“In affluent communities there’s much greater access to the technology than we have in rural areas,” said Cheryl Vasconcellos, CEO of Hana Health and Hawaii Primary Care Association board chair. “All of the federally qualified health centers are working in low-income and vulnerable communities where the technology may just not be available.”
“The disparities between the haves and have nots are becoming very apparent during this pandemic,” Vasconcellos said. “Ideally yes, telehealth is a solution but is it a practical solution for every community? Absolutely not.”
Even though federally qualified health centers may not treat COVID-19 patients, the pandemic is already hitting their bottom line.
Vasconcellos said she expects federal medicaid reimbursements will nearly disappear, and the health center’s total revenue could fall as much as 35% as a result.