
  • Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, New York was awarded $920,000 for
    remote patient monitoring devices and internet services for patients and providers, as
    well as a remote patient monitoring platform to provide medical services to chronic, at-
    risk, and elderly patients from home.
  • Bon Secours, a health system serving communities in Central and Eastern
    Virginia was awarded $308,246 to purchase telehealth equipment used for virtual
    provider consultations, remote patient monitoring, and treatment of patients in
    hospitals and emergency departments, providing a virtual connection to clinical
    resources to improve access, avoid overcrowding in emergency departments, minimize
    unnecessary patient exposure, and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • The Brighter Beginnings Richmond Family Health Clinic in Philadelphia,
    Pennsylvania was awarded $1,000,000 for remote psychological monitoring devices,
    connected telehealth solutions, tablets, and laptops to help patients manage chronic
    conditions at home, and telehealth devices that allow virtual video visits.
  • Camillus Health Concern, Inc., a Federally Qualified Health Center in Miami-
    Dade County, Florida was awarded $983,464 to purchase video conferencing
    software, a telehealth platform, laptops, and connected monitoring devices for both
    patients and providers, to decrease disparities in access to care for many patients,
    including those who may be experiencing homelessness.
  • Care Resource Community Health Centers, Inc. in Miami, Florida was awarded
    $966,542 to purchase connected devices that allow clinical staff to monitor a patient’s
    blood pressure, weight, pulse, and glucose levels without in-person visits, helping to
    reduce the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.
  • Carolina Community Health Center in Wilson, North Carolina was awarded
    $1,000,000 for telehealth devices related to ongoing patient monitoring, allowing for
    the continued provision of affordable primary, dental, behavioral, and pharmaceutical
    health services to patients in rural North Carolina.
  • Centerville Clinics in Fredericktown, Pennsylvania was awarded $224,204 to
    purchase phone systems, workstations for telehealth devices, and upgraded virtual
    storage, allowing providers to perform faster telehealth visits and handle the increased
    call volume due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • CentraCare Health System, a consortium of 27 health care providers in
    Minnesota was awarded $234,352 to purchase telehealth equipment and software
    licenses to increase access to care and services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Centura Health, a network of affiliated rural and Critical Access Hospitals
    throughout Colorado was awarded $997,597 for telehealth carts and remote patient
    monitoring kits for use within hospitals, to allow for remote communication,
    evaluation, and care for patients during the pandemic.
  • Cherokee Health Systems in Talbot, Tennessee was awarded $861,560 for mobile
    connected devices to remotely monitor patients, which will significantly improve
    health outcomes in a low-income and underserved patient population.
    Community Health Net in Erie, Pennsylvania was awarded $327,661 for telehealth
    devices that will allow for remote evaluations from digitally connected exam rooms
    and management of remote patient encounters.
  • Community Health of South Florida in Miami, Florida was awarded $347,850 to
    purchase remote patient monitoring devices, a remote consultation telehealth platform,
    and a patient messaging platform, to provide remote services to an estimated 10,500
    patients from low-income communities.
  • Cornell Scott-Hill Health Corporation in New Haven, Connecticut was awarded
    $713,726 for telehealth devices that will increase patient accessibility to video and
    voice consults and other diagnostic tools that will reduce the risk of COVID-19
    exposure for providers and patients.
  • Cornerstone Family Healthcare in Cornwall, New York was awarded $390,329 to
    purchase devices, including iPads, cameras, a digital stethoscope, and laptops, that will
    enhance virtual diagnostic capabilities to reduce in-office patient visits for services that
    can be offered via telehealth during the pandemic.
  • Covenant Health in Knoxville, Tennessee was awarded $987,991 to purchase
    telehealth infrastructure including voice, internet, information systems, and devices for
    the provision of both synchronous and asynchronous telehealth services, including
    iPads, tablets, electronic stethoscopes, and devices to further enable physical exams
    during virtual visits.
  • Covenant Living Communities and Services, a nationwide non-profit senior care
    organization, headquartered in Skokie, Illinois was awarded $95,113 to purchase
    video and audio equipment, including electrocardiograms, digital stethoscopes, and
    cameras, to allow the providers to better triage patients and provide more targeted
    patient care to free up resources within the health care organization and over-crowded
    emergency rooms.
  • Detroit Health Care for the Homeless in Detroit, Michigan was awarded $221,619
    for kiosks and tablets to support social distancing during patient registration and sign-
    in for health care services to improve care for the homeless and low-income
  • East Liberty Family Health Care Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was awarded
    $427,782 to purchase laptops, monitors, and enhanced network equipment establish
    secure telehealth services for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, including
    addressing medical, dental, and behavioral health care needs.
