Posted: January 19, 2022
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has become an invaluable service to at-risk patients and those who live in rural areas. In having access to telehealth, these patients can avoid unnecessary travel and potential exposure to COVID-19.
Many providers who are part of larger healthcare networks already had access to telehealth services and have been able to implement virtual visits with limited expense. However, for smaller independent providers or providers located in rural areas, the implementation of telehealth has been more challenging. Luckily, there are grant and special funding programs that may be able to help providers offset some of the expense of offering telehealth services.
The HRSA has created several grant programs to promote and advance telehealth services in rural areas. Here are some of the grant programs available through the HRSA.
This grant helps provide support for providers needing licensure in additional states in order to make telehealth more accessible to their patients. The program is set to run through June 2024.
This grant program leverages telehealth networks to improve services for underserved patients in urban, rural and frontier communities. The program expands access, coordination and quality of health care services, training of health care providers, and quality of health information. The TNGP helps networks provide 24-hour emergency department consultation services for providers who do not have access to emergency care specialists. The program will continue through August 2024.
There are two types of Telehealth Resource Center Programs to assist providers with the technical issues that may arise with telehealth technology. First, there are two National Telehealth Resource Programs that focus on policy and technology. Second, there are twelve Regional Telehealth Resource Programs that provide resources for rural and underserved areas.
The HRSA Telehealth Resource Centers can also help providers with training and support, publicizing information and research findings, collaborations and partnerships, promoting effective partnerships, and providing health care information and education to the public and medical specialists.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) created a grant program to provide $500 million in funding for the expansion of access to COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, rural health services, and food assistance. The program has two tracks – one for immediate economic relief related to the COVID-19 public health emergency and another for advancing solutions to challenges and supporting long-term sustainability for rural health care.
Under track one, recipients may use grant funding to increase telehealth capabilities including telehealth information systems. Public bodies, community-based non-profits and federally recognized tribes are eligible to apply for the program. In order to qualify for funding, applicants must have facilities located in and primarily serve rural areas with no more than 20,000 residents as determined by the most recent US Census data.
Interested in learning more about telehealth grants and funding? Contact us today to find out how Let’s Talk Interactive can help you implement these grant programs to start or expand your telehealth practice.