As many clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare providers were heavily affected by the first wave of COVID-19 in the United States, a bill was passed this spring to help out. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed on March 27, 2020, and it recognized telehealth as a vital tool due to the pandemic. Many healthcare providers were interested in the numbers of this massive relief act, so we’ve helped organize how these funds were allocated.
- More resources for rural utilities. The CARES Act gave $25 million to rural communities, who are an underserved part of the country, so they can deliver accessible telehealth services to their patients. Their limited infrastructure, which depends less on digital services and easy access to internet, needs the funds to improve their broadband and telemedicine services. As a result, they can better serve their communities and keep them safe.
- Increased funding to Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund. The CARES Act gave $27 billion overall and $180 million of it was directed to rural health services. Once again, they recognized that the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected those communities, so they could continue to ensure they invested in broadband access, hardware upgrades, and improved telehealth programs.
- Reorganized funding for the Health and Resource Services Administration’s Telehealth Resource Center (HRSA). This grant program was allocated $29 million per annum to help the program secure the resources for telehealth initiatives and access. This funding will be active through 2025.
- Money to launch a new telehealth program through the FCC. This organization will be given $200 million, and they will focus on improving overall broadband for health services and the capabilities of caregivers.
- Increased funding to the Department of Health and Human Services for Indian Health Services. Similar to rural communities, Indian reservations lack the proper resources for reliable broadband, which affects their ability to receive necessary telehealth services. These funds were allocated to help improve that and their poor living conditions as well.
Overall, the CARES Act was a step in the right direction for telehealth services to become a larger part of healthcare, which makes health services more accessible overall. Clinics should expect telemedicine to be a part of healthcare in the future and find their own ways to invest. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can improve your telehealth services, medical billing software, and billing revenue, the experts at Outsource Receivables Inc. can help you will all of those issues.