Written by Wendy Liberatore in the Times Union on May 26, 2020

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has awarded $61,515 to improve telehealth for Saratoga Hospital Consortium. The funds, whom U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko and Elise Stefanik helped to secure, will improve remote diagnosis and provide monitoring and other telehealth equipment to treat patients with COVID-19. The money will also go toward expanding telehealth to other patients with symptoms of COVID-19.

“This crisis has shined a spotlight on both the successes and failures of the FCC in making sure the American people have the broadband access they need to get by during this crisis,” Congressman Tonko said. “I am gratified that FCC is taking seriously their responsibility to help Upstate New York health care providers overcome poor quality broadband service and the many problems it causes. Now more than ever, patients need to have access to telemedicine that keeps them safe and healthy.”

Stefanik said the funding is critical to ensuring patient access.

“Non-COVD-19 related health concerns should not be ignored during this challenging time, and improving telehealth capabilities will ensure patients can continue to keep doctors updated on any concerns they have with their health,” Stefanik said. “I appreciate the FCC taking our concerns seriously – this federal support is crucial for the Saratoga Hospital Consortium.”

Saratoga Hospital CEO and President Angelo Calbone said telemedicine has become a primary connection between patient and doctor.

“Unfortunately, anyone who doesn’t have access to internet services and equipment can’t participate,” Calbone said. “Sometimes, a video visit can’t provide enough clinical information about a patient’s current status for those with chronic or serious conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. This grant enables us to pilot a Facilitated Telemedicine program that will provide essential medical care to these underserved populations without having to leave their homes.”

This round of funding marks the seventh provided through the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The program, authorized by the CARES Act, has approved funding for 132 health care providers in 33 states as well as Washington, DC, for more than $50 million in funding.

You can read the full article at https://blog.timesunion.com/