  • Family Health Care, a Federally Qualified and Community Health Center, in
    Baldwin, Michigan was awarded $713,656 for virtual exam room kits, connected
    diagnostic devices, expanded internet infrastructure, and connected tablets to provide
    patients at five primary care health centers and three child and adolescent centers with
    increased and remote access to primary care, chronic condition management, and
    mental health services, thereby reducing the burden on limited primary care providers
    while increasing patient engagement in counseling services during the COVID-19
  • Family Health Centers of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers, Florida was awarded
    $13,801 to purchase computers and smart phones to provide telemedicine and
    synchronous telehealth services to patients during the pandemic.
  • Franciscan Health Indianapolis in Mishawaka, Indiana was awarded $747,665 to
    purchase remote patient monitoring devices to allow patients to provide real-time vitals
    data to providers, which will allow providers to serve more patients over a wider
    geographic area.
  • Gaston Family Health Services, a series of Federally Qualified Health Centers in
    ten counties in North Carolina was awarded $983,524 for mobile satellite links,
    telemedicine wall units, and connected monitoring devices to reduce in-person
    encounters and patients’ transportation needs, and to connect providers to diagnostic
    measures that enable more rapid decision-making for their patients.
  • The Guthrie Clinic in Troy, Pennsylvania, was awarded $949,721 to purchase
    telehealth equipment to facilitate a variety of remote health care services including
    tele-ICU consultations with specialists for COVID-19 patients, remote continuous
    monitoring (tele-sitting) for senior patients, and increased access to primary and
    specialty care for non-COVID-19 patients.
  • The Health Care Collaborative of Rural Missouri was awarded $285,871 to
    purchase tablets and connected monitoring equipment for patients with chronic
    conditions, allowing primary providers to treat patients in their homes instead of the
    clinic, reducing the spread of COVID-19, improving health outcomes of those with
    chronic conditions, and keeping appointments open for patients requiring in-person
  • Health Services, Inc., a Federally Qualified Health Center with facilities
    throughout Central Alabama was awarded $533,071 to purchase network equipment
    for internet and voice services, allowing providers to conduct video consultations,
    voice consultations, imaging diagnostics, and other related services to care for patients
    and more easily document visits with electronic medical records.
  • The Heartland Health Centers in Chicago, Illinois was awarded $460,635 for
    telehealth devices that will allow call center tele-triage, patient outreach and education,
    remote insurance enrollment, delivery of telehealth visits by phone and video, and
    remote monitoring of patients with chronic conditions and illnesses.
  • Hills & Dales General Hospital, a Critical Access Hospital with multiple rural
    health clinics, in Cass City, Michigan was awarded $684,801 to adopt a remote
    patient monitoring system and offer virtual visits to patients that, due to a spike in
    COVID-19 in this location, remain reluctant to visit hospitals and offices in-person for
    their routine and preventative services.
  • Horizon Health Services in Buffalo, New York was awarded $697,590 for a
    telehealth platform and audiovisual devices to continue delivering remote mental
    health and substance use disorder treatment services to residents in Western New York,
    diminishing interruption to services with familiar counselors.
  • Huntsville Hospital in Huntsville, Alabama was awarded $394,478 to purchase
    telemedicine devices, including tablets and telemedicine carts, that will help to reduce
    strain on the hospital system and its resources while decreasing the potential spread of
  • Indiana Regional Medical Center in Indiana, Pennsylvania was awarded $295,298
    to purchase laptops for physicians when engaging patients directly, and telemedicine
    carts that help connect physicians to the patients remotely.
  • Keck Hospital and School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, California was
    awarded $895,102 for a full network capacity expansion to enable the provision of
    safe, remote endoscopic screening of vulnerable patients and to expand access to
    critical gastroenterology screening for remote, rural, and underserved populations
    across the United States.
  • Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho was awarded $784,023 to purchase
    telehealth devices and software to allow the delivery of complex care consultations by
    specialists and provide a centralized platform to view patient information.
  • Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, Florida was awarded $1,000,000 for
    remote telemedicine devices that healthcare providers will use for intensive care unit
    hospital patients, as well as remote monitoring devices that patients can use in their
  • Lone Star Circle of Care in Georgetown, Texas was awarded $220,476 to upgrade
    internet connectivity and broadband services that will advance its goal of converting
    75% of primary care and behavioral health visits to synchronous video visits.
  • Maniilaq Health Center in Kotzebue, Alaska was awarded $637,869 to replace its
    Health IT infrastructure to meet the demands of COVID-19 testing, treatment, and
    vaccination in a service area that is rural and sometimes roadless.
  • Maple City Health Care Center in Goshen, Indiana was awarded $312,073 to
    provide laptop computers, cameras, and headsets to remotely treat COVID-19 patients
