What You Should Know:
– FCC releases Public Notice providing additional information and guidance for potential applicants interested in applying for its Connected Care Pilot Program.
– The Connected Care Pilot Program will provide up to $100 million from the Universal Service Fund (USF) over a three-year period to selected applicants to support the provision of connected care services.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today released a Public Notice providing additional information and guidance for potential applicants interested in applying for its Connected Care Pilot Program. The Pilot Program will provide up to $100 million from the Universal Service Fund over a three-year period to support the provision of connected care services, with an emphasis on supporting these services for low-income Americans and veterans. The FCC will release a subsequent Public Notice with details regarding application procedures, including the timing of the application window.
Connected Care Pilot Program Background
The Pilot Program is open to nonprofit and public eligible health care providers that fall within the statutorily detailed categories of “health care provider” in section 254(h)(7)(B) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, whether located in rural or non-rural areas. To prepare to submit an application, eligible health care providers can take steps now to obtain an eligibility determination by filing an FCC Form 460 with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to obtain a Health Care Provider (HCP) number and eligibility determination. An eligibility determination and HCP number is required for each health care provider site that will be included in an application for the Pilot Program. Health care provider sites that USAC has already deemed eligible to participate in the FCC’s Rural Health Care Program or COVID-19 Telehealth Program may rely on that eligibility determination for the Pilot Program.
The Commission adopted final rules for the Connected Care Pilot Program on April 2, 2020.
Specifically, the Pilot Program will use USF funding to help defray costs of connected care services for eligible health care providers, providing universal service support for 85% of the cost of eligible services and network equipment, which include:
(1) patient broadband Internet access services;
(2) health care provider broadband data connections;
(3) other connected care information services; and
(4) certain network equipment.
The Pilot Program will not provide funding for devices.
“This year, our country has pivoted to a newer model of delivering health care, one that finds connectivity at its core, and the FCC has risen to the challenge in supporting connected care services throughout the United States,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “Our Connected Care Pilot Program will help us to look to the future and determine how universal service support can shepherd telehealth services into a new era of healthcare delivery. Today’s Public Notice provides critical program information to help health care providers prepare to apply for this universal service program. I’d like to thank my colleagues at the FCC for working diligently on this effort and Commissioner Carr for his leadership on this important initiative.”