The Novartis US Foundation said April 30 that it awarded a $2 million grant over two years to the New Jersey Primary Care Association, which will use the funds to launch five telehealth programs for community health centers around New Jersey.
The programs will provide virtual primary and specialty care, including mental health services, to vulnerable uninsured and underinsured residents. The NJPCA represents 23 community health centers and 133 satellite facilities around the state.“Telemedicine is critical for Community Health Centers in New Jersey to meet the primary and specialty care needs of the over half a million patients we serve. The importance of telehealth programs has been underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite a dramatic drop in patient volume due to COVID-19, our pilot centers are utilizing telehealth for 70 to 90 percent of their visits, in many instances,” said Selina Haq, interim executive director of the NJPCA, in a statement. “The grant from the Novartis US Foundation made it possible to get telehealth programs off the ground quickly since the five participating health centers already had robust plans in place and the necessary resources to implement them.”
Five community health centers – CAMcare Health Corporation in Camden; Henry J. Austin Health Center in Trenton, Metropolitan Family Health Network in Jersey City and West New York; Monmouth Family Health Center in Long Branch; and Zufall Health Center in Morristown and Dover – were awarded the grants to participate in the pilot program.
“We selected NJPCA as a partner because the organization is well positioned to drive digital solutions that help to address disparities of care among some of our most underserved communities,” said Tom Kendris, Novartis’ U.S. country president and chairman of the Novartis US Foundation. “While we could not have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic when we originally forged this collaboration with NJPCA, it is indeed fortunate that we were able to enable them to be ready for the urgent needs of the patients they serve.”
Kendris recently described the company’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 outbreak in an exclusive interview with NJBIZ.
East Hanover-based Novartis US established the foundation to “improve health in underserved communities in the United States by creating innovative and sustainable solutions to expand access to health care and build trust within the health care system.”