    via telehealth, including providing small, hand-held tablets to enable non-Spanish
    speaking healthcare providers to connect with interpreters during telehealth sessions to
    treat Spanish-speaking patients.
  • The Medical Center at Bowling Green in Bowling Green, Kentucky was awarded
    $100,325 to purchase telehealth carts and remote patient monitoring devices that allow
    providers to monitor critical COVID-19 positive patients remotely, and which will
    increase access to specialists and providers for patients in rural areas.
    The Medical University of South Carolina Medical Center in Charleston, South
    Carolina was awarded $607,978 to purchase devices used to build telehealth carts to
    continuously monitor patients, allowing for a 24/7 video connection between patients
    and providers.
  • Memorial Healthcare System, serving communities throughout South Florida was
    awarded $974,968 for telehealth devices to support connections between patients and
    healthcare providers while increasing access to care, streamlining operations, and
    making healthcare interventions more timely, efficient, and effective
  • .Methodist Healthcare Memphis Hospitals in Memphis, Tennessee was awarded
    $280,211 for connected remote patient monitoring devices including glucometers,
    scales, blood pressure cuffs, and tablets, which will be used by providers and patients
    within their facilities to support family visits, care consultations, and medical screening
  • Morris Heights Health Center in Bronx, New York was awarded $197,529 to
    purchase tablets and devices that connect to a telehealth platform to provide telehealth
    services for patients unable to make in-person visits, and for routine primary care
    visits, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Neighborcare Health at Rainier Beach in Seattle, Washington was awarded
    $823,563 for computer systems dedicated to tele-video visits, giving health care
    providers the ability to conduct telemedicine in a variety of physical settings and allow
    providers to quickly address changes in their patients’ status without having to wait for
    the next in-person visit.
  • Nett Lake Health Services in Nett Lake, Minnesota was awarded $120,305 for
    telehealth equipment, including computers with built-in cameras, to support remote
    consultations, thereby assisting its medical personnel in administering telehealth care.
  • Northwest Buffalo Community Health Care Center in Buffalo, New York was
    awarded $479,019 to support the telehealth function in its patient portal for ease of
    communication and connection between providers and patients, in addition to server
    upgrades to accommodate the increased flow of traffic and data through its information
  • NSB Health & Social Service Department, serving Native American and rural
    communities in Alaska’s North Slope villages was awarded $319,409 for telehealth
    carts, kiosks and wireless networking equipment to serve high-risk, low-income, and
    geographically isolated residents that benefit from telehealth technologies, particularly
    during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The North Central Family Medical Center in Rock Hill, South Carolina was
    awarded $269,050 to purchase software, tools, and a telehealth platform that enables
    video conferencing between clinicians and patients.
  • Orange Blossom Family Health in Orlando, Florida was awarded $126,360 to
    purchase internet connectivity services, a telehealth platform subscription, monitors,
    and associated equipment and services, to provide safe care for patients experiencing
    homelessness or residing in low-income communities, and to address disparities in
    healthcare access during the pandemic.
  • OSF Healthcare System in Peoria, Illinois was awarded $943,644 for telehealth
    devices that provide video and telephonic connections between patients and providers,
    with a particular focus on the low-income and hardest-hit areas in the community it
  • Philadelphia FIGHT in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was awarded $399,183 for
    tablets to support remote access to clinical information systems (including electronic
    medical/health records), facilitate telehealth visits with patients, and grant health care
    providers access to the tools necessary to ensure quality continuity of care during the
  • Presbyterian Healthcare Services in Albuquerque, New Mexico was awarded
    $625,790 to expand telehealth services and increase access to patient care, through the
    purchase of laptops, tablets, smartphones, headsets, and webcams, to enable live video
    (synchronous) visits, asynchronous visits, telephonic visits, and remote patient
  • Roseland Community Hospital in Chicago, Illinois was awarded $44,107 to
    purchase devices, including iPads, tablets, cameras, a computer, and a smart TV, used
    by clinicians and health care workers to communicate virtually and provide care for
    patients and those in treatment.
  • Saluda Family Health Center, a non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center with
    locations in northeastern Colorado was awarded $433,140 to acquire devices, blood
    pressure monitors, glucometers, digital scales, and pulse oximeters, that will enable
    delivery of telehealth services that enable providers to actively track patients’ health
  • Samaritan Healthcare in Moses Lake, Washington was awarded $425,449 to
    purchase telehealth services and connected devices, including laptops and webcams, to
    securely administer telehealth care to patients.
    Shore Memorial Hospital in Somers Point, New Jersey was awarded $770,000 to
    purchase telehealth devices and service subscriptions which will allow providers to
    remotely monitor patients with telecommunication, transportation, and mobility

