A White Township-based agency is among 67 recipients of the latest round of funding approved by the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau for its COVID-19 Telehealth Program.
Community Guidance Center is getting a $70,198 share of $20.18 million in funding for health care providers to provide telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic.
CGC is a private, nonprofit mental and behavioral health center, with its flagship office along Old Route 119 near the Indiana Country Club. It also has offices in DuBois, Punxsutawney, Clearfield, Northern Cambria and Clarion.
The federal funding will help that agency, as its longtime chief clinical officer Dr. Ralph May put it in an interview earlier this year, in “dealing (with) a rolling stresser,” involving “a very difficult kind of stress,” produced by something “unfolding in front of us (like) watching a wave coming at you.”
May said waiting for that wave produced “a very difficult kind of stress.”
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley, said nearly $1.276 million of that $20.18 million will go to eight Pennsylvania recipients, as part of a program authorized by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security or CARES Act.
Other recipients are in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, McKees Rocks in Allegheny County, and at UPMC hospitals in Everett, Bedford County, and Hanover, York County.
A spokesman for Toomey said there have been 10 rounds of such funding so far, totaling $104.98 million, to 305 health care providers in 42 states and the District of Columbia.
“We are already seeing the program’s positive impact on the health and wellness of our communities,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said. “To give just one example, the program is enabling the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to remotely monitor children who have received organ transplants and are thus immunocompromised.”
The FCC-guided CARES Act funding will be used by CGC for tablets and videoconferencing equipment and software. The aim is to help the center continue to offer all mental and behavioral health services to a high volume of new patients during the COVID-19 pandemic using telehealth.
It is a necessary alternative in a time of social distancing.
Still, as May conceded in that earlier interview, “while we are now permitted by our regulators to provide teleservices via teleconferencing with video or phone, this still separates those in recovery from physical supports, groups and other interventions.”
For the past month, CGC has had a resumption of partial operations at all six of its locations, offering individual in-person appointments for most services, though group services are not meeting until further notice.
CGC can be reached by calling (888) 686-1991 or through its www.thecgc.com website.