The FCC will accept applications for the second round of the CARES Act COVID-19 Telehealth Program from noon ET on April 29 to noon ET May 6 by the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau, the commission announced this week.
The telehealth program was established in the CARES Act, which was passed in March, 2020 in response to the pandemic. The second round will include $249.95 million. The first round was $200 million.
The CARES Act COVID-19 telehealth program supports telehealth during the pandemic by providing reimbursements for telecommunications services, information services and connected devices.
“For over a year, health care providers have fought on the front lines of this pandemic and have had to rapidly innovate to support the health and well-being of all Americans. Telehealth has been at the forefront of this effort and I’m pleased to announce that additional support is just around the corner,” Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release.
In addition to funding the COVID-19 telehealth program the CARES Act boosted broadband deployment indirectly through funding provided to each state for the state to allocate as it saw fit. In November, 2020, The Pew Charitable Trusts released a report indicating that several states that previously has no broadband grant program created them as a result of that funding. The states included Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
The report highlights how states are using CARES Act funding. Initiatives include expanding broadband grant programs, buttressing of emergency funds, helping libraries expand WiFi and accessibility and providing funding toward purchases of broadband equipment and connectivity for telehealth and other activities.
Hints and tips on how to derive as much benefit as possible from CARES Act funding is available in a report, released around the same time, from the National Governors Association and Western Governors University. The report highlighted nine best practices and key strategies.
Information on the second round of the CARES Act COVID-19 telehealth program is available at this link.