St. Cloud Times

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith announced Tuesday the Federal Communications Commission awarded CentraCare Health Systems more than $230,000 for telehealth services.

The funding will be used to purchase telehealth equipment and software licenses to increase access to care and services, according to a press release.

“Americans have benefited from telehealth during the pandemic and have come to rely on it for access to care, especially in rural communities,” said Klobuchar in a statement. “This funding will help CentraCare Health System expand its services and meet the needs of its patients. I’ll continue pushing for resources to ensure Minnesotans in all parts of our state are able to access affordable, quality health care.”

“In Minnesota, we have seen how telehealth services have become a lifeline during this pandemic,” said Smith in a statement. “In communities across the state, access to telehealth has been a critically important way to ensure patients have access to health care services they can afford. This funding will go a long way towards advancing that effort.”

Last month, Klobuchar and Smith announced that the FCC granted Essentia Health in Duluth more than $981,200 to expand telehealth services.

In July of 2020, they joined a bipartisan group of 30 colleagues in a letter to Senate leadership calling for the expansion of access to telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries made during the coronavirus pandemic to be permanent.