Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that Volunteers of America Oregon and Prism Health will receive $768,644 in federal funds to help provide telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The value of telehealth for Oregonians and the hard-working medical providers who care for them takes on even greater importance when COVID-19 protocols include distancing,” Wyden said. “I am glad these two Portland groups have earned these federal resources, and I will keep battling for all the funds so urgently needed throughout Oregon to help health care providers and their patients during the coronavirus crisis.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to rethink how we go about our daily lives, including something as simple as a doctor’s appointment,” said Merkley. “Setting up new telehealth systems is often expensive and burdensome, and it’s critical that our health providers have the resources they need to provide safe and effective care to all Oregonians. These grants are great news that will make a real difference in our state.”
The funds from the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau will be distributed as follows:
• Volunteers of America Oregon, $740,513 for a telehealth platform, laptop computers, videoconferencing equipment and software, network upgrades, and other software licenses to support health care providers who will be able to provide care from outpatient facilities or their home to diagnose and treat patients for substance use, mental health, and behavioral health issues using telehealth.
• Prism Health, $28,131 for video conferencing software licenses and equipment, laptop computers, and mobile hot spots to offer remote video consultations and nurse triage and visits conducted via telehealth for patients with COVID-19 symptoms.
“We are thrilled! These funds will be so supportive as we redesign how we deliver services to our vulnerable populations,” said Kay Toran, President and CEO, Volunteers of America Oregon. “Our need to increase the use and integration of technology into our service delivery is critical. The timing of this grant allows VOA Oregon to do so and continue to provide high-quality services during this pandemic.”
“Prism Health is deeply appreciative for the leadership of Senators Wyden and Merkley in securing these funds” said Tyler TerMeer, CEO of Cascade AIDS Project and Prism Health. “The grant enabled us to expand out tele-health presence and increase access to safe and culturally responsive primary and mental health care for the LGBTQ+ community and beyond in a time when it is desperately needed. Tele-health also increases the safety of our care providers and ensures that they are able to remain on the front lines to fight this epidemic.”