This notice announces the opportunity to apply for funding under the Telehealth Technology-Enabled Learning Program (TTELP). The purpose of this program is to connect specialists at academic medical centers with primary care providers (PCPs) in rural, frontier, and underserved populations providing evidence-based training and support to help them treat patients with complex conditions in their communities. TTELP recipients will develop learning community1 models that emphasize collaborative partnerships between such providers (i.e., telementoring2 models such as Project ECHO, ECHO-like models, distance learning, clinical decision support, and other emerging models in the field), to provide training and facilitate the dissemination of best practice specialty care to PCPs and care teams in rural, frontier, and underserved populations.
This cooperative agreement aligns with HRSA’s goals of fostering a health care workforce to address current and emerging needs, improving access to quality health services, achieving health equity3, and enhancing population health. The freely accessible tools and resources developed by the TTELP will enhance rural patients’ access to quality care using telehealth and innovative technology solutions. The TTELP will foster and support coordination of health services by encouraging the use of health care delivery models that utilize team-based approaches where each member practices at the full scope of their training.
The TTELP will also develop appropriate methodology to evaluate and identify outcomes associated with learning community model initiatives. The program’s objectives emphasize the following:
• identifying and expanding current and new learning community programs with a focus on one, or more, of the following diseases: infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, including COVID-19 “long haulers”4 or HIV/AIDS, mental health, substance use disorders (may include opioid use disorder), prenatal and maternal health, chronic diseases (such as heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, etc.), and pediatric care (including specialty care for children))
• developing freely accessible tools and resources to support learning community program’s planning and implementation
• identifying and addressing healthcare disparities for rural, frontier, and underserved populations
implementing cost-effective learning community programs to serve presented in rural populations
Specialists at the applicant, or hub, site must connect with PCPs in rural areas, or rural spoke sites, providing evidence-based training and support to help them treat patients with complex conditions in their rural communities. Applicants are encouraged to include populations that have historically suffered from poorer health outcomes and health disparities as compared to the rest of the rural population, when addressing health care needs via telehealth. Examples of these populations include, but are not limited to, racial and ethnic minorities, person/persons experiencing homelessness, pregnant women, disabled individuals, youth and adolescents, etc. The TTELP will assist health care organizations such as academic medical centers and other centers of excellence in the implementation of cost-effective learning community programs to serve rural and medically underserved areas and populations.
Eligible applicants shall be domestic public or private, non-profit or for-profit entities with demonstrated and established experience in utilizing telehealth technologies to serve rural underserved populations. Faith-based, community-based organizations, and federally recognized tribes and tribal organizations are eligible to apply.