From closing hospitals to staff shortages to longer travel distances for emergency care, New Yorkers living in rural regions face significant challenges accessing healthcare. Those living in these “healthcare deserts” have the greatest need for increased telehealth services — especially now.
In light of the ongoing global health crisis, telehealth has offered a lifeline for rural areas — particularly for low-income, Medicaid-eligible, and uninsured individuals who face significant health challenges.
The largely rural Adirondacks region of New York, for one, is facing myriad health related challenges such as food and housing insecurity and lack of public transportation.
Recognizing the multiple, overlapping and urgent needs of this community, the Foundation granted $75,000 for the Adirondack Health Institute to deploy telehealth equipment to rural healthcare organizations. The Institute has since helped over 50 regional providers offer 17 different specialty telehealth services to thousands of underserved individuals in the region.
Like many who have implemented telehealth services, Adirondack Health Institute was able to dramatically expand the availability of mental health and addiction support and has proven to be a crucial resource for the region in maintaining opioid use disorder patient engagement, another major crisis exacerbated by the pandemic.
With a click of a button, telehealth provides patients with direct access to healthcare and support when they need it most. It’s an extension of the reach of care and is there when patients, and health professionals, need it most.
As we recover from the pandemic, we must continue to promote the benefits of increased telehealth services for New York’s most vulnerable rural communities and ensure that these regions have access to the consistent, convenient, and accessible healthcare they need and deserve.
Learn more about the AHI Telehealth Technical Assistance Center on their website here.