Four of Maryland’s top healthcare providers are seeking to expand telehealth reach by helping patients gain broadband access.
According to a report by the Abell Foundation published in January 2021, 23% of Maryland households lack access to broadband, and 13% lack the necessary devices to use the internet. COVID-19 has demonstrated that broadband is critical in both a person’s ability to work and to access healthcare. In response to a growing need by some of the poorest in our society, four of Maryland’s top healthcare providers have sought funds to help their patients attain devices and gain broadband access. The Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Mobile Medical Care, and Sheppard Pratt all recently won grant money from the $100M Federal Connected Care Pilot Program.
The Kennedy Kreiger Institute was awarded $2M under the program to help disconnected households gain broadband access. This project is in addition to the earlier work of Kennedy Kreiger, where they used funds from the Federal Communications Commission’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program to buy and distribute 400 iPads and 300 hotspots to patients in need.
Mobile Medical Care is planning to use their nearly $300,000 award on three projects: augmenting their ability to text patients, enhance existing telehealth services, and, like Kennedy Kreiger, increasing broadband access.
Sheppard Pratt plans to use their $1.1M award to upgrade necessary equipment and help 600 households in the Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Frederick County areas gain broadband access.