Essentia Health was recently awarded nearly $1 million of federal funds to continue providing high-quality care via telehealth.

The Federal Communications Commission gave $981,204 to Essentia to acquire remote monitoring devices, video charts with peripheral cameras, to increase broadband coverage at eight clinics and to purchase additional equipment.

“Everyone deserves timely access to high-quality, comprehensive health care, and this will help us continue doing just that,” Andrea Altmann, vice president of telecare/telehealth services for Essentia, said in a statement.

“More doctors and nurses will have the ability to reach and support our patients and their families all around the region without them having to leave their home.”

Telehealth is not for emergencies. It is a virtual way of caring for patients that eliminates transportation barriers, improves rural access and streamlines care options. Telehealth is especially convenient for patients who live in rural areas or underserved communities. Essentia said it saves time and money and, especially in the winter, is a safe alternative to driving through hazardous weather.

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Since March 2020, Essentia has conducted more than 588,000 virtual visits.

The FCC funding comes from a pool of nearly $42 million allocated by the federal government through the CARES Act.