Over $15 million in federal funds awarded to 21 SC health care centers to expand services in underserved communities

By News

Source: WLTX

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has awarded 21 health centers in South Carolina $15,157,785 in American Rescue Plan Funds for the expansion of healthcare services to underserve communities in the state.

The funding was distributed through DHHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and will be used to help fight the spread of COVID-19. The selected health care centers can use the funds to secure freezers to store COVID-19 vaccines, purchase mobile vans to better reach and vaccinate marginalized communities, or construct, renovate or expand their facilities so they are better equipped for future pandemics or public health challenges.

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Biden Administration Seeks to Expand Telehealth in Rural America

By News

Source:  New York Times

The roughly 15 percent of the population living in rural America includes some of the oldest and sickest patients in the country — a disparity that has grown more stark during the coronavirus pandemic. The Biden administration is investing more in telemedicine, whose use has grown sharply during the pandemic, as a way to improve their access to care.

Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it was distributing nearly $20 million to strengthen telehealth services — usually medical appointments that take place by video or phone — in rural and underserved communities across the country. While the amount is relatively modest, it is part of a broader push to address the long-neglected health care infrastructure in those areas.

The spending includes about $4 million to help bring primary, acute and behavioral health care directly to patients via telehealth in 11 states, including Arkansas, Arizona and Maine. The money will update technology in rural health care clinics, train doctors and nurses how to conduct telehealth appointments and teach patients how to take advantage of virtual appointments when they cannot see a doctor in person.

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Ehrhardt Pharmacy Connects Customers to Doctors with Telehealth

By News

Ehrhardt, S.C.—In an era when rural health care services often lag behind those available in big cities, Ehrhardt Pharmacy is ahead of the times in innovation.

Ehrhardt owner and pharmacist Donna Avant, R.Ph. has been providing health care education and medication management free of charge to her customers and the surrounding communities for many years. She was recently named the 2021 Pharmacist of the Year by the South Carolina Pharmacy Association in appreciation for her exemplary leadership.

In 2020, Avant began offering telehealth so customers could connect virtually to their health care providers from the pharmacy. “Some of our customers have trouble arranging for transportation to their primary care physician, even if it’s just 20 miles away. This is especially problematic for those with chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension, who need consistent, periodic care. So, what happens is, people in rural areas like Ehrhardt often don’t get the care they need or take their medicines like they should,” said Avant. “Telehealth gives them the opportunity to connect to the primary care or specialist provider from the pharmacy and get the medicines they need all in one convenient location.”

