Community Health Center to Receive $2 Million to Increase Access to Health Care for Underserved Patients – Connecticut by the Numbers
The use of telemedicine by CHCs predates the pandemic. Last month, CHC and its Weitzman Institute celebrated ten years of Project ECHO sessions, producing more than 1,500 ECHO sessions for more than 7,500 providers in every state across the country, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Project ECHO, from the start, has used teleconferencing and case-based learning to expand access to specialist care for underserved patients by helping primary care teams manage cases that would otherwise be referred to specialists. . Thematic areas included Hepatitis C, HIV, Pain, Buprenorphine, LGBT Health, Complex Integrated Pediatrics, and COVID. Other topics are planned for later this year.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, health centers across the country have rapidly expanded their use of virtual care to maintain access to essential primary care services. They reported a significant growth in the number of virtual visits from 478,333 in 2019 to 28,550,608 in 2020, a remarkable increase of 6,000%, according to HRSA. In total, the number of health centers offering virtual visits increased from 592 in 2019 to 1,362 in 2022, an increase of 130%. These new awards will allow health centers to maintain an increased level of virtual care and identify and implement new digital strategies, officials said.
“Today’s awards will help ensure that new ways of delivering primary care reach the communities that need it most,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “Our funding will help health centers continue to expand their virtual work while maintaining vital in-person services in communities across the country. »
HRSA noted that the more than 1,400 HRSA-supported health centers in this country serve as the national source of primary care for our at-risk communities. They are community-based and patient-led organizations that provide affordable, accessible and high-quality medical, dental and behavioral health services to nearly 29 million patients each year.
By the end of January, all health centers had delivered more than 19.2 million doses of vaccine, 68% of them to patients belonging to racial or ethnic minorities. More than 90% of health center patients are individuals or families living at or below 200% federal poverty guidelines (about $55,000 per year for a family of four in most states) and about 62% are racial/ethnic minorities, according to data provided by the Department of Health and Human Services.
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