In order to bolster telehealth services in rural and underserved communities, the U.S Department of Health and Human Resources has announced several investments, totalling more than $19 million. This major initiative has been taken to expand telehealth innovation and quality nationwide. According to an official statement issued by the federal authority. Approximately $19 million will be distributed to 36 recipients. Moreover, the investment will be made in the following key telehealth programs:
As per details, HRSA has awarded approximately $4.28 million to 9 health organisations. That aims to build sustainable as well as effective telementoring networks and programs in the rural areas that lack access to standard medical care services. The major purpose behind this funding is to help professionals at academic medical centres in providing training and needed support to primary care providers. Who is serving in the rural, frontier, and other underserved areas. The training will enable them to treat patients with complex conditions ranging from long COVID to substance use disorders in their communities.
Telehealth Resource Centers (TRCs)
$4.55 million is being given to the 12 regional and 2 national Telehealth Resource Centers. Those are playing an active part in providing information, education, as well as assistance on telehealth to individuals and organizations that want to or are currently improving the patients’ lives by providing them remote basis healthcare services.
In the official statement, it has been said that each regional TRC will be responsible to offer a wide range of assistance based on the needs of the targeted local community. On the other hand, the two national TRCs will provide expert resources on telehealth policy (licencing, privacy as well as reimbursements) and telehealth technology (including integration with other systems, cybersecurity & equipment).
EB TNP Program
According to the Evidence-Based Direct to Consumer Telehealth Network Program (EB TNP), approximately $3.85 million is being awarded to the 11 organizations. They are responsible for increasing access to telehealth services and ensuring the effectiveness of the healthcare services for payers, providers and patients. This program is designed to expand access to health services in terms of primary, behavioural and acute healthcare.
Telehealth Centers of Excellence (COE) Program
$6.5 million is being reserved for the 2 organizations, which will assess the strategies for the telehealth services and ensure quality medical care in medically underserved areas. That has high poverty and struggles with the high chronic disease prevalence rate. The Telehealth COEs will be located in academic medical centers. They will serve as telehealth incubators to pilot new telehealth services, measure and track the outcomes of these innovative programs initiated to expand telehealth services in rural areas and publish telehealth research. The COEs will establish an evidence base for telehealth programs and a framework for future telehealth programs.
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, while talking about the rising trend of telehealth, said that: telehealth has become very important when it comes to providing convenient and sustained medical care to patients.He further explained the healthcare initiatives taken by the Biden-Harris Administration and said that: the allocated funding demonstrates the US government’s commitment to expanding access to quality healthcare services. Particularly in rural and underprivileged communities. In addition to this, he made it clear that he will continue to support such innovative solutions in future that will nourish the US healthcare system.
Additionally, HRSA Acting Administrator Diana Espinosa also expressed her views. She said that: telehealth is an indispensable tool to provide a timely medical assessment to the most vulnerable population. She added; by investing in telehealth, the government will succeed in expanding access to care and more importantly, It will drive innovation. That is crucial to building a proper clinical network, trusted resources as well as educational opportunities that will play an active part in advancing telehealth.
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