Washington D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced that Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC) in Bangor has received $1.2 million to expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of rural telehealth services. This competitive funding was provided through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Rural Telehealth Network Grant Program.
“Community health centers are the backbone of Maine’s rural health care system. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these medical providers are needed now more than ever,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “This important funding will assist Penobscot Community Health Care by expanding rural telemedicine services in the area to ensure that all residents remain safe and healthy amid this public health crisis.”
“We are absolutely thrilled and grateful for this generous support from HRSA,” said Penobscot Community Health Care President and CEO Lori Dwyer. “The parahealth program, based in Jackman, is groundbreaking in Maine and nationally and will ultimately provide this rural community with much greater access to high quality, emergent care. Across the country, rural communities are desperately in need of this access. This grant allows us to pioneer and provide an excellent model of care.”
This funding will assist PCHC with covering costs for the Critical Access Physician Extender Program in Jackman and the Critical Access Physician Consultation Pilot Program in Winterport to train paramedics to perform urgent care skills under the direction of an Emergency Department (ED) physician via telemedicine, respond to acute 911 calls with the local volunteer ambulance staff and provide in-home community paramedicine services, and pilot an ED physician consult program.
Senator Collins, the Chairman of the Aging Committee, and Senator King helped to secure more than $1 million in March, nearly $13 million in April, and nearly $4 million this month for Maine health centers to address screening and testing needs, acquire medical supplies, and boost telehealth capacity in response to this coronavirus pandemic.