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Americares Awards Over $400,000 in COVID-19 Telehealth Grants

  • June 10, 2021

Stamford, Conn. June 10, 2021 – Americares has awarded grants totaling over $400,000 to expand access to health services for the uninsured in communities hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 were awarded to six free and charitable clinics and two state associations representing safety net clinics to implement or sustain telehealth services—increasing access to care for thousands of low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients.

Americares, a health-focused relief and development organization, sought funding proposals from partner clinics and nonprofit organizations in the United States. The grants will provide health facilities across the country with the tools they need to implement or sustain virtual services. Telehealth services provide patients, many who have been disproportionally impacted by the virus, with the flexibility to attend appointments without having to miss work and lose income, coordinate childcare or find reliable transportation—barriers that often stand in the way of low-income patients and their health care.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, free and charitable clinics across the country quickly pivoted to telehealth to keep staff, volunteers and patients safe,” said Americares Vice President of U.S. Programs Edith Lee. “A year later, we see the added benefit of giving patients more ways to connect with providers and maintain their health. Telehealth will continue to play a key role in safety net clinics and Americares is committed to supporting them with the training, technical assistance and funding to expand access to quality care for the most vulnerable.”

Clinic staff at Moab Free Health Clinic in Moab, Utah, learn to use telehealth equipment during a training supported by Americares COVID-19 telehealth grant funding. Photo courtesy of Moab Free Health Clinic.
Clinic staff at Moab Free Health Clinic in Moab, Utah, learn to use telehealth equipment during a training supported by Americares COVID-19 telehealth grant funding. Photo courtesy of Moab Free Health Clinic.

A recent survey of the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics’ 1,400 members found that 67 percent of free and charitable clinics across the country quickly implemented telehealth services in response to the pandemic. Additional clinics were interested in providing the service, but did not have the funding, or the expertise, to launch a new system and train staff and volunteers in the midst of a crisis. Americares support includes funding to purchase equipment and subscriptions to telehealth platforms as well as guidance and support with telehealth policies and best practices.

The grant awards include:

  • $25,000 to Shepherd’s Clinic in Baltimore to implement video interpretation services during patient appointments to ensure that non-English speaking patients can actively engage in their care plan. The funds will also be used to support the translation of the clinic’s website into Spanish to better serve the clinic’s non-English speaking patients as well as to support a case manager who will provide resource navigation support via telehealth for non-English speaking patients.
  • $25,000 to Good News Health Clinic in Indianapolis to purchase upgraded equipment, a telehealth software subscription and offset the cost of a two-week telemedicine training course for clinic staff and volunteers. A portion of the funds were also used to train two staff members on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Diabetes Prevention Program, which will allow the clinic to provide its own online diabetes prevention program at no cost for patients.
  • $25,000 to People’s Health & Wellness Clinic in Barre City, Vt., to offset the cost of increasing staff time for those who will work directly with Americares technical advisors to develop telehealth policies and procedures and implement an improved telehealth program. A portion of the funds will be used to support the training of volunteers, staff and patients on telehealth use. At the same time, People’s Health & Wellness Clinic will use a portion of the funds to purchase blood pressure cuffs to give to hypertensive patients to support remote patient monitoring.
  • $48,217 to Moab Free Health Clinic in Moab, Utah, to support the expansion of the clinic’s specialty telehealth service offerings to add teleophthalmology and women’s health consultations. The funds will also be used to offset the cost of training for clinic providers and support the implementation of telehealth policies and procedures.
  • $48,300 to Community Volunteers in Medicine in West Chester, Penn., to purchase commercial broadband to bolster the clinic’s telehealth capabilities, as well as to offset the cost of training clinic volunteers in the efficient and effective use of telehealth methods.
  • $50,000 to Community Health Center of West Palm Beach in West Palm Beach, Fla., to cover the cost of telehealth software and registration platform as well as to hire additional staff to operate the telehealth program.
  • $98,235 to the Wisconsin Association of Free and Charitable Clinics to fund a new partnership between the association and the Illinois Association of Free and Charitable Clinics that will provide clinics in Wisconsin and Illinois with telehealth training and help-desk support, cover the cost of a telehealth platform and expand service offerings for patients.
  • $100,000 to Georgia Charitable Care Network to support a collaborative pilot project between Georgia Charitable Care Network, eight member clinics and The MAVEN Project, a telehealth nonprofit that supports primary care providers in delivering comprehensive care, to provide participating clinics with access to MAVEN’s specialty care telehealth services. The funds will also be used to support the publication of “Telehealth Best Practices in Free and Charity Clinic Settings,” a manual developed by Georgia Charitable Care Network, which will also be offered to free and charitable clinics across the country free of charge.

The grants, funded with generous support from Horizon Therapeutics, the UBS Optimus Foundation and other donors, are part of Americares global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has reached 34 countries, including the United States, with critically needed protective gear, training and emotional support for frontline health workers. Worldwide, Americares has delivered 496 tons of infection-control supplies including masks, gowns and disinfectants to combat the spread of the virus. In addition, Americares is training thousands of health workers in infection prevention and control, disaster preparedness and mental health and psychosocial support.

In the U.S., Americares is the largest nonprofit provider of medical aid to organizations serving low-income and uninsured patients. Americares provides medicine, supplies, education and training to a network of nearly 1,000 partner clinics nationwide. Americares U.S. Program helps partner clinics to increase capacity, provide comprehensive care, improve health outcomes and reduce costs for patients.

Americares also responds to more than 30 natural disasters and humanitarian crises worldwide each year, establishes long-term recovery projects and brings disaster preparedness programs to vulnerable communities. Since its founding more than 40 years ago, Americares has provided more than $19 billion in aid to 164 countries.