FCC will vote to advance $100M rural telehealth pilot program

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr announced June 19 that the agency will vote next month to advance a $100 million pilot program that aims to expand telehealth services for low-income Americans.

The Connected Care Pilot Program would provide rural healthcare providers $100 million in Universal Service Fund support to cover the qualifying costs of telehealth services for people in medically underserved areas and veterans.

“With advances in telemedicine, healthcare is no longer limited to the confines of traditional brick and mortar healthcare facilities,” Mr. Carr said in a news release emailed to Becker’s Hospital Review. “With an internet connection, patients can now access high-quality care right on their smartphones, tablets or other devices regardless of where they are located.”

The FCC will vote July 10 on a notice of proposed rulemaking that seeks comment on the $100 million USF fund as well as support for pilot projects for various health challenges, including diabetes management, opioid dependency and pediatric heart disease. Additionally, the program would provide an 85 percent discount on qualifying services for three years and efforts to assess benefits, costs and savings enabled by telehealth and remote monitoring technology.

More articles on telehealth:
How clinicians, bedside nurses are adapting to virtual nurses
Rhode Island health providers launch telemedicine services for substance use disorder treatment
WellQuest Medical launches telehealth unit: 3 things to know

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