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Another telehealth grant in the pipeline — this for Family Health Center

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Health Department is seeking a grant award of more than $150,000 from the US Federal Communications Commission’s COVID-19 Telehealth Funding program for the Tafuna Family Health Center.

The health center’s executive director, Elizabeth Ponausuia, submitted the funding request on May 6th, according to FCC public records.

According to the DoH application, Tafuna Family Health Center provides primary, dental, women's health, pharmacy, and pediatric outpatient services. Additionally, there is are Alternate Care Sites (ACS) for quarantine and isolation for patients identified or suspected of COVID-19.

“Should there be a COVID-19 outbreak telehealth services to continue care both at the Health Center, the ACS and off site will be vital,” the application states and requested total funding of $187,700 for broadband, internet connection, local loop, mobile wifi, mobile wifi devices, tablets, and cell phones

The application explained that the devices would be used to do virtual patient consultations, follow ups and other telehealth applications. The devices will be used by both the providers and the patients enabling continuity of services maintaining safe physical distancing and other precautionary measures.

“The devices will be used to prevent transmission of COVID by providing the means to have contactless visits,” the application states.

Last week LBJ Medical Center submitted three separate applications, requesting total grant funding of $334,510  to — among other things — support telehealth service with off island medical personnel. (See Samoa News online yesterday for details.)

According to FCC, the COVID-19 Telehealth — funded under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act — provides immediate support to eligible health care providers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by fully funding their telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to provide critical connected care services.