What Matters for Health Centers

types of telehealth

Health centers are increasingly using telehealth to better meet their patients’ needs and to overcome persistent clinical workforce shortages. Because health centers are required to offer comprehensive services in areas of high need, many are using telehealth to address geographic, economic, transportation, and linguistic barriers to health care access.

In 2016, 57 percent of health centers across the nation had either begun using telehealth, were in the process of implementing a telehealth program, or were actively exploring its feasibility.

Telehealth programs are especially critical in rural areas, where many residents can face long distances between home and health provider, particularly specialized providers. In rural communities, nearly half of health centers utilized telehealth for services outside the clinic.

Quick References

Fact Sheet: Telehealth and Health Centers
Policy Paper: Expanding Access to Care: Streamlining Health Care Delivery through Technology
Snapshot: The Health Center Program is Increasing Access to Care through Telehealth
Webinar: Telehealth Promising Practices and Barriers
Resource Guide: State Telehealth Coverage in Medicaid

Policy Issues

NACHC is working to expand the innovative and successful telehealth programs at health centers across the country by encouraging Congress and the Administration to adopt policies that support implementation and reimbursement for telehealth in both the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Currently, there are limitations on Medicare reimbursement for health centers using telehealth and only 16 states currently have a policy in place to allow health centers to use telehealth in their Medicaid programs. While many health centers have utilized grants and other one-time funding opportunities to integrate telehealth technologies into their practice, reimbursement for telehealth is critical to the long-term sustainability and expansion of telehealth services.

That’s why NACHC has endorsed the CONNECT for Health Act of 2017 in the House and in the Senate (H.R.2556/ S.1016). Among other provisions to expand the use of telehealth within Medicare, the CONNECT Act would allow Medicare to recognize health centers as distant and originating sites and allow for reimbursement of remote patient monitoring within Medicare.

For those health centers that are currently utilizing telehealth services and for those that wish to implement telehealth programs, the CONNECT for Health Act of 2017 is an important step forward in addressing the need for reimbursement for telehealth and remote patient monitoring.

NACHC’s Monthly Telehealth Office Hours

NACHC now offers monthly Telehealth Office Hours for health center, PCA, and HCCN staff who have questions or want to share information about telehealth related policy and operational activities. In addition to updates and Q&A, each session will focus on a specific topic of concern. These sessions convene the second Thursday of each month at 2:00 PM EST.  

The Telehealth Office Hours are hosted through a collaborative effort:

For more information or to submit questions in advance, contact telehealth@nachc.org.

Check out the Schedule at-a-glance here for featured sessions.

Access Materials from Previous Telehealth Office Hours

  • November 2020: The Impact of COVID-19 on School Based Operations – Recording
  • October 2020: No Meeting
  • September 2020: Telehealth Implementation Considerations – Recording
  • August 2020: Focus Topic: Overview of VHAs Telehealth Program – Recording
  • July 2020: No Meeting
  • June 2020: Focus Topic: NACHC Telehealth Implementation Quick Guide – Recording 
  • May 2020: Focus Topic: Sustainability – Recording I Slides
  • April 2020: No Meeting
  • March 2020 Focus Topic: Program Development Best Practice – Recording I Slides
  • February 2020 Focus Topic: Telehealth Etiquette – Recording
  • January 2020 Focus Topic: Telemedicine ROI –  Recording  I Slides
  • December 2019 Focus Topic: Access and Telehealth – Recording
  • November 2019 Focus Topic: Connect Act – RecordingSlides
  • October 2019 Focus Topic: Policy Updates – Recording I Slides
  • September 2019 Focus Topic: Telehealth 101 – RecordingSlides


Important Links

Center for Connected Health Policy
Telehealth Resources Centers
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Fact Sheet on Telehealth