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Udall, Heinrich, Haaland Applaud FCC Telehealth Grant to Improve Remote Medicine Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) announced that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has awarded $376,621 to the First Choice Community Healthcare (FCCH) South Valley Family Health Commons in Albuquerque through the COVID-19 Telehealth Program.

The FCCH South Valley Family Health Commons plans to install network upgrades, telecommunications equipment, and telehealth and business software licenses that will allow for electronic patient registration, improved patient communication through a consolidated online platform, and the ability to provide video conferencing for patients and providers. 

“Community medical practices, especially First Choice Community Healthcare facilities, ensure that all New Mexicans are able to receive basic healthcare regardless of income or insurance status. It is critical that New Mexico clinics receive the infrastructure support they need to deliver critical telehealth services,” said Udall, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I will continue to fight for this essential federal funding so all New Mexicans can continue to access medical care amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“As we continue to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that community health services, like those offered through First Choice Community Healthcare, are provided the necessary funding and resources to continue their life-saving efforts,” said Heinrich. “That is why I am proud to support this funding, made possible through the CARES Act, to improve telehealth services for FCCH South Valley Health Commons and I will continue fighting for health care systems and providers across New Mexico.”

“Everyone deserves access to quality, lifesaving healthcare, but the need to physically distance during the pandemic has made healthcare less accessible. That’s why telehealth is so important and why we included telehealth funding in the CARES Act. As someone who struggled to piece together healthcare, I’m familiar with the affordable health care services First Choice Community Healthcare provides in the South Valley. This federal grant will make sure more New Mexico families will be able to access telehealth services and stay healthy during this public health emergency,” said Haaland.

The COVID-19 Telehealth Program is authorized by the CARES Act and has provided $128.23 million nationwide in funding to date out of a total allocation of $200 million. For more information on this program, please visit the FCC FAQ page.

First Choice Community Healthcare is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, community-based health center system that provides access to quality, patient-centered, comprehensive health care to all people who need it, regardless of ability to pay.