CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced $445,000 from the American Rescue Plan to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR). This funding is from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and will be used to expand the West Virginia Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program. This program works to promote pediatric mental health and increase access to telehealth programs to integrate behavioral health into traditional pediatric primary care.
“Identifying and addressing mental and behavioral health issues at a young age is critical to supporting healthy child development and growth. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how important and effective telehealth services can be, which is why I am thrilled HHS is investing in a program to support mental health telehealth services for our youngest West Virginians,” said Senator Manchin. “Telehealth services are vital for many West Virginians, and I will continue fighting to expand telehealth and healthcare access across the Mountain State.”
Senator Manchin has been working to increase telehealth access across West Virginia, including audio-only telehealth which is essential in rural areas with limited broadband access. In June, Senator Manchin led a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the Protecting Rural Telehealth Access Act to make current telehealth reimbursement flexibilities permanent. This legislation would ensure rural and underserved community healthcare providers are able to continue offering telehealth services, including audio-only services, after the current public health emergency ends.