Wyden, Merkley: Three Oregon Healthcare Providers to Get Federal Aid for Telehealth Work During COVID-19 Pandemic

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that OHSU, NARA Indian Health Clinic in Portland and Northwest Human Services in Salem will receive $760,103 in federal funds to help provide telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Technology tools like telehealth are proven assets that provide essential help to Oregon’s health care heroes and the Oregonians they care for,” Wyden said. “Because telehealth’s importance is magnified during the COVID-19 crisis when protocols include distancing, I am gratified these three Oregon medical providers have earned these federal resources. I’ll keep battling for comprehensive high-quality broadband so all Oregonians have reliable access to telehealth, and for all the funds so urgently needed throughout our state during this public health crisis.”

“Telehealth visits are an essential tool at our disposal to deliver the critical care Oregonians need while keeping the most vulnerable people in our communities and frontline health care workers safe,” said Merkley. “These grants will help put those invaluable telehealth services within reach for the many patients served by the NARA Indian Health Clinic, OHSU, and Northwest Human Services—and I will continue to do everything I can to secure additional resources for other providers throughout our state.”

The funds from the Federal Communications Commission’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program will be distributed as follows:

  • NARA Indian Health Clinic (Portland): $342,346 for smartphones, laptops, tablets, wireless data plans, and videoconferencing equipment and software licenses to maintain patient care by distributing connected devices to elders, families with children in need of care, patients with chronic health and mental health illness histories, and pregnant women so patients can stay connected with their health care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • OHSU: $372,757 for tablet computers, videoconferencing software, and telehealth platform subscriptions to reduce the prospect of COVID-19 exposure for patients and providers by allowing providers, even those in quarantine, to continue to provide patient care virtually, and to maintain remote treatment and diagnosis practices for low-risk COVID-19 patients to prevent them from spreading the virus to other patients and healthcare workers.
  • Northwest Human Services (Salem): $45,000 for desktop and laptop computers and videoconferencing equipment with which it can continue to provide primary care services to patients using telehealth capabilities and concentrate clinic resources on preparation, response, testing, and education around COVID-19.

“We are so grateful for this investment in NARA and for the support of Senators Wyden and Merkley,” said NARA CEO Jackie Mercer. “Through these resources we will be able to further our efforts to use telehealth technology for physical health, mental health and recovery with a large community outreach effort to those most vulnerable people who we serve.  This grant truly makes the difference for us, and we are extremely thankful.”