The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $6 million to the AAP to improve access to health care for vulnerable pediatric populations. The project will develop methods to increase access to telehealth services and improve the telehealth infrastructure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Telehealth already is an important tool to help physicians reach underserved areas and now is becoming even more vital to continuing care remotely to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The AAP’s project received an award from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA’s) Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), as part of a $20 million total award funded by the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) ACT. Awardees also include the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, Family Voices Inc., and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
These groups will use the funding to expand access to telehealth care to adolescents, children with special health care needs, children in rural and underserved areas, and pregnant women. Initiatives also include supporting telehealth for newborn screening systems and evidence-based early childhood home visiting, and training families to use virtual services.
The AAP’s role will include developing a model of care using telehealth and providing training and technical assistance.
“The AAP is delighted to continue its strong partnership with the MCHB,” said AAP CEO/Executive Vice President Mark Del Monte, J.D. “This new opportunity will expand access to quality care and programs to children who are often underserved.”
The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards and the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States Inc. also will receive funding to help physicians obtain multistate licensure.
“Our efforts today reduce burden on clinicians and improve the speed at which clinical sites will be able to provide additional telehealth services,” HRSA administrator Tom Engels said in a news release. “The dedicated work of these program recipients will help keep our nation’s families healthy and strong.”