Telehealth Network Grant Program
HRSA-16-012 | Office of Rural Health Policy
Application Accepted: 02/08/2016 to 04/08/2016
Projected Award Date: 09/01/2016
Estimated Award Amount: N/A
This announcement solicits applications for the Telehealth Network Grant Program (TNGP). The primary objective of the TNGP as noted in Section 330I(d)(1) is to demonstrate how telehealth programs and networks can improve access to quality health care services in rural, frontier, and underserved communities. TNGP networks are used to: (a) expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of health care services; (b) improve and expand the training of health care providers; and/or (c) expand and improve the quality of health information available to health care providers, and patients and their families, for decision-making.
Networks proposed for this award must consist of at least two of the entities listed in Section III.1.b below. Applications are especially encouraged from networks that will demonstrate how telehealth can expand access to, coordinate and improve the quality of health care services through SBHCs, especially those which may also serve the broader community beyond normal school hours. SBHCs can facilitate expanding access to key health services in schools in rural high poverty areas (https://www.congress.gov/congressional-report/114th-congress/senate-report/74/1 ). As defined by the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (Section 2110(c) (42 U.S.C. 1397jj), a ‘school-based health center’ means a health clinic that— ‘‘(i) is located in or near a school facility of a school district or board or of an Indian tribe or tribal organization; (ii) is organized through school, community, and health provider relationships; (iii) is administered by a sponsoring facility; (iv) provides through health professionals primary health services to children in accordance with State and local law, including laws relating to licensure and certification; and (v) satisfies such other requirements as a State may establish for the operation of such a clinic. The term ‘sponsoring facility’ includes any of the following: (i) a hospital, (ii) a public health department, (iii) a community health center, (iv) a nonprofit health care agency, (v) a local educational agency or (vi) a program administered by the Indian Health Service or the Bureau of Indian Affairs or operated by an Indian tribe or a tribal organization.’’
Applicants must identify the clinical focus areas for their project and SBHCs are strongly encouraged to provide telehealth services for rural children that focus on: asthma, obesity reduction and prevention, behavioral health, diabetes, and oral health. These conditions were selected from a review of the literature on rural child health status, supported by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, which identified these as health disparity indicators where telehealth can be an effective way to provide service. According to the School-Based Health Alliance, these are conditions that health providers can positively impact within a school-based setting. (http://www.sbh4all.org/resources/core-competencies/ )
In each proposed clinical area, applicants should present data to demonstrate need and set a baseline for current health status for the target population to be served. Applicants should also describe how the use of telehealth technology may improve outcomes for the target population and set targets for that population in each identified clinical area. For example, to demonstrate expanding access to care, applicants would be expected to show how they improved access to health care services that would not reasonably have been available without the use of telehealth technologies. Upon award, applicants will be required to report data including encounters, services delivered, and health outcomes. In the course of establishing those data measures, those baseline measures and targets identified by applicants may be amended at the discretion of HRSA.
To further elaborate on the program’s statutory requirements, we seek innovative applications that meet new and emerging needs in a changing health care delivery system with a focus on value and improved health care outcomes. Awardees will take part in a broad program evaluation with common measures to assess across all grantees how the use of this technology affected health care outcomes. Upon award, recipients will be required to report on specific performance measures, such as: (a) types of telehealth network partner settings; (b) the number of encounters by specialty/service, by patient care setting (network facility), and by type of telemedicine encounter; (c) third party and grant reimbursement received for the encounters; (d) new services available in rural areas due to the grant; (e) patient and practitioner travel miles saved by each network facility; (f) number of Practitioner Referrals at each network facility.
Additional information on performance measure reporting will be made available to recipients after September 1, 2016.
 Natzke, B., Horner, L. (September 23, 2015). Environmental Scan of Programs and Policies Addressing Health Disparities Among Rural Children in Poverty. Retrieved from https://aspe.hhs.gov/pdf-report/environmental-scan-programs-and-policies-addressing-health-disparities-among-rural-children-poverty