Northern Arizona Healthcare Awarded Almost $1M from the FCC to Support Virtual Care Program

Northern Arizona Healthcare (NAH) was recently awarded $969,884 from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to support its virtual care program, through the FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program. These funds reimburse expenses for services and equipment that are related to providing telehealth in response to COVID-19. NAH will use these funds to reimburse the implementation and first year costs of its virtual visit platform that launched on January 4, as well as its Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) platform and devices that launched in November.

NAH’s RPM program provides care to patients with COVID-19, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, hypertension, acute myocardial infarction and post-operative care. During the pandemic, virtual care has become a critical model for delivering state-of-the-art health services to NAH’s patient population, particularly those in remote, rural areas. It is projected that in three years, 25 to 30 percent of all NAH clinic visits across primary care and specialties will be delivered virtually. Over the next twelve months, NAH expects to provide virtual visits to over 50,000 unique patients.

“We’re thrilled to have received this financial award from the FCC to enhance the quality of care we provide,” said Josh Tinkle, NAH’s Chief Operating Officer. “We’ve had to adapt to future health care needs during the pandemic, and NAH’s Virtual Care has been important in serving our communities with telehealth options.”

The FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program supports the efforts of health care providers to continue serving their patients by providing reimbursement for telecommunications services, information services, and connected devices necessary to enable telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. The FCC approved an additional 68 applications for funding commitments totaling $42,702,383 for Round 2 of its COVID-19 Telehealth Program. This is the FCC’s fifth funding announcement of approved Round 2 applications, bringing the total to over $208 million awarded to health care providers across the country.

“The funding that NAH has received from the FCC is a huge win not only for the health system, but also for the communities we serve,” said Travis Boren, NAH’s Virtual Care Director. “The funds will support NAH’s ability to sustainably deliver care to patients who may be homebound, patients that may need to travel long distances to receive traditional in-person care, patients that have dependents that require special care arrangements, or simply those who cannot take time off from work to receive the care they need.”

NAH’s Virtual Care services have quickly integrated into the operations of hospitals, specialty departments, home health agencies, private physician offices and other healthcare venues. Northern Arizona Healthcare has embraced virtual care as part of the exceptional care it offers to the communities it serves. As the main health system in a region serving a vast expanse of rural communities, NAH is bridging the distance between patients and providers in new, exciting ways through virtual care.