PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release January 15, 2021
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Community Health Centers in Hawai‘i to Receive $1.3 Million to Strengthen Telehealth Services The Freeman Foundation, HMSA, and Hawaiʻi Community Foundation partner to support infrastructure and patient programs HONOLULU, HAWAI‘I — The Freeman Foundation and Hawaiʻi Community Foundation (HCF) today announced $1.3 million in grant awards to 14 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) across the state. With guidance from Hawaiʻi Medical Service Association (HMSA), the grants aim to increase access to and delivery of telehealth services at a time when such services are in greater demand due in part to stay-athome orders and limited in-person appointments, and more people are relying on these centers overall for their medical needs. “Throughout our work in the U.S. and Asia, we’ve seen how basic technology can facilitate connections and improve daily lives,” said Graeme Freeman, president of The Freeman Foundation. “More rapid adoption of telehealth in Hawai‘i means helping health providers for rural and underserved communities, as well as families who need better resources to see their doctors virtually.” With an approach to health care based on locally tailored services, Community Health Centers (CHCs) on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi Island, Kauaʻi, Maui, Lānaʻi and Molokaʻi will receive the grants for telehealth infrastructure improvements and patient programs. This includes: • Internet connectivity upgrades • Telehealth software • Specialized equipment for telehealth visits such as kiosks, digital thermometers, blood pressure monitors and scales • Telehealth education for medical and behavioral health providers • Educational material for patients • Smartphones, tablets and webcams for both providers and patients The grants are made possible by a donation from The Freeman Foundation and administered by HCF. HMSA is a collaborator and partner with The Freeman Foundation and Hawai‘i Community Foundation in identifying the need for improved telehealth capacity. “HMSA appreciates the generosity of The Freeman Foundation and is pleased to support our partners at the Community Health Centers to improve access to care and make telehealth more accessible for members of our local communities,” said Kathryn Matayoshi, senior vice president and chief community engagement officer at HMSA.
According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), FQHCs across the state served more than 160,000 patients in 2019, and more than 60% of which were covered by Medicaid or had no health insurance. A recent University of Hawaiʻi survey shows that FQHCs, public and private hospitals, independent health care providers, and rural health clinics want to provide more telehealth services but are limited by capacity and other issues such as internet connectivity, lack of funding for equipment and devices, limited staff training, and workflow challenges. More than half – 58%– of respondents did not start providing telehealth services until the COVID-19 pandemic. Hawai‘i Community Foundation has a longstanding relationship with Hawai‘i’s community health centers. With a close understanding of the needs of FQHCs, HCF has been providing grant support to multiple clinics during the pandemic. “We know with the COVID-19 pandemic, building more resilient communities starts with public health,” said Chris van Bergeijk, senior vice president and chief impact officer of Hawaiʻi Community Foundation. “Hawaiʻi’s Community Health Centers play an integral role in the health of our communities, especially with our most vulnerable populations. We are grateful for the support of The Freeman Foundation, which will allow CHCs to quickly and efficiently expand telehealth services to serve those who need it most.” The FQHCs receiving grant awards are: • • • • • • •
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Bay Clinic Hāna Health Hoʻola Lahui Hawai‘i Kalihi Pālama Health Center Kōkua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services Koʻolauloa Health Center Lānaʻi Community Health Center
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Molokaʻi Community Health Center Mālama I Ke Ola Health Center Wahiawā Community Health Center Waiʻanae Coast Comprehensive Health Center Waikīkī Health Waimānalo Health Center West Hawaiʻi Community Health Center
### About Hawai‘i Community Foundation With over 100 years of community service, the Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF) is the leading philanthropic institution in the state. HCF is a steward of more than 950 funds, including more than 280 scholarship funds, created by donors who desire to transform lives and improve communities. In 2019, HCF distributed more than $63 million in grants and contracts statewide, including more than $7 million in scholarships. HCF also serves as a resource on community issues and trends in the nonprofit sector. To learn more about HCF’s response during coronavirus, please visit https://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/coronavirus About The Freeman Foundation The Freeman Foundation’s major objectives include strengthening the bonds of friendship between this country and the countries of East Asia. Through education and educational institutes, the Foundation hopes to develop a greater appreciation of Asian cultures, histories and economies in the United States and a better understanding of American people, institutions and purposes in East Asia. In addition, the Foundation believes that the preservation and protection of the forests, lands, and natural resources of the United States are essential to the welfare of future generations. Land
conservation; the protection of forests and farmlands; as well as historic preservation in both Hawai‘i and Vermont are of particular interest as the Freeman family has enjoyed a long association with these states through the years. A limited number of grants are made each year to projects deemed to be of interest to the Freeman family. About HMSA Caring for the pepole of Hawaii is our promise and our privilege. Working together with employers, partners, and physicians and other health care providers, we promote well-being; develop reliable, affordable health plans; and support members with clear, thoughtful guidance. HMSA is the most experienced health plan in the state, covering more than half of Hawai‘i’s population. As a recognized leader, we embrace our responsibility to strengthen the health and well-being of our community. Headquartered on O‘ahu with centers and offices statewide to serve our members, HMSA is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.