U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) have secured a total of $2,077,152 in federal funding for seven Illinois healthcare providers. The money is targeted for telehealth services during the continuing COVID-19 health crisis.
The funding was secured through the Federal Communications Commission’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program. Congress appropriated the funding as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“The federal funding will allow more people to be treated remotely. In turn, that will free up space and thus reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Durbin said. “Telehealth services are a valuable resource during the pandemic. Senator Duckworth and I will keep working to improve our state’s access to the telehealth services.”
“Increasing the reach of the Illinois healthcare network is important for providing reliable care to more Illinoisans. This is especially true as we respond to the continuing COVID-19 health crisis,” Duckworth commented. “I’m proud to join Senator Durbin in securing these federal telehealth funds to help Illinois health providers serve their communities during this unprecedented time.”
Among the recipients, Legacy Medical Care, in Arlington Heights will receive $48,591 for telecommunications equipment, laptop computers, network upgrades, and videoconferencing equipment. In this way, health care providers in the state can engage patients during telehealth visits during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. This will allow for telephone-only consultation with patients.
Access Community Health Network, in Chicago, will also receive $130,401 for desktop computers, video monitors, a video telehealth platform, and telehealth equipment. This allows Access to expand the amount and types of telehealth visits offered to its patients for behavioral health and primary care services.
Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, in Chicago, will receive a hefty $1,000,000 to cover the costs of a telehealth platform, remote patient monitoring equipment, remote radiology workstations, thermal temperature screening system, and network upgrades to implement a telehealth platform. This supports outpatient services for both patients with or without COVID-19. It also maintains safe health practices in hospitals, and provides a means to diagnose medical problems remotely by reading medical images online.
Leyden Family Health Service and Mental Health Center, in Franklin Park, will receive just $1,468 for wireless data plans, phones, and videoconferencing software. This will allow Leyden to provide remote behavioral health treatment as well as prevent hospitalizations. This will free up hospitals to accommodate COVID-19 patients.
PCC Community Wellness Center, in Oak Park, will receive $393,575 for software licenses and telecommunications and videoconferencing equipment to launch and expand telehealth services during the COVID-19 health crisis. PCC Community Wellness has 12 health care sites providing behavioral health, primary care, and dental services to vulnerable and low-income populations using telehealth services.
PrimeCare West, in Chicago, will receive $260,517 for videoconferencing equipment and laptop computers to deliver health education, primary care, and behavioral health services to the underserved communities in Chicago.
Southern Illinois Hospital Services, in Carbondale, will receive $242,600 for a subscription to a telehealth platform to provide safe inpatient, outpatient, and emergency care remotely. This will allow people who are reluctant to physically travel for medical treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic to get the treatment they need.
The COVID-19 Telehealth Program will distribute $200 million in funding, appropriated by Congress as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
The purpose of the funding is to assist health care providers to render telehealth services to patients in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. The program fully funds the information services, telecommunications services, and devices needed to provide telehealth services until the program’s funds run out or the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.
The COVID-19 Telehealth Program is limited to nonprofit and public eligible health care providers that fall within the categories of health care providers in section 254(h)(7)(B) of the 1996 Act.