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Federal Communications Commission: COVID-19 Telehealth Program

Deadline: May 6, 2021

Note: The Round 2 Application Filing window is from April 29 – May 6, 2021.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the COVID-19 Telehealth Program in response to the public health emergency brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Program provides health care providers support to purchase telecommunications, information services, and connected devices necessary to provide telehealth services to patients in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Devices for which funding is requested must be integral to patient care. The Program will only fund devices (e.g., pulse oximetry, blood pressure monitoring devices, etc.) that are themselves connected, and will not fund unconnected devices that patients can use at home and then manually report the results to their medical professional. Connected devices may include devices with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity, including devices that connect to a consumer’s phone, for example.

Examples of eligible services and connected devices. Applicants may seek funding for services and devices that include, but are not limited to:

* Telecommunications Services and Broadband Connectivity Services: Voice services for health care providers or their patients.
* Information Services: Internet connectivity services for health care providers or their patients; remote patient monitoring platforms and services; patient reported outcome platforms; store and forward services, such as asynchronous transfer of patient images and data for interpretation by a physician; platforms and services to provide synchronous video consultation.
* Connected Devices/Equipment: Tablets, smart phones, or connected devices to receive connected care services at home (e.g., broadband-enabled blood pressure monitors; pulse oximetry monitors) for patient or health care provider use; or telemedicine kiosks/carts for health care provider sites.

Notably retroactive costs are submittable. Eligible health care providers may apply to receive funding support through the COVID-19 Telehealth Program for eligible services and devices purchased on or after March 13, 2020. Existing services that were not purchased in response to COVID-19 are ineligible for funding. However, if existing services were upgraded to respond to COVID-19, the costs of the upgrade may be considered for funding.

For recurring services, funding recipients seeking reimbursement for eligible recurring services may apply their funding commitment towards six months of eligible recurring services as long as those services are implemented on or after March 13, 2020 and prior to December 31, 2020. Existing services that were not purchased to respond to the coronavirus disease are not eligible for funding.

The FCC’s goal is to select applications that target areas that have been hardest hit by COVID-19 and where the support will have the most impact on addressing the health care needs. COVID-19 Telehealth Program applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

* The conditions to be treated using the requested funding.
* The goals and objectives for use of the requested funding.
* The timeline for deployment of the proposed service(s) or devices funded by the COVID-19 Telehealth Program.
* The factors/metrics the applicant will use to help measure the impact of the services and devices funded by the COVID-19 Telehealth Program.
* The geographic area and population served by the applicant. and whether that geographic area has been under any pre-existing strain (e.g., large underserved or low-income patient population; health care provider shortages; rural hospital closures; limited broadband access and/or Internet adoption).
* The health care providers’ targeting of funding to high-risk and vulnerable patients.

Amount: In December 2020, an additional $249,950,000 million was appropriated for a second round of funding for the Program; anticipated awarding ranges have not yet been released. During the first round, the FCC did not anticipate making awards of more than $1,000,000.

Note: To receive disbursements, health care providers are required to submit an invoicing form and supporting documentation in order to receive reimbursement for eligible expenses and services.

Eligibility: Nonprofit and public eligible health care providers that include:
* Post-secondary educational institutions offering health care instruction, teaching hospitals, and medical schools
* Community health centers or health centers providing health care to migrant
* Local health departments or agencies
* Community mental health centers
* Not-for-profit hospitals
* Rural health clinics
* Skilled nursing facilities
* Consortia of such agencies

Note: Multiple health care providers can apply together on one application. Each health care provider site that receives eligible services and/or connected devices with COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding must have its own eligibility determination from the universal Services Administrative Co (USAC). The entity applying on behalf of other eligible health care providers must have the necessary authorizations to file the application on behalf of the participating health care providers.

Link: https://www.fcc.gov/covid-19-telehealth-program#application


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