The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) awarded $19 million in grants to 36 recipients to improve telehealth in rural and underserved communities. The largest awards of $3,250,000 each went to two academic medical centers (the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the Medical University of South Carolina) for the establishment of telehealth centers of excellence (COEs). The intent is that the COEs will assess strategies to use telehealth to improve health care in rural medically underserved areas, establish an evidence base for telehealth programs, serve as incubators to pilot new telehealth services and publish research on outcomes for telehealth.
Applicants for the Telehealth Technology-Enabled Learning Program were awarded $4,242,350 to build sustainable tele-mentoring programs and networks in rural and medically underserved communities. The purpose of the program is to connect specialists at academic medical centers with primary care providers in rural and other underserved areas to help treat patients with complex conditions, including long-haul COVID and substance use disorders. These awards will go to the American Academy of Pediatrics and eight academic and research institutions. Two national telehealth resource centers in Alaska and California each received $325,000 in grants, with twelve awards totaling $3,900,000 going to regional telehealth resource centers. The two national centers will provide expert resources on telehealth policy (including reimbursement, licensing and privacy) and telehealth technology. The regional resource centers will provide assistance to organizations providing telehealth services to patients, focusing on local community needs. Finally, eleven awards totaling $3,812,826 will be directed to the Evidence-Based Direct to Consumer Telehealth Network Program.