Wednesday, March 23
Cabell Huntington Hospital (CHH), a member of Mountain Health Network (MHN), has received $493,888 from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) COVID-19 Telehealth Program to expand telehealth services. The funding announcement was made by U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“Due to the nature of services provided by our hospitals and the regional coverage of 23 largely rural counties, telehealth and virtual care are essential to better serve the needs of individuals who cannot (or choose not to) travel for care,” said Kevin Yingling, RPh, MD, FACP, CEO, MHN and president, CHH and St. Mary’s Medical Center (SMMC). “We are extremely grateful to Sen. Manchin and Sen. Capito for their work to help us secure this important funding.”
The funds were awarded to purchase equipment and software, improve network security and expand telehealth services. These upgrades will aid in providing health care access for rural and underserved parts of the hospital’s service area and to address treatment hesitancy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Both Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center experienced a substantial increase in the utilization of telehealth services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many patients were unable to have full video and audio telehealth visits due to poor connectivity or equipment issues,” said Christy Franklin, MS, RN, CNRN, director of telehealth, MHN. “These funds will allow us to upgrade our technical infrastructure and enhance our ability to provide both COVID and non-COVID telehealth services to our patients.”
Funds will also be used to enhance telehealth services at SMMC and Pleasant Valley Hospital, which has a management agreement with MHN.