On Thursday, Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced that Mercy Foundation in Roseburg will receive over $375,000 from the Federal Communications Commission to expand telehealth services for rural schools.

Wyden said the pandemic has forced people to find different ways to deliver health care services safely and efficiently, including through broadband. Wyden said, “When I visited Mercy Medical in Roseburg last week, they made it clear to me that quality health care should be accessible to Oregon children no matter their family’s income or zip code”. Wyden said he is gratified to see the FCC funding this telehealth program to make that goal a reality for children in Douglas County.

Merkley said many aspects of life have gone online during the pandemic as officials worked to curb the spread of COVID-19. He said that has included health care providers as well. Merkley said, “I am pleased to see Mercy Foundation receive this important FCC award to invest back into their telehealth program”. Merkley said the continuation of the program will ensure families in Douglas County will have the access they need to critical health services and help expand much-needed care within rural schools.

The release said Mercy Foundation earned the grant to implement rural school-based telehealth clinics, providing direct access to primary care for school-aged children. The FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program supports the efforts of health care providers to continue serving their patients by providing reimbursement for telecommunications services, information services, and connected devices necessary to enable telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project is a collaborative partnership with Mercy Foundation, Mercy Medical Center, Cow Creek Indians Health and Wellness Center, and Evergreen Family Medicine to support the health and wellness of children and families including access to diabetes resources and ancillary services, according to Mercy Foundation President Lisa Platt.