Rural Healthcare Providers in Arkansas Receive Support to Implement Telehealth Services
LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Oct. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The COVID-19 pandemic and an increased usage of telehealth services has exposed the inadequate broadband coverage that many rural healthcare providers face. Centene, a leading multi-national healthcare company, has announced a collaboration with AT&T to offer healthcare providers access to FirstNet® – the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America's first responders and the extended public safety community. Arkansas Health & Wellness and Arkansas Total Care, as part of the Centene family, will be deploying this program to rural healthcare providers and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in Arkansas to expand access to telehealth services and enable them to better serve their patients.
Arkansas Health & Wellness and Arkansas Total Care healthcare providers, as part of the Centene family, join FirstNet as extended primary users - organizations and agencies that could be called on to support public safety during significant emergency response. From mitigation, remediation, clean-up and restoration to the provisioning of other services required during the time of an emergency or its aftermath, extended primary users includes public works, healthcare, essential government services, school security, transportation and utilities. Eligibility for extended primary user status is rigorously reviewed before service is approved to help ensure that FirstNet's unique capabilities remain dedicated to first responders and those who support them.
Access to high-speed broadband internet can be a limiting factor for healthcare providers and primary care physicians (PCPs) to effectively use telehealth to treat patients remotely or provide access to virtual specialists. At the same time, the upfront costs of telehealth equipment can create another barrier, especially when considering the financial impacts of COVID-19 on smaller healthcare providers. Through the program, Arkansas Health & Wellness and Arkansas Total Care will help rural providers and FQHCs integrate virtual care into their workflows with access to the FirstNet network and is also making equipment grants available to select practices to help cover their upfront investment costs. By addressing providers' connectivity and affordability challenges, the health plans hope this enables them to:
Arkansas Health & Wellness and Arkansas Total Care support Arkansas residents with government sponsored healthcare programs. Their efforts to address the social determinants of health reinforce their long-standing commitment to supporting the whole health of their communities, one person at a time.
FirstNet and the FirstNet logo are registered trademarks of the First Responder Network Authority.
About Arkansas Health & Wellness and Arkansas Total Care
About Centene Corporation
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SOURCE Arkansas Health & Wellness; Arkansas Total Care