News: HHS awards $15 million to support telehealth during COVID-19

CDI Strategies - Volume 14, Issue 21

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced in a press release that through the Health Resources and Services Administration, it has awarded $15 million to 159 organizations across five health workforce programs to increase telehealth capabilities.

These awards were funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in response to the increased need for telehealth visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. The money is noted as being designated to “train students, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, allied health, and other high-demand professionals in telehealth” and expand health platforms to replace or complement in-person care.

The hope of these awards is to enable more healthcare professionals to work on the frontlines of the pandemic and use telehealth for a broad range of care to keep both patients and workers safer.

While CMS has received criticism from providers for not giving full reimbursement for telehealth visits as previously promised, they have recently increased the number of services covered in audio-only telephone visits to include more services.

“Telehealth is a vital tool for our providers in delivering critical treatment to populations most seriously impacted by this pandemic,” the press release states. The HHS says that telehealth has opened up new possibilities to educate and clinically train health providers for connecting with patients when and where they need services.

Editor’s note: The HHS press release can be found here. Previous ACDIS coverage of telehealth reimbursements can be found here. ACDIS coverage of increase audio-only visits can be found here.

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