On March 30, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai proposed a new telehealth program using the $200 million that Congress allocated to the commission as part of the $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief package sign-into law on March 27.
According to the FCC, the proposal would help eligible health care providers purchase telecommunications, broadband connectivity and devices necessary for providing telehealth services. These services would directly help COVID-19 patients and provide care to patients with other conditions who might risk contracting the coronavirus when visiting a healthcare provider—while reducing practitioners’ potential exposure to the virus.
In addition, Chairman Pai presented final rules for a broader, longer-term Connected Care Pilot Program. The Program would study how connected care could be a permanent part of the Universal Service Fund by making available up to $100 million of universal service support over three years to help defray eligible health care providers’ costs of providing telehealth services to patients at their homes or mobile locations, with an emphasis on providing those services to low-income Americans and veterans. The Connected Care Pilot Program would cover up to 85 percent of eligible expenses.
Chairman Pai called on the FCC to vote promptly to adopt the proposal.
For updates on the FCC’s actions during the coronavirus pandemic, visit: https://www.fcc.gov/coronavirus.