In an effort to enhance telehealth services, Coplin Health Systems was awarded $274,432 from the Federal Communications Commission.

The funds are the first from the FCC to be awarded to the state for the COVID-19 telehealth program, according to Sarah Barton, senior projects manager.

Sen. Joe Manchin’s office worked for the initiative because the senator wanted to see more money from the FCC come into the state, Barton said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced healthcare providers and patients to adjust to new appointment formats, including telephone-based appointments and video-based meetings with their healthcare providers. On April 17, I wrote to the FCC to advocate for the Wirt County Health Services application for funding to provide West Virginians with telehealth services, and today the FCC approved their application,” said Manchin.

“This is great news for Wirt County and will help ensure our fellow West Virginians receive the care they need during this crisis. I will continue to advocate for health providers across West Virginia to receive the funding and support they need during this pandemic.”

The grant will be used to enhance their phone systems. The issue was the limit of telephone lines into the sites.

“This will provide an expansion of the telephone system,” Barton said. Coplin has already taken steps to launch the required network modifications but the project is set to be completed by Sept. 30.