Baltimore, MD – The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) received a one-year grant of $699,987 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support statewide efforts to improve health equity by expanding telehealth services in family planning and preventive care services. sites.
MDH will use the funds through May 31, 2023 to provide telehealth capacity building training and technical assistance to 11 local health departments and three nonprofit family planning clinics, expanding access to appointments planning and preventive services at sites in Maryland.
MDH’s Maryland Family Planning Program (MFPP) was one of 31 programs selected nationwide to receive an HHS Title X Family Planning Services National Telehealth Program grant. This effort supports MFPP’s mission to increase accessibility to reproductive health by establishing, improving, and promoting comprehensive, high-quality telehealth for family planning in vulnerable communities where barriers to care persist, including lack of transportation. and COVID-19 transmission issues.
The MFPP provides benefits and services to approximately 64,000 eligible low-income residents at 62 sites each year.
“The expansion of telehealth in the state will further expand women’s and men’s access to essential family planning and preventive health services,” said MDH Assistant Secretary for Public Health Dr. Jinlene Chan. “This funding will not only build the ability to reach customers and patients where they are, using phones, computers and other digital devices, it will help us accelerate awareness among residents, encouraging them to get back on track with care and screenings they may have been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When telehealth services are widely available and easy to access, residents will likely feel more comfortable booking and keeping appointments.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 40.9% of American adults have avoided medical care during the pandemic due to concerns about COVID-19.
This project will take place in three phases. MDH will begin by assessing existing telehealth resources at local health departments and family planning sites, identifying needs, barriers, and opportunities to improve services. The data collected will be used to plan and implement a virtual telehealth training and technical assistance program for participating sites. Following the training and technical assistance program, MDH will distribute a comprehensive telehealth toolkit to all 62 MFPP sites, 24 local health departments, and all family planning service sites in Maryland.
MDH will partner with Planned Parenthood of Maryland – an established telehealth service provider – to provide training and technical support.
For more information on efforts to improve family planning services, visit the MDH website Maryland Family Planning Program.