October 22, 2021

Manchin, Capito Announce $457K For Telehealth Program At Minnie Hamilton Health System

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $457,568 from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to support the telehealth program at Minnie Hamilton Health System. This funding will be used to purchase equipment and software to improve internet access, voice service, network capacity and the quality of telehealth communications. Earlier this year, the Senators introduced legislation to make the current audio-only telehealth flexibilities permanent to ensure rural and underserved community providers are able to continue offering audio-only telehealth services after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic showcased the importance of affordable, reliable broadband access – especially for West Virginia healthcare providers and patients who rely on telehealth for vital medical services. The FCC’s COVID-19 telehealth program continues to provide critical relief to healthcare providers across the Mountain State, and I successfully fought to include a second round of funding in the year-end spending package and urged the FCC to prioritize small, rural providers. I’m also fighting to make Medicare and Medicaid audio-only reimbursements permanent to ensure rural West Virginians and providers have access to the care they need and deserve,” said Senator Manchin. “I am thrilled FCC is investing in the Minnie Hamilton Health System to support their telehealth program, and I will continue to advocate for telehealth programs across West Virginia.”

“Access to telehealth services and compatible technology is essential to the future of health care in West Virginia,” Senator Capito said. “There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for these critical services, particularly in our more rural areas that face logistical challenges and unreliable internet access. That is why I have advocated for a permanent expansion of the telehealth services made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I have also introduced legislation that incentivizes rural states and states that still significantly lack access to broadband to provide telehealth services for their Medicaid populations. I’m thrilled to see Minnie Hamilton receiving this support as a result of our efforts, and I will continue to advocate for the resources we need to further connect our communities with lifesaving telehealth resources.”

“Minnie Hamilton Health System is very appreciative of Senator Manchin and Senator Capito’s support of the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program project that was recently awarded to our community health center. Due to the assistance and guidance of the West Virginia Primary Care Association and the Senators offices, we now have additional resources to serve our patients via telehealth,” Brent Barr, CIO of Minnie Hamilton Health System, said. “The funding will support our mission of improving the health quality of life through innovation by providing our patients convenient access to providers and specialist without having to drive hours to larger cities.”