Local News

OSF HealthCare receives FCC grant for COVID-19 telehealth efforts

OSF has completed nearly 93,000 virtual visits since start of pandemic

PEORIA — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that OSF HealthCare is the recipient of $943,644 in grant money through Round 2 of its COVID-19 Telehealth Program. This funding is part of more than $41 million in grant money awarded recently by the FCC to health care agencies throughout the country to assist in providing telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic.

OSF has completed nearly 93,000 virtual visit encounters since the beginning of the pandemic, with many of these visits occurring in low-income, underserved and rural counties. The funding from the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program will allow that work to continue, specifically providing telehealth devices for video and telephonic connections between patients and providers, with a particular focus on the low-income and hardest-hit areas across the communities it serves.

“We are elated that OSF HealthCare is among the deserving health care agencies receiving this funding, and are extremely grateful our elected representatives recognize the important role telehealth platforms play in the COVID-19 era,” said David Hall, M.D., chief information officer, OSF HealthCare.

He continued, “Throughout the pandemic, OSF HealthCare has worked tirelessly to find innovative ways to provide care using telehealth technology. Our clinicians are using telehealth technologies to facilitate inpatient clinical care in our ICU’s, general floors and through our Hospital at Home services. We are also leveraging telehealth in the ambulatory space to provide remote care from our offices, and via our COVID-19 dedicated phone support. OSF’s mission is to serve all persons with the greatest care and love and OSF’s investment in technology gives us one more tool to facilitate this care no matter where a patient is located.”

The FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program was established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It has now provided help for health care providers in each state, territory and the District of Columbia to provide telehealth and connected care services to patients in their homes or mobile locations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The FCC has now approved a total of over $83 million in funding applications for Round 2 of its COVID-19 Telehealth Program. From community health clinics in urban city centers to hospitals serving rural communities across the country, these funds will support efforts to help our neighbors remain in the care of their doctors, nurses, physician assistants and trusted health care providers during this pandemic,” said Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “I’d like to thank the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau for their continued work on this critical program which continues to make an impact on the health and well-being of all Americans.”

Round 2 is a $249.95 million federal initiative that builds on the $200 million program established as part of the CARES Act. As outlined in the Round 2 Report and Order, once $150 million in funding has been committed, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau will announce an opportunity for all remaining applicants to supplement their applications, as required by Congress. After all remaining applicants have the opportunity to supplement, the remaining program funding will be committed.