California gets telehealth funding boost

15 community groups in California are getting a funding boost to support telehealth initiatives. UC Davis Health System and the California Telehealth Network (CTN) awarded nearly $5 million in grants to community groups throughout the state to help the implement telehealth projects. The awards were given through merit based process that required groups to show project plans and the potential impact of adding telehealth to their services.

The awards are part of a larger project through the US Department of Commerce’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. California is providing state matched funds in addition to those provided by the program from Commerce in order to create ehealth communities that will experiment with a variety of ehealth initiatives and craft best practices for other communities in the state to build on. Matching funds are provided by the California HealthCare Foundation, National Coalition for Health Integration, University of California and United Healthcare.

California currently has the nation’s largest telehealth network and is actively pursuing projects that will continue to build on and expand the network. Awardees will be given funds for telehealth equipment as well as the support of the California Telehealth Broadband network. This round of awards focuses in on vulnerable state populations including low-income individuals, people in rural areas and at-risk youth.

The majority of community organizations chosen fall under the umbrella of, “anchor institutions,” such as clinics, libraries or county public health departments. Typical award amounts were $300,000-500,000. The state hopes that the network will connect nearly 800 health care providers and anchor institutions statewide to provide telehealth access to the state’s underserved populations.

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