Published in Health Care

West Michigan care providers share $3 million grant to expand telemedicine services

BY Thursday, April 09, 2020 04:50am

More than 60 organizations that provide medical care received nearly $3 million in grants from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to expand telemedicine services.

The funding will help the organizations to implement telemedicine procedures, set up billing, train or add staff, educate patients, and acquire licenses and equipment needed to comply with federal privacy requirements.

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The Michigan Health Endowment Fund was supported in providing grants by the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation, the Metro Health Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation.

“Telehealth is a key strategy for expanding access to care, and we’ve supported this work for a number of years,” Health Fund Program Director Becky Cienki said in a statement. “The current urgency underscores this ongoing need, and our goal is for these projects to both spur immediate action and create lasting infrastructure for telehealth.”

Among the West Michigan organizations receiving grants and the amount were:

  • Arbor Circle, $50,000
  • Baldwin Family Health Care, $50,000
  • Care Resources, Grand Rapids, $49,909
  • Catherine’s Health Center, Grand Rapids, $50,000
  • Cherry Health, Grand Rapids, $50,000
  • Common Ground, Grand Rapids, $47,500
  • Exalta Health, Grand Rapids, $50,000
  • Hackley Community Care Center, Muskegon, $50,000
  • Hope Network, Grand Rapids, $50,000
  • InterCare Community Health Network, Holland, $50,000
  • Lakeland Immediate Care Center, St. Joseph, $50,000
  • Northwest Michigan Health Services Inc., Shelby, $50,000
  • PACE of Southwest Michigan, St. Joseph, $48,600
  • Reliance Community Care Partners, Grand Rapids, $47,200
  • Senior Resources of West Michigan, Norton Shores, $50,000

As MiBiz recently reported, the use of telemedicine surged during the coronavirus pandemic and has been extending beyond primary care virtual visits.

Forest View Hospital in Grand Rapids this week said it launched a telehealth day program in West Michigan that allows psychiatric patients in need of an intensive program to access treatment from home. The Forest View service includes group sessions on topics such as medication education, anger management, and substance use and coping skills.

“This program provides crucial access to patients who are not in need of inpatient treatment but would greatly benefit from intensive therapy provided in a partial hospitalization setting,” Interim CEO Kristin Mecklenburg said in a statement. “Forest View Hospital continues to monitor the needs of our community and has worked to ensure that patients are receiving the appropriate clinical level of treatment during this unprecedented time.”

Telehealth technology also has enabled care providers such as physical therapists to continue treating patients during the pandemic through video conferencing. That includes providers at The Center for Physical Rehabilitation and Therapy in Grand Rapids, and Generation Care, Northern Physical Therapy and Grand River Physical Therapy in West Michigan that are part of the White Plains, N.Y.-based Ivy Rehab Network.

“Telehealth video conferencing technology allows us to avoid disrupting the prescribed treatment of care, which keeps our patients on the path to healing,” Chris Nawrocki, CEO at The Center for Physical Rehabilitation and Therapy, said in a statement this week. 

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