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Hawai‘i Set To Receive $1.6 Million To Support Rural Hospitals, Expand Telehealth Capacity During Pandemic

HONOLULU – Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) announced that Hawai‘i will receive $1,671,741 in new federal funding to help the state respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in rural and underserved communities. This funding, awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will provide critical resources to rural hospitals as well support expanded use of telehealth services across the state.

“We need to make sure people get the care they need during this public health crisis,” said Senator Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This new federal funding will expand access to much-needed health services, especially in our rural communities.”

The Hawai‘i Department of Health will receive a $843,170 federal grant to help rural hospitals purchase more personal protective equipment, boost testing capacity, and fund other critical functions. The Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center at the University of Hawai‘i will receive a $828,571 federal grant to provide expertise and customized telehealth technical assistance to health care providers across the state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has encouraged the use of telehealth during the coronavirus outbreak to expand access to care while minimizing the risk of transmitting the virus. The coronavirus response legislation has included multiple Schatz provisions to increase access to telehealth services during the current public health emergency. This has allowed more patients to receive care at home, while freeing up health resources and limiting the spread of infections in emergency rooms and hospitals.