Congressman Brian Higgins announced $98,435 in new federal funding to support telehealth expansion at Erie County Medical Center. The funding, approved by Congress, is distributed through the Federal Communication Commission’s COVID-19 telehealth program.
ECMC will use the federal grant to purchase laptop computers, tablets, videoconferencing technology and software. The new equipment will enhance virtual emergency department capabilities as well as telephone and video visits in multiple outpatient primary and specialty care departments.
“As we continue to experience this pandemic, the last thing we want to see is people forgoing medical advice due to fear or risk factors,” Higgins said. “Telehealth technology breaks through access barriers, providing an alternative avenue for patients to connect with a medical professional and get the care they need and deserve.”
Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., Ph.D., president and CEO of Erie County Medical Center Corp., said, “COVID-19 changed the way we communicate with each other and many of our patients became more comfortable with digital platforms to receive their care. ECMC is always looking at ways we can better serve patients at a time and place that is convenient for them at the lowest cost possible. We thank Congressman Higgins for helping us find better ways to care for our community by improving access and quality for patients.”
This award brings recent federal funding supporting telehealth expansion in Western New York to over $1.5 million. Other local awardees include: Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Elmwood Health Center, OLV Human Services and Spectrum Human Services.
The CARES Act, approved by Congress on March 27, included $200 million to support telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, the FCC announced the 13th round of awards. To date, $189.27 million in telehealth funding has been dispersed to 514 health care providers across the country.