The FCC announced the launch of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, and a Connected Care Pilot Program. The programs will start May 11.
Part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed on March 27, the COVID-19 Telehealth Program will provide health care providers with $200 million in funding to start telehealth programs. With the funding, eligible health care providers will be able to purchase telecommunications services, information services and equipment, including connected monitoring devices like blood pressure machines and pulse-ox monitors, necessary to set up telehealth services.
Health care providers will be limited to $1 million awards. If a provider exhausts their initial award, based on what they estimate they will purchase in their application, they may request additional funding. The program lasts as long as the pandemic lasts, or until the funds are exhausted, the order said.
In addition, the CARES Act allocates $100 million over the next three years for the Connected Care Pilot Program which will look at how the Universal Service Fund can help get connected care services to low-income residents and veterans. The funds would cover 85 percent of the eligible cost of broadband connectivity, network equipment and information services to provide connected care to those patients.
The due date for applications to the Pilot Program has not yet been set.