The FCC Wireline Competition Bureau this week continued its aggressive approval of funding applications for telehealth projects aimed at helping facilities react to the COVID-19 pandemic. The commission announced $18 million in FCC COVID-19 telehealth awards.
The latest approvals, which are funded by $300 million in the CARES Act that was passed by Congress in March, will be divided among 53 entities. In all, approvals have been announced for 185 health care providers in 38 states and the District of Columbia. Total funding awarded stands at $68.22 million.
New York was the big winner with 12 approvals in the latest tranche of approvals. Other states with more than one approval were Ohio (6 approvals), New Jersey and Mississippi (3 each) and Texas, Maine, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Missouri, Pennsylvania and California (2 each).
This was the second awards announcement in a row in which three organizations had $1 million applications approved.
The University of Mississippi Medical Center/UMMC Consortium (Jackson, MS) was approved for connected devices, laptops, network equipment and upgrades, software licenses and other telehealth equipment to help develop a telemedicine COVID-19 triage solution. It will consist of medical, technical and support staff performing screenings and medical assessments, schedule testing appointments and conducting outreach regarding test results, It also will be used to expand non-COVID-19 telehealth services to meet both urgent and routine health needs.
Johns Hopkins Health Systems (Baltimore) was approved for a remote intensive care unit, a medical kiosk, tablets and other connected devices, cameras and other telehealth equipment, and patient monitoring equipment. The devices will provide routine and complex care for patients with COVID-19 and include a COVID-19 Ambulatory Response Team and a regional public/private partnership to serve patients in the surrounding community via telehealth.
New York-Presbyterian Hospital (New York City) will use money from approved applications for telemedicine carts, tablets, a virtual triage platform, and remote monitoring equipment to provide an electronic ICU program to better support patients in intensive care. It will allow clinicians to access real-time patient data for multiple patients simultaneously and allow physicians to prioritize care for patients at high risk for COVID-19.
On the other side of the ledger, the smallest award was for $6,423. It went to the Key Program (Springfield, MA). The funding will be used for laptops for telehealth mental health services, therapy and consultation sessions with patients in western Massachusetts during stay-in-place restrictions.
The previous awards announcement was for $16.87 million. Though the announcements are coming quickly, the Wireless Bureau is not even a quarter of the way to distributing the full $300 million.