Healthcare News

How the Government is Supporting Telehealth for FQHCs

By April 27, 2021 No Comments
FQHC Telehealth

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, efforts to promote social distancing have swept the nation.  From telework to online learning, the world has become increasingly remote in order to slow the transmission of the virus.

One of the most prominent trends in the United States has been a shift from in-person healthcare to digital healthcare.  According to JAMA, in-person visits to a doctor’s office dropped by 52% in April 2020 while telemedicine grew by over 4000% that month, and the trend toward remote care still remains strong in 2021.  Furthermore, one recent independent study found that an overwhelming 92% of clinicians and pediatricians think telemedicine will still play a large role in health practices long after the pandemic ends.

What does this mean for nonprofits like Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) that provide healthcare for underserved areas and populations?  For individuals who have limited means of transportation or live in rural areas, remote doctor visits are a game-changer.  This is why the government is currently taking strides to ensure federally funded organizations like these don’t get left in the dust when it comes to telehealth.  

Back in December of 2020, Congress authorized additional funds to help support telehealth services provided by FQHCs and other public healthcare organizations during the pandemic.  This followed in the footsteps of their initial efforts to support telehealth, which ended back in June 2020 and provided up to $1 million per application to help support pandemic-related telehealth services. 

Named “Round 2” of the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program, this new opportunity also provides up to $1 million per application.  This time around, an additional $250 million is being allocated to help build the telehealth infrastructure at organizations like FQHCs.  This money is intended to promote the efforts of providers to enhance or establish information services, telecommunication services, and devices used in telehealth.

How to Acquire Telehealth Federal Funding

If you work for a nonprofit or public healthcare organization and would like to apply for this grant, the filing window is a narrow one.  According to the FCC, all applications must be received between 12PM EST on Thursday, April 29nd and 12PM EST on Thursday, May 6th.

All providers must complete two registration requirements before an application is submitted:

Once these requirements are complete, visit the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program page for more details about how to complete the application process.

How DocResponse Helps FQHCs’ Efforts to Promote Telehealth

DocResponse has a long-standing history with nonprofit organizations like FQHCs in order to help them reach their goals.  Community Care of West Virginia, for example, has driven their data-reporting with DocResponse’s digital check-in solution, capturing all standard check-in information, as well as:

  • UDS demographics
  • Scored screeners
  • Social determinants of health (SDOH)
  • In-house pharmacy opt-in

In another success story, Desert Sage Health Center has been able to efficiently streamline their COVID-19 testing and vaccine appointments with DocResponse’s online appointment scheduling button, conveniently tied to athenahealth and located on the front page of their website for easy access.

DocResponse’s single-click, app download-free telehealth solution is also a popular option for FQHCs.  It is specifically designed for any demographic to easily use, with simple-to-understand vocabulary and the option to include an interpreter as a third participant during a telehealth session.  This makes the experience a stress-free one for patients with English as a second language or limited reading comprehension.

If you are considering applying for this latest round of assistance to improve your telehealth infrastructure, the time to act is now.  Remember the deadline to apply is May 6th.  DocResponse’s telehealth software qualifies you for this program and is easily integrated into practices of any size, allowing you to be up and running in no time through the support of in-house developers and a dedicated CSM.

Schedule a demo today to learn more about how DocResponse will support you in your efforts to maximize telehealth services at your practice during COVID-19 and beyond.  Telehealth is here to stay, and we’re here to help you during your transition into remote healthcare!