HHS awards $55 million to expand virtual health care in community health centers
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made it a happy Valentine’s Day for 29 health centers across the country when the agency awarded nearly $55 million in funding to improve virtual care.
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The awards, announced February 14 by the HHS Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), are designed to increase access and quality of health care for underserved populations through virtual care such as telehealth, remote patient monitoring, digital patient tools and health information. technological platforms.
The funding is part of more than $7.3 billion in U.S. bailout money that has been invested in community health centers over the past year to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19, the HHS said on its website.
“Virtual care has been a game-changer for patients, especially during the pandemic,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “This funding will help health centers leverage the latest technologies and innovations to expand access to quality primary care for underserved communities.”
Health centers in 13 states and Puerto Rico have received between $1.07 million and $2 million each to develop, implement, and evaluate innovative evidence-based strategies that accomplish the following:
- Optimize the use of virtual care to increase access and improve clinical quality for underserved communities and vulnerable populations.
- Can be adapted and scaled across health center program.
Since the start of the pandemic, health centers have mobilized to rapidly expand their use of virtual care to maintain access to essential primary care services. The number of virtual visits increased from 478,333 in 2019 to 28.5 million in 2020, according to HHS. The number of health centers offering virtual visits increased from 592 in 2019 to 1,362 in 2022.
HRSA-supported health centers, totaling more than 1,400, are being established to provide primary care to at-risk communities.
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“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. »
For the complete list of the 29 award-winning health centers, visit the HRSA website.
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