Federal funds to help connect WNY patients & providers during coronavirus outbreak
Congressman Brian Higgins announced the award of $803,135 to in federal funding to provide telehealth services to Western New Yorkers during the coronavirus pandemic. The funding is distributed through the Federal Communication Commission’s COVID-19 telehealth program.
“Telehealth opens up a new avenue to expand access to health care for patients at a time when social distancing is recommended for the protection of public health,” Higgins said. “It provides an especially important option for those who may not be able to get to a doctor easily, those with preexisting conditions or compromised health, ensuring access to a health care professional is just a click away.”
Western New York received the following awards:
Elmwood Health Center, Buffalo: $128,789 for a remote patient monitoring platform, remote diagnostic and monitoring equipment, and tablets to provide telehealth video consultations and remote diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This grant will allow us to provide remote patient monitoring, so our health care professionals can see critical vital signs in real time, and intervene early to prevent further deterioration or hospitalization," said Rhonda Frederick, president and CEO of People Inc. "Caring for the patient in real time – it is another tool in our electronic tool box to care for our individuals. ...We have Telemed, virtual RN visits and now remote patient monitoring, we are very excited and thankful to Congressmember Higgins.”
Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center: $35,640 for laptop computers to use telehealth systems to provide a wide range of services in the areas of primary care, obstetrics and gynecology, and mental health, and to permit providers to communicate with patients in real time on symptoms, mental health issues and other medical conditions.
Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Sheila K. Kee said, “Our initial experience with providing telehealth services to primary care and behavioral health patients has been very encouraging and well received by our patients. We’re grateful to Congressman Higgins for his continued support and for the awarding of these federal funds, which will allow us to continue expanding telehealth availability for our patients and the community.”
OLV Human Services, Lackawanna: $174,840 to support the cost of connected devices and telemedicine solutions used to remotely treat COVID-19-vulnerable populations using video telehealth applications throughout Erie and Niagara counties.
Spectrum Human Services, Orchard Park: $463,866 for laptops and other connected devices to provide urgent medical care using telehealth resources to divert unnecessary hospital presentations and reserve hospital-based services for individuals who need heightened levels of care.
The CARES Act, approved by Congress on March 27, included $200 million to support technology to support telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic. To date, the FCC’s COVID-19 telehealth program has distributed $68.22 million in funding to 185 nonprofit and public health care providers across 38 states and Washington, D.C.