UPMC Pinnacle awarded FCC funding for telehealth services

Ioannis Pashakis//July 6, 2020

UPMC Pinnacle awarded FCC funding for telehealth services

Ioannis Pashakis//July 6, 2020

UPMC Pinnacle was awarded more than $705,000 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to enhance telehealth services at its hospitals.

The Harrisburg-based UPMC will use the money for tablets, desktop computers, telemedicine carts and videoconferencing equipment to help improve communication between patients and their providers across the system’s facilities, the FCC announced.

The funds will also help the system launch an on-demand, virtual telehealth program to help triage, diagnose and treat COVID-19 patients and allow high-risk patients to stay at home, receive care and reduce exposure to health care workers and other patients, according to the FCC.

UPMC Pinnacle already offers video conferencing for COVID-19 patients and has grown its telehealth services exponentially since the beginning of the pandemic.

Within a week of increasing its focus on telemedicine, UPMC Pinnacle reported that it trained more than 650 ambulatory health providers and specialists to use its telehealth program.

The grant is part of a $200 million pool set aside for the FCC by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, approved by Congress in late March.

“The program provides immediate support to eligible health care providers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by fully funding their telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to provide critical connected care services until the program’s funds have been expended or the COVID-19 pandemic has ended,” the FCC statement.

UPMC Pinnacle is one of 514 organizations to receive awards through the department’s COVID-19 Telehealth program, which has already awarded $189.27 million in funding to health care providers across the country.

The FCC also awarded more than $499,000 to Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, which is set to use the funds for videoconferencing equipment, software, tablets and network upgrades.