SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Mercy Health is looking to expand its virtual care options following the FCC awarding the company a $2.2 million grant.

Mercy says in 2019 the healthcare provider saw only 10,000 virtual visits. Since the pandemic, they’ve seen more than 800,000 virtual visits.

“This grant will help us extend our telehealth care to more people in the communities we serve,” executive director of business operations for Mercy’s Virtual Care Center David Hinkle said. “We were able to limit bedside exposure because patients could connect to our caregivers from home.”

Mercy said the grant will go towards providing more telemedicine carts and monitors to allow workers to contact offsite caregivers via video conferencing and for further remote treatments inside Mercy’s COVID and critical care units.

The award total will be divided between three states, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, with the $2,217,562 grant split based on which Mercy location sees the greatest need, with Mercy in Missouri receiving $793,788 and Mercy in Arkansas receiving $647,154.

“We’ve seen how (virtual care) improves our patients’ outcomes, and we can’t wait to expand it further,” Craig McCoy, president of Mercy Springfield Communities, said.