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Kaiser Permanente has donated a total of $143,000 to four safety net organizations that aim to expand virtual care to low-income and unhoused communities across Hawaii.  

The organization did so through the Virtual Care Innovation Network, a Kaiser Permanente-founded collaboration that aims to solve challenges associated with telehealth’s implementation and sustainability.  

“Virtual care has the potential to dramatically enhance access to high-quality care for underserved populations across our state,” said Dr. John Yang, president and medical director for the Hawaii Permanente Medical Group, in a statement.   

WHY IT MATTERS  

Telehealth can play a particularly impactful role in Hawaii, where many of the residents would have to board a plane to access specialty care.  

According to the organization, Kaiser will award $57,000 each to the Community Clinic of Maui, buy cheap proscar from india without prescription in Wailuku, and the Honolulu-based Hawai’i Health and Harm Reduction Center.  

Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services, also in Honolulu, will receive $12,000, and the West Hawaii Community Health Center, based in Kailua-Kona, will receive $17,000.  

“We deeply appreciate the work of these safety net organizations to bridge this need in our communities and help achieve health equity for the people of Hawaii,” said Yang.

The money is part of $2.37 million total given to 59 safety net organizations across Kaiser Permanente’s footprint, aimed toward expanding virtual care access in vulnerable communities.  

“The Virtual Care Innovation Network funding has helped our health centers in Hawaii expand access to virtual care through homeless outreach programs and also street medicine programs,” said Robert Hirokawa, chief executive officer of the Hawaii Primary Care Association, in a statement.  

THE LARGER TREND  

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, told HIMSS TV earlier this summer that telemedicine is vital for any region with medically fragile individuals who may have trouble reaching in-person care.  

“It’s extraordinarily important for a couple reasons,” he said. “You may live on Hawaii island and the expert is on Oahu … or in New York City. And this gives you access to the best physicians on the planet.”  

Policymakers have also flagged the importance of centering the needs of at-risk populations in expanding access to telehealth, noting that both rural and urban people could be left behind in the virtual care revolution.  

ON THE RECORD  

“The grant has helped health centers bring care to their patient’s doorstep, thus reducing barriers to access and addressing digital equity for vulnerable patients,” said Hirokawa about Kaiser Permanente’s donation.

 

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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