On July 11, 2019, the Commission released the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) in the Promoting Telehealth for Low-Income Consumers proceeding, seeking comment on a Connected Care Pilot program (“Pilot”) within the Universal Service Fund (“USF”) to offer connected care technologies to low-income patients and veterans, which was adopted in the July Open Meeting (WC Docket No. 18-213).

The NPRM proposes to create a Pilot program to collect data concerning connected care services and to help the Commission understand the relationship of affordable patient broadband Internet access service to the availability of quality healthcare, health care cost savings from connected care services, and the role of connected care on patient health outcomes. The NRPM proposes a three-year Pilot with a $100 million budget to provide funding for eligible providers to receive USF support for these patients.

There were very few substantial changes made from the draft item to the adopted item. Primarily, the Commission added “mental health conditions” to the proposed list of health conditions the Pilot program will cover. In addition, the Commission also proposes that it will make any final selection decisions with respect to program applications – maintaining that the Wireline Competition Bureau will initially review program applications.

On July 30, 2019, the Commission published the NPRM in the Federal Register therefore establishing the following comment dates:

Comments are due August 29, 2019.

Reply Comments are due September 30, 2019.

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