The FCC Wireline Competition Bureau has announced the next tranche of approved projects in the COVID-19 telehealth program. The new funding of $20.18 million is for 67 projects. This brings total funding to $104.98 million for 305 providers in 42 states and the District of Columbia. The $200 million COVID-19 telehealth program was created in the CARES Act, which was approved in March.

The new approvals were for providers in 28 states and the District of Columbia. The states receiving the most funding were Pennsylvania, which got eight approvals and Illinois, which got seven.

As usual, there was a wide divergence between FCC COVID-19 telehealth projects with the most funding and those with the least. Indeed, the discrepancy seems to suggest that the FCC is making the point that the goal is to both launch new or greatly enhance existing projects and, on the other extreme, simply supplement and refresh existing programs in a far more modest manner.

On the high end of the scale are projects in Illinois, New York and Louisiana.

  • In Chicago, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare got a $1,000,000 award to help support the costs of a telehealth platform, thermal temperature screening system, remote radiology workstations, remote patient monitoring equipment and network upgrades to implement a telehealth platform to support outpatient services for patients, to maintain safe health practices, and to diagnose medical conditions remotely via reading of medical images.
  • In New York City, NYC Health+ Hospitals got a $1,000,000 award for a telehealth platform, smartphones, remote monitoring platform subscription and remote monitoring equipment to offer virtual urgent care for patients with COVID-19 and an at-home symptom monitoring program for patients with confirmed or suspected cases.
  • St. Thomas Community Health Center in New Orleans was awarded $999,700 for telehealth enhanced smartphones for a telehealth platform that includes remote monitoring applications, such as a thermometer, pulse oximeter, blood pressure cuff and blood sugar monitor. The system can be tailored to provide patients live, connected chronic disease and COVID-19 care management.

The three FCC COVID-19 telehealth projects receiving the smallest awards were:

  • The Leyden Family Health Service and Mental Health Center (Franklin Park, IL) was awarded $1,468 for phones, wireless data plans and videoconferencing software to provide distanced behavioral health treatment and to prevent hospitalizations.
  • St. Vincent General Hospital District (Leadville, CO) was awarded $2,796 for a platform subscription to deliver telehealth services to patients at home.
  • Wayne HealthCare (Greenville, OH) was awarded $2,082 for tablets and phones to expand telehealth and to provide communication with patients’ families after urgent care, emergency surgery and other treatment or services.

Last month, Frost & Sullivan said that telehealth will jump 64.3% this year and enjoy a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38.2%.

Updated to show that the COVID-19 telehealth program has a $200 million budget.

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