Just days after the application period opened, some $3.23 million has already been approved to help hard-hit health systems deploy telemedicine technology, connected devices and remote patient-monitoring tools.
The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday announced the first half-dozen awardees of its COVID-19 Telehealth Program.
WHY IT MATTERS
Health systems in hard-hit states such as Louisiana, New York and Ohio have been approved for a total of $3.23 million, so far, of the $200 million program.
The money was earmarked by Congress, part of the recent CARES Act, to help FCC support the expansion of telehealth services during the coronavirus crisis.
FCC began accepting applications on April 13, and will be evaluating applications and distributing more money on a rolling basis until the funds are depleted. Here’s how hospitals can apply.
The first round of winners are:
THE LARGER TREND
Beyond funding opportunities such as this one, there has been an array of new rules related to telehealth funding, reimbursement and regulation by federal agencies that are designed to broaden the use of virtual care and remote monitoring for COVID-19 as health systems deal with a surge of patients and frontline clinicians are put at risk by limited supplies of personal protective equipment.
While many hospitals and practices are experienced with at least limited telehealth implementations, many are deploying it for the first time.
ON THE RECORD
“Telehealth has emerged as a critical service for health care providers and patients alike during the coronavirus pandemic,” said FCC Chairman Pai, in a statement. “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.”
He added that, “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.”