Six healthcare providers have had funding applications for the FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program approved. Approvals came from the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau.
Congress appropriated $200 million for the FCC to support health care providers’ use of telehealth services during this national emergency as part of the recently enacted CARES Act, which also including funding for the ReConnect program, as Telecompetitor reported.
The FCC has adopted new rules for the new Telehealth program, created the application process, opened the application window and approved the first set of funding requests. The FCC began accepting applications on April 13 and will continue to evaluate applications and distribute additional funding on a rolling basis.
FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program
The telehealth program was designed to support access to telehealth, according to the FCC, which pointed out that health care providers can use the funding to help provide these services during the current pandemic. By providing telehealth services, these providers can keep other resources free to help with pandemic-related health emergencies and related issues.
“Telehealth has emerged as a critical service for health care providers and patients alike during the coronavirus pandemic,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, in a prepared statement. “It promotes social distancing, protects the safety of health care professionals and patients, and frees up space in health care facilities for those who now need it most. I am confident that the funding we approved today will allow the selected health care providers to expand their telehealth efforts, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact they will have in their communities in New York, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. I also want to thank Commission staff who are working hard to review the large number of applications we have already received and were able to process the first set of approvals in only three days. Going forward, we will continue processing funding requests as quickly as we can in order to promote worthy telehealth projects across the country during this national emergency.”