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Office for the Advancement of Telehealth

Telehealth has expanded since the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. It can help improve health care for people living in urban and rural areas. Telehealth can help increase access to different types of care like behavioral health or primary care.

The Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (OAT) promotes telehealth as a way to deliver health care. OAT supports the Department of Health & Human Services’ telehealth efforts to expand access and improve health outcomes. OAT also funds grant programs to expand and advance telehealth.

Telehealth is defined as the use of electronic information and telecommunication technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, health administration and public health.

OAT supports the Telehealth.hhs.gov website. This website shares information about telehealth with both patients and medical providers. Patients can learn about different types of telehealth, how to use telehealth, and more! Medical providers can find how to start a telehealth program and learn about licensure, billing and best practices.

Active Programs

Telehealth Network Grant Program (TNGP)

Program Cycle: 9/1/2020 – 8/31/2024

This program aims to use telehealth networks to improve healthcare services for medically underserved people.  Programs are in urban, rural, and frontier communities. The networks can:

  • Expand access to and improve the quality of health care services
  • Improve and expand the training of medical providers
  • Expand and improve the quality of health information available to medical providers and patients.

The current TNGP cycle promotes rural Tele-emergency services through telehealth networks. This program seeks to deliver 24-hour Emergency Department consultation services using telehealth for rural providers without emergency care specialists.

Contact Information: Carlos Mena, 301-443-3198

Evidence-Based Tele-Behavioral Health Network Program (EB THNP)

Fiscal Year 2018 Program Cycle: 9/1/2018 – 8/31/2021
Fiscal Year 2021 Program Cycle: 9/1/2021 – 08/31/2026

This program aims to use telehealth networks to:

  • Increase access to health care services in rural and frontier communities
  • Evaluate programs to establish an evidence-base for assessing the effectiveness of telehealth

The 2018 EB THNP focuses on two clinical tele-behavioral health areas: mental health and substance abuse. 

The 2021 EB THNP will focus on direct-to-consumer telehealth.  It will use direct-to-consumer telehealth to address three clinical areas: primary care, behavioral health care and acute care.

Contact: Whitney Wiggins, 301-443-4966

Telehealth Technology-Enabled Learning Program (TTELP)

Program Cycle: 9/30/2021 – 9/29/2026

This program aims to connect specialists at academic medical centers with primary care providers in rural and underserved areas. It will provide evidence-based training and support to help providers treat patients with complex conditions in their communities. The TTELP will create and teach models of professional education and support that can be adapted for diverse populations.

Contact Information: Melody Williams, Phone: 301-287-2616

Telehealth Centers of Excellence (COE)

Program Cycle: 9/30/2021 – 9/29/2026

This program aims to assess specific telehealth uses and services to improve health care in rural areas. The Telehealth COEs are two public academic medical centers that:

  • Have a successful telehealth program with a high annual volume of telehealth visits;
  • Have an established reimbursement structure that allows telehealth services to be financially self-staining; and
  • Have established programs that provide telehealth services in underserved areas with high chronic disease prevalence and high poverty rates.

Contact Information: Colleen Morris, Phone: 301-594-4296

Telehealth Resource Center Program (TRC)

Program Cycle: 9/01/2021 – 8/31/2024

The Telehealth Resource Center (TRC) program provides expert telehealth technical assistance across the country.

There are two types of HRSA Telehealth Resource Center (TRC) programs:

  • The two National Telehealth Resource Center Programs (NTRC) focus on policy and technology.
  • The 12 Regional Telehealth Resource Center Programs (RTRC) host activities and provide resources in rural and underserved areas.

The HRSA Telehealth Resource Centers:

  • Provide training and support
  • Publicize information and research findings
  • Promote effective partnerships
  • Promote the use of telehealth by providing health care information and education to the public and medical specialists.

TRCs share expertise through one-on-one sessions, training, webinars, conference presentations, and have a significant web presence.

Contact Information: Michelle Carnes, Ph.D. Phone: 301-443-007; Louise Nott, Phone: 301-443-0614

Licensure Portability Grant Program (LPGP)

Program Cycle:  7/1/2019 – 6/30/2024

This program focuses on supporting partnerships between states in order to make telehealth more accessible. The program provides support for state professional licensing boards to carry out programs under which licensing boards of various states cooperate to develop and implement

Contact Information: Colleen Morris, Phone: 301-594-4296

Telehealth Focused Rural Health Research Center (TF RHRC) Cooperative Agreement

Program Cycle: 9/01/2020 – 8/31/2024

There are two Telehealth Focused Rural Health Research Centers. One center is evaluation-focused and the other center is evidence-focused.

The evaluation-focused TF RHRC:

  • Explores the impact of telehealth investments for the public and medical experts.
  • Creates assessments of access, cost, experience, and success.
  • Conducts clinically informed and policy-relevant health services research. Which will expand the evidence base for rural telehealth services.

The evidence-focused TF RHRC:

  • Conducts clinically informed and policy-relevant health services research. Which will expand the evidence base for rural telehealth services.

Both centers directly inform advances in health care access and population health for rural areas.

Contact Information: Nicole Hewitt, Ph.D., Phone: 301-443-3893

Telehealth Broadband Pilot (TBP) Program

Program Cycle: 1/4/2021 – 12/31/2023

This three-year pilot program aims to improve access to healthcare and telehealth. The program will assess broadband capacity in four state communities. It will focus efforts in Alaska, Michigan, Texas and West Virginia. The TBP Program will link communities to existing funding to address identified gaps in broadband. 

An evaluation will be done on the TBP Program to determine program outcomes and effectiveness.

The TBP Program is the result of a joint effort between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This created the Rural Telehealth Initiative that works to expand broadband and increase telehealth access.

Contact Information: LCDR Jenna Cope, Phone: 301-443-5503

Date Last Reviewed:  January 2021