Erin McCann, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications
PORTLAND, Maine – MaineHealth is pleased to announce it is the recipient of telehealth funds through the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Telehealth Program that will further enable the health system to provide exceptional telehealth care to patients across Maine and New Hampshire.
On June 24, the FCC awarded MaineHealth $803,268 for costs associated with rapidly expanding the health system’s telehealth infrastructure and technology in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Approximately $200,000 of the funds will be used to purchase new high-end telehealth carts and videoconferencing equipment that will enable patients to see providers from the comfort of their own home or video visit with family members they cannot otherwise see due to COVID-19 visitor restrictions.
Expanding these critical telehealth services has enabled MaineHealth to provide essential care to 25,000 unique patients who have been able to receive care even when many provider offices were closed. In 2019, MaineHealth conducted close to 15,000 telehealth visits. Since the coronavirus pandemic started this year, the health system has already conducted nearly 53,000 total patient visits, which include office visits, mental health counseling and preventative health screenings.
To date, patient satisfaction for individuals who have utilized telehealth services across MaineHealth has also been overwhelmingly positive.
“We are incredibly grateful to the FCC to be receiving these telehealth funds. This funding helps give our patient communities the opportunity for more convenient access to high-quality care where and when they need it,” said MaineHealth Director of Telehealth Jasmine Bishop. “Given Maine and New Hampshire’s more rural geography and older age demographic, these telehealth services are critical and enable our providers to continue delivering care to our patients who need it the most. This funding will also make it possible for our health system to give our patients in more rural areas easier access to specialists and provider expertise, without having to travel long distances for care.”
The funding MaineHealth received is part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, which allocated $200 million to supporting health care providers’ use of telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic. To date, 444 health care providers and organizations have received funding.
“Expanding our telehealth program has enabled us to provide an innovative and convenient way of delivering high-quality care to our patient communities in a very challenging environment,” said Bishop. “This federal funding allows us to continue doing this important work and provide these benefits to a greater number of patients.”
Telehealth services at MaineHealth from March 18-June 23:
- 55,626 completed video visits
- 60,788 telephone visits
- More than 1,000 providers using telehealth
- 25,000 unique patients served
For more information on MaineHealth’s telehealth program, please visit our telehealth website here.