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.”
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:
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.