The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. was awarded $522,722 by the Federal Communications Commission for telehealth devices to expand outpatient telemedicine services, particularly for patients living on Rota and Tinian who would otherwise require air travel to access care, thereby reducing their exposure to COVID-19.
“CHCC continues to utilize telehealth/telemedicine to enhance and provide services for our patients in the CNMI, especially Tinian and Rota,” said CHCC chief executive officer Esther L. Muña. “This technology was helpful with our hospital operations during the initial months of the pandemic, and this award is greatly appreciated as we look to expand our offerings to better serve our patients.”
Since March 2020, a total of 276 visits were registered under telemedicine/telehealth.
CHCC plans to purchase laptops, tablets, and headsets with the award, allowing community health workers to work in the field while communicating with providers. Internet connectivity on Tinian and Rota are currently undergoing upgrades.
The devices are integral to patient care, establishing a reliable network connection to sustain patient-provider communications for expanded telemedicine services, including outpatient primary care, community health worker access, ultrasound, and optometry.
The FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program supports the efforts of healthcare 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. (CHCC)