On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded $495,820 to five organizations in Louisiana to increase telehealth capabilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nationally, $15 million was awarded to 159 organizations across five health workforce programs. These awards demonstrate the Trump Administration’s continued efforts and commitment to building a national telehealth infrastructure.
These awards are funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that President Trump signed into law on Friday, March 27, 2020. HRSA made awards to organizations based on their capacity to implement COVID-19 telehealth activities that train high demand professions across the health care team.
“This new funding from Congress will enable more heroic health professionals on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic to use telehealth for a broad range of care,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “President Trump has created historic opportunities to deliver care safely and effectively via telehealth during the pandemic, including through everyday tools like FaceTime and Skype, and we are committed to helping providers and patients, especially in vulnerable communities, maximize all of these new telehealth options.”
These investments will train students, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, allied health and other high-demand professionals in telehealth. This will enable these professionals to maximize telehealth for COVID-19 referrals for screening and testing, case management, outpatient care, and other essential care during the crisis.
Additionally, through increased telehealth capabilities from this funding, organizations will be able to maintain primary care services when clinics and medical facilities are not available, especially for COVID-19 positive, quarantined, elderly and other vulnerable populations.
“Telehealth is a vital tool for our providers in delivering critical treatment to populations most seriously impacted by this pandemic,” said HRSA Administrator Tom Engels. “As we look to build and prepare the future workforce, telehealth has opened up new possibilities to educate and clinically train health providers to connect with patients, when and where they need services.”
HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW) oversees the workforce programs that received awards today. Organizations from Louisiana received funding from one or more of the following five BHW programs:
- Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program
- Area Health Education Centers Program
- Centers of Excellence Program
- Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention – Veteran Nurses in Primary Care Training Program
- Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention – Registered Nurses in Primary Care Training Program