What You Need to Know:
– FCC begins approving funding to boost telehealth during coronavirus pandemic just three days after the opening of the application window.
– Congress appropriated $200 million for the FCC to support health care providers’ use of telehealth services during this national emergency.
The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau today approved six funding applications for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. Healthcare providers in some of the hardest-hit areas like New York will use this $3.23 million in funding to provide telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the recently-enacted CARES Act, Congress appropriated $200 million for the FCC to support health care providers’ use of telehealth services during this national emergency. And in less than three weeks, the Commission has adopted new rules for this new program, created the application process, opened the application window, and approved the first set of funding requests. The FCC began accepting applications on Monday, April 13. It is continuing to evaluate applications and will distribute additional funding on a rolling basis
COVID-19 Telehealth Program Overview
The $200 million COVID-19 Telehealth Program would immediately support healthcare providers responding to the pandemic by providing eligible healthcare providers support to purchase telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to enable the provision of telehealth services during this emergency period. It would provide selected applicants with full funding for these eligible telehealth services and devices. In order to receive funding, eligible healthcare providers would submit a streamlined application to the Commission for this program, and the Commission would award funds to selected applicants on a rolling basis until the funds are exhausted or until the current pandemic has ended.
Here is the list of approved healthcare providers that were awarded funding:
– Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, was awarded $727,747 to implement telehealth video visits, virtual check-ins, remote patient monitoring, and e-visits to patient’s hospital rooms, enabling it to continue to provide high-quality patient care, keep patients safe in their homes, and reduce the use of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
– Hudson River HealthCare, Inc., in Peekskill, New York, was awarded $753,367 for telehealth services to expand its frontline COVID-19 testing and treatment programs serving a large volume of low-income, uninsured, and/or underinsured patients throughout southeastern New York State, encompassing the Hudson Valley, New York City, and Long Island.
– Mount Sinai Health System, in New York City, New York, was awarded $312,500 to provide telehealth devices and services to geriatric and palliative patients who are at high risk for COVID-19 throughout New York City’s five boroughs.
– Neighborhood Health Care, Inc., in Cleveland, Ohio, was awarded $244,282 to provide telemedicine, connected devices, and remote patient monitoring to patients and families impacted by COVID-19 in the City of Cleveland’s West Side neighborhoods, targeting low-income patients with chronic conditions.
– Ochsner Clinic Foundation, in New Orleans, Louisiana, was awarded $1,000,000 for telehealth services and devices to serve high-risk patients and vulnerable populations in Louisiana and Mississippi, to treat COVID-19 patients, and to slow the spread of the virus to others.
– UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was awarded $192,500 to provide telehealth services to children who have received organ transplants and are thus immune-compromised and at high risk for COVID-19.
“Telehealth has emerged as a critical service for health care providers and patients alike during the coronavirus pandemic,” said FCC Chairman Pai. “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.”