FCC Sets July 31, 2022 Purchase Deadline for COVID-19 Telehealth Program

COVID-19 Telehealth Program

Federal Communications Commission   DA 22-260

DA 22-260
Released: March 11, 2022


WC Docket No. 20-89

By this Public Notice, the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) sets July 31, 2022, as the deadline for Round 2 COVID-19 Telehealth Program (COVID-19 Program) funding recipients to purchase eligible devices and implement eligible services. A purchase and implementation deadline is necessary for efficient Program administration, as it ensures that Program funds are used in a timely fashion, and it will allow for a subsequent invoicing deadline, which will be announced at a later date.
In order to build off of the success of Round 1 of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, Congress, as part of the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act, appropriated $249.95 million to the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) for Round 2 of the Program. Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Pub. L. No: 116-260, Division N-Additional Coronavirus Response and Relief, Title IX-Broadband Internet Access Service, § 903 “FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program” (2020), available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/133/text (Consolidated Appropriations Act).
The Commission issued funding awards for 447 applications between August 26, 2021 and January 26, 2022, awarding over $256 million in funding. See Wireline Competition Bureau Approves Sixth and Final Group of Funding Awards in Round 2 of COVID-19 Telehealth Program, WC Docket No. 20-89, Public Notice, DA 22-88 (WCB Jan. 26, 2022).

During Round 1 of the Program, the final funding commitments were issued on July 8, 2020, Federal Communications Commission, Press Release, FCC Approves Final Set of Covid-19 Telehealth Program
Applications (July 8, 2020), https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-365417A1.pdf.
and the purchase and implementation deadline was initially set as September 30, 2020. Before the September 30, 2020 deadline, the Bureau received numerous requests for an extension of that deadline and eventually set the final purchase and implementation deadline for December 31, 2020. See Wireline Competition Bureau Extends the COVID-19 Telehealth Program September 30, 2020 Purchase and Implementation Deadline, WC Docket No. 20-89, Public Notice, 35 FCC Rcd 10580 (WCB 2020).
As a result, during Round 1 all awardees had, at a minimum, just under six months from the notice of their awards to purchase eligible devices and implement eligible services. We believe that a similar time frame should apply for Round 2 of the Program, as evidenced by the numerous extension requests we received from Round 1 awardees. Accordingly, we set a deadline of July 31, 2022 to ensure that all Round 2 awardees will have sufficient time to utilize Program funds to purchase eligible devices and implement eligible services. While the Bureau sets the purchase/implementation deadline of July 31, 2022, we encourage COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding recipients to purchase eligible devices and implement eligible services lists as soon as practicable.
Additional Information. For further information regarding this Public Notice, please contact Nathan Eagan, Attorney-Advisor, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau, Nathan.Eagan@fcc.gov or (202) 418-0991.