LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Sparrow Hospital has received a $586,000 federal grant to purchase telehealth equipment, to help expand patient access and leading-edge medicine for areas served by our Community Hospitals in Carson City, Charlotte, Ionia, and St. Johns.

Sparrow was one of 62 healthcare facilities nationwide that received funding from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in round two of its COVID-19 Telehealth Program.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, access to health care has proven to be not only a national issue, but also a local issue, and it is imperative that every community is given the tools to access this care as safely and effectively as possible,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

The funding will go towards video connections between Sparrow’s various sites, virtual stethoscope’s and more.

The funds are directed at rural areas and aim to create ways for patients to connect with their clinicians virtually without leaving their homes.

The added virtual care will allow patients to align with Sparrow’s mission of keeping care close to home.

Going virtual has become a major way to connect and stay engaged since the pandemic.

Currently, Sparrow averages 3,000 video visits a month.

Prior to the pandemic, the only way patients could receive care was by physically going to an office. The hospital has now accommodated by providing several options such as a telephone visit, a video visit, submitting an e-visit or messaging Sparrpow to be diagnosed and treated without leaving home.

Health officials say a virtual visit is important because it saves a spot for a more critically ill patient.