WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressman Andy Harris, M.D., (all-Md.) announced the award of $515,449 for Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin, Maryland through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) COVID-19 Telehealth Program, which was established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This funding will be used for the purchase of a patient engagement telehealth platform. The hospital previously received a $50,000 award through the program to purchase a telehealth platform subscription and equipment.
“The ongoing pandemic has brought to light many of the existing disparities in access to high-quality health care in our system,” said Senator Cardin. “Through this federal telehealth investment, Atlantic General Hospital will be better equipped to meet the health needs of Marylanders both related and unrelated to COVID-19. I will continue to fight for federal investments to ensure that all Marylanders have access to high-quality, affordable care.”
“Telehealth plays a key role in expanding essential care to more Marylanders, and the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored this urgent need for remote services. This funding will improve care across the Eastern Shore now and we will continue fighting for dedicated federal resources to increase Marylanders’ access to affordable health care,” said Senator Van Hollen.
“As a physician, I understand the benefits provided by telehealth services, particularly for rural communities on the Eastern Shore,” said Congressman Harris. “I applaud the award of these funds and will continue to work to ensure rural access to quality health care.”
“The COVID-19 crisis has really brought telemedicine to the forefront of national discussions regarding appropriate access to healthcare services. Earlier on in the pandemic, Atlantic General Hospital launched video visit functionality that allows our health system’s primary care providers and specialists to conduct virtual appointments with their patients. This technology gives patients the option to avoid public spaces while receiving needed healthcare, but it will also help with addressing and eliminating the health disparities that continue to exist in our community. The grant funding through the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program will support our efforts to further expand mobile technology to meet those health equity goals,” said Julia Perrotta, Virtual Care Coordinator for Atlantic General Hospital and Health System. Atlantic General Hospital is a non-profit hospital serving residents and visitors on the Eastern Shore, including nearby Delaware and Virginia.
Through the new platform, providers will be able to provide acute care patient services on a mobile device including appointment preparation, education, discharge planning and family notification, and any post-appointment follow-up activities including transmitting prescriptions and test or lab results.
To date, 367 applications have received more than $128,000,000 in federal funding through this federal program. The delegation has announced previous awards through the program for CCI Health and Wellness Services, Johns Hopkins Health Systems, Anne Arundel Medical Center, Kennedy Krieger Institute, and Greater Baden Medical Services.