FCC Announces COVID-19 Telehealth and Connected Care Pilot Programs

On Monday, March 30, 2020, the Commission published a News Release announcing Chairman Pai’s plan for a COVID-19 Telehealth Program to support health care providers during the ongoing pandemic. Congress appropriated $200 million to the FCC to support telehealth as part of the CARES Act, and the Program would help eligible health care providers purchase telecommunications, broadband connectivity, and devices necessary for providing telehealth services.

The Telehealth Program would immediately support health care providers by offering support to purchase telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to enable telehealth services. To receive funding, eligible health care providers would submit a streamlined application to the Commission, and the Commission would award funds to selected applicants on a rolling basis until the funds are exhausted or until the pandemic has ended.

Chairman Pai also circulated an Order to the Commission for a longer-term Connected Care Pilot Program, which would make available up to $100 million of universal service support over three years to help offset eligible health care providers’ costs of providing telehealth services. The Pilot Program would provide funding for selected pilot projects to cover 85% of the eligible costs of broadband connectivity, network equipment, and information services necessary to provide connected care services. To participate, eligible health care providers would submit an application to the Commission. Commissioner Carr has already voted to approve the Order.

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