Submitted by Senator Maria Cantwell

Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, announced $602,885 in new telehealth funds coming to healthcare providers in Tacoma. The funding comes from the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and was issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

“COVID-19 has changed the healthcare delivery system, and many clinics throughout Washington state have transitioned to using telehealth as the first contact with patients. Telehealth has become an important way to protect the public during this crisis,” said Senator Cantwell.

The telehealth grants went out to the following Tacoma entities:

  • $269,104 to Comprehensive Mental Health Center, for laptop computers, a videoconference license, and network upgrades to increase access to mental health services for individuals in Pierce County by increasing the use of technology and software licensing for robust and reliable access to telehealth.
  • $333,781 for MultiCare Medical Associates, for telemedicine carts, tablets, remote monitoring devices, and videoconferencing equipment and software. This technology will help providers serve patients whose care has been delayed due to COVID-19 and monitor patients’ vital signs through virtual visits. Tablets will be mounted onto wheeled stands with speaker and power attachments to be used as scalable inpatient telemedicine hardware for services including family virtual visitation, virtual rounding, and consultations.

Senator Cantwell is a strong proponent of telehealth and has long stressed the need for comprehensive broadband infrastructure to support telehealth. In January, she introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure that billions of dollars from a public auction of C-Band spectrum are invested to bridge the digital divide and enable next-generation public safety services. At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing in May on the state of broadband infrastructure in America, Senator Cantwell emphasized the importance of telehealth healthcare services throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Broadband activity can be a great equalizer in this country. But, if access is not there, then we can see right here and now during the COVID crisis the challenges to our education system, our healthcare system, and just basic contact with family and loved ones,” she said.

This latest funding announcement follows prior CARES Act telehealth awards of more than $6.2 million to healthcare entities throughout Washington state.

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