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Governor announces $3M in telehealth funding

Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 12:51 PM CST
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JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (WIBW) - Three million dollars in federal coronavirus relief funds have been allocated to community clinics for telehealth devices.

Governor Laura Kelly made the announcement Wednesday morning during a visit to the Konza Prairie Community Health Center in Junction City. She said the funds will increase access to telehealth statewide.

“Chronic disorders, like COPD, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, many of these patients live miles away from the nearest clinic.” Governor Laura Kelly says.

Funds were allocated to the Community Care Network of Kansas to help its federally funded community health centers increase access to care. Forty-four thousand devices have been purchased by 18 Community Care Network health centers.

“Ninety percent of the health center patients report incomes less than 200% of the federal poverty line,” Terri Kennedy, Director of the Health Center Controlled Network (HCCN) Program, said. “So when the pandemic hit we knew we needed to ensure access to healthcare for our patients.”

The devices, including blood pressure monitors, glucometers, pulse oximeters, thermometers, and scales are being distributed now. The technology will help more than 20,000 at-risk patients (and their doctors) monitor chronic conditions from home.

“While COVID-19 underscored the importance of increasing telehealth capabilities, growing these services will benefit Kansans long after the pandemic is over,” Governor Kelly said. “I’m pleased that Community Care has used these Coronavirus Relief Funds to bolster telehealth services and increase access to health care for all Kansas. My administration is committed to supporting these efforts now and into the future.”

Community Care health centers saw more than 80,000 patients with chronic disorders in 2019. Before, they would often travel frequently to clinics to monitor their conditions. That became increasingly difficult because of the pandemic.

“Our initial goal was to benefit 10,000 Kansans,” Denise Cyzman, Chief Executive Officer at Community Care, said. “Based on the blood pressure monitor order alone, 21,147 patients could benefit. ”

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