Avant said that one customer came into the pharmacy with a very painful rash. “We called her doctor at Bamberg Family Practice for an urgent appointment, connected her to her doctor with telehealth, and used the general exam camera to show the doctor the rash. The customer was immediately diagnosed with shingles. She got the medicine she needed and was back home in short order,” said Avant.  It’s amazing the clarity of the images that can be provided with this equipment – sometimes even better than being in person.”

The pharmacy also recently began connecting customers to their behavioral health providers for regularly scheduled appointments through the South Carolina Department of Mental Health and its Orangeburg Area Mental Health Center.

Chelsea Hilliard, LMSW, of Orangeburg Area Mental Health Center’s Bamberg County Clinic said, “My patients’ experiences have been good. Telehealth is easy to use for the patient, and the sessions have gone very well. It is especially nice for both the patient and me to see each other and interact in person on the telehealth computer screens, even though we’re miles apart. I think it makes the patient feel more comfortable than just a telephone conversation.”

The telehealth equipment at Ehrhardt Pharmacy was purchased through a federal grant that was awarded to Palmetto Care Connections (PCC), a non-profit telehealth network that provides telehealth, broadband and technology services to rural health care providers throughout the state.

“PCC is proud of the partnership we have established with Ehrhardt Pharmacy. Donna Avant has truly been a champion in delivering telehealth and health education to her customers,” said PCC CEO Kathy Schwarting. Currently Ehrhardt Pharmacy is connected to providers at Bamberg Family Practice for primary care with plans to connect to providers at Low Country Health Care System in the near future.

“We are also very pleased that the South Carolina Department of Mental Health is providing telemental health services at Ehrhardt Pharmacy because there is such a need for easy access to those services. We look forward to continuing to expand primary care and specialty care telehealth services at other rural locations,” Schwarting.

For more information about telehealth at Ehrhardt Pharmacy contact the pharmacy staff at 803-267-2121.

Established in 2010, PCC is a non-profit organization that provides technology, broadband, and telehealth support services to health care providers in rural and underserved areas in S.C. PCC received the National Cooperative of Health Network Association’s 2021 Outstanding Health Network of the Year award.

PCC co-chairs the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance, along with the Medical University of South Carolina, serving as an advocate for rural providers and partnering with organizations to improve health care access and delivery for all South Carolinians.

McLeod Health Foundation receives grants totaling $1.225M from The Duke Endowment

By News

Source:  The Richmond Observer

Written by

FLORENCE, S.C. — The McLeod Health Foundation has received two grants from The Duke Endowment totaling $1,225,000 to provide home-based primary care to patients in rural communities through nurse-facilitated telehealth as well as expand school-based telehealth programs in five rural counties in South Carolina.

These grants support the mission of McLeod Health, which is to improve the overall health and well-being of people living within South Carolina and eastern North Carolina by providing excellence in health care.

Home-Based Primary Care Through Nurse-Facilitated Telehealth 

The McLeod Health Foundation has received $525,000 from The Duke Endowment to provide home-based primary care to patients in rural communities through nurse-facilitated telehealth.

Chesterfield, Marlboro, Clarendon and Williamsburg County residents face significant barriers to accessing primary care. Seventy-five percent of people in the four-county area live in rural environments, while 25 percent  live in poverty. Many patients are forced to travel long distances, often without reliable transportation.

In addition, these areas suffer from some of the state’s poorest health outcomes. Rates of avoidable hospitalizations across the four counties are 29 percent higher than statewide rates. Of 8,349 patients across McLeod Family Medicine sites in Cheraw (Chesterfield County) and Manning (Clarendon County), 19 percent have diabetes and 58 percent have hypertension. Patients also face difficulty accessing care, as evidenced by the practices’ missed appointment rates. This in turn leads to downstream health problems.

Regular monitoring of hypertensive and diabetic patients is especially crucial. Yet, across the Cheraw and Manning Family Medicine practices, more than one in 10 diabetic patients do not receive adequate A1c  monitoring. Likewise, many hypertensive patients are not having their blood pressure monitored adequately — 37 percent have not received a documented blood pressure check within the last six months.

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