New FCC guidelines for $250M COVID-19 telehealth program: 4 things for hospitals to know

FCC acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel submitted a proposal this week to launch the second round of the FCC's $250 million COVID-19 telehealth program. 

The FCC established the program last April to equip healthcare providers with telehealth technologies and implementation support during the pandemic. For the initial funding, the FCC dispersed $200 million on a rolling basis to 539 applicants. 

In December, Congress approved another $249.95 million for the program as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The FCC collected public input on the program in January to address and improve issues such as how the funding is dispersed. 

Four things for hospitals to know about how the program relaunch will be managed, according to the new report. 

1. The updated program will create a new rating system for applicants that gives more attention to hardest hit and low-income areas as well as projects that did not get approved in the first round. 

2. It will ensure "equitable nationwide distribution of funding so that each state, territory, and the District of Columbia will receive funding.” Last year's program financed projects in 47 states, Washington, D.C., and Guam. 

3. The new program will have a set deadline for applicants instead of reviewing proposals on a rolling basis so that each application can be reviewed at the same time. 

4. It will award funding in two phases so approved projects can get funds quickly and the remaining projects can take the opportunity to submit more information to qualify for the second phase. 


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