Cantwell Applauds $1.7 Million in COVID-19 Telehealth Awards to Washington State Healthcare Entities

Cantwell: “Telehealth has become the best way to protect the public during this crisis”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, applauded the announcement of more than $1.7 million in telehealth funding for four healthcare groups in Washington state. The funding comes from the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and was announced today by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

“COVID-19 has changed the healthcare delivery system, and many clinics throughout Washington state have transitioned to using telehealth as the first contact with patients. Telehealth has become an important way to protect the public during this crisis,” said Senator Cantwell.

The telehealth grants went out to the following entities:

  • $804,841 to the Community Health Association of Spokane for remote monitoring equipment, telemedicine cards, laptops, videoconferencing equipment, and network upgrades to treat COVID-19 patients who do not require hospitalization with telehealth.
  • $105,000 to Providence St. Joseph Health Consortium, in Renton, Washington, for a remote monitoring platform license that will help manage the care and treatment of up to 4,000 COVID-19 patients in six states.
  • $390,611 to Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital in Yakima for telemedicine carts, a telehealth platform, and other upgrades to use telehealth to reduce face-to-face medical interactions and limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • $421,748 to Comprehensive Healthcare in Yakima for telehealth technology including tablets, laptops, and videoconference equipment, as well as mobile hotspots and network upgrades.

Senator Cantwell is a strong proponent of telehealth and has long stressed the need for comprehensive broadband infrastructure to support telehealth. In January, she introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure that billions of dollars from a public auction of C-Band spectrum are invested to bridge the digital divide and enable next generation public safety services. At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing in May on the state of broadband infrastructure in America, Senator Cantwell emphasized the importance of telehealth healthcare services throughout the COVID-19 crisis. “Broadband activity can be a great equalizer in this country. But, if access is not there, then we can see right here and now during the COVID crisis the challenges to our education system, our healthcare system, and just basic contact with family and loved ones,” she said.

Today’s funding announcement follows prior CARES Act telehealth awards of almost $4 million to other healthcare entities in Washington state. These include over $1.86 million to Providence St. Joseph Health Consortium in Renton, $451,400 to Chehalis Clinic in Chehalis, $302,000 for Unity Care Northwest in Bellingham, $534,139 to Hilltop Regional Health Center in Tacoma, $392,770 to Country Doctor Community Health Centers in Seattle, $197,387 to Frontier Behavioral Health in Spokane, $177,945 to Yakima Neighborhood Health Services in Yakima, and $96,500 to Excelsior Youth Center in Spokane.