July 10, 2020

Wyden, Merkley: Two Oregon Healthcare Providers to Get Federal Aid for Telehealth Work During COVID-19

FCC grants totaling $1.14 million will help OCHIN in Portland, Community Health Centers of Benton and Linn Counties

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that OCHIN in Portland and Community Health Centers of Benton and Linn Counties will receive $1.14 million in federal funds to help provide telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Recent spikes in new COVID-19 cases around the country highlight the urgent need to support the use of technology tools such as telehealth that protect Oregonians and the health care heroes who care for them,” Wyden said. “I’m glad these medical providers have secured these federal resources, and I’ll keep fighting for comprehensive high-quality broadband that all Oregonians can count on to ensure they have dependable access to telehealth.”

“We still have a long fight ahead of us until we get to the other side of the coronavirus crisis. But luckily we have essential tools at our disposal to deliver Oregonians the critical care they need and keep our communities safe,” said Merkley. “Telehealth visits are one of those essential tools—and these grants will help put that service within reach for countless patients in Portland, and Benton and Linn Counties. I will continue to do everything I can to bring additional resources to other providers throughout our state.”

The funds from the Federal Communications Commission’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program will be distributed as follows: 

  • Community Health Centers of Benton and Linn Counties (Corvallis), $146,390 for laptop computers, remote monitoring devices, and a subscription to a remote specialist consultation service to provide virtual preventive care, screening, and treatment services and to maintain access to services and equipment for high-risk and vulnerable patients.
  • OCHIN (Portland), $1,000,000 for laptop computers, smartphones, mobile hotspots, remote monitoring devices, and videoconferencing software to enhance the emergency telehealth response for low-income and underserved patients served by 54 health care providers across 12 states through telehealth technical assistance, customized emergency workflows for virtual treatment of patients with and without COVID-19, procurement and configuration of connected devices and network design support, and virtual visit software installation. 

“COVID-19 has exposed the need for flexible health care delivery and accelerated our shift into telemedicine,” said Benton County Commissioner Xan Augerot, Liaison to the Community Health Centers of Benton & Linn Counties Board of Directors. “We greatly appreciate the support of Senators Wyden and Merkley in obtaining these funds, which will allow us to more effectively deliver preventive care to our most vulnerable rural residents.”