FCC has finally made its move to fund over USD 300 million for telehealth services and telehealth programs.
FCC Actions Prove To Be Instrumental Towards Fight Against COVID-19
The FCC has approved over $200 million in telehealth funding for the healthcare providers responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Backed with federal funding that is made available through the CARES Act, the COVID-19 Telehealth Program will be able to help providers pay for the broadband connectivity, personnel, and devices that are required to provide remote healthcare.
Hospitals and health centers all over will be able to apply for up to 1 million USD in terms of funding; applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis. Priority, however, will be given to areas with the highest rates of COVID-19, such as New York, as well as traditionally underfunded healthcare providers like clinics in deprived areas, as TechCrunch has stated.
Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman, said in a statement "With the adoption of the $200 million COVID-19 Telehealth Program, the FCC can now take immediate steps to provide funding so that more patients can be treated at home, freeing up valuable hospital beds for those who most need them and reducing the risk of exposure to the virus,"
The FCC approved the funding quickly, less than a week after it was announced. There might be a problem. However, the price for the swiftness of the approval may be a lack of guidance. Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said, "This is a well-intended effort, but it lacks clear performance metrics," and also added, "Moreover, it does not focus on a specific problem in healthcare,"
Another Approved FCC Initiative
The FCC also adopted rules for the so-called Connected Care Pilot Program, another separate, three-year program that will be given $100 million for funds to help offset the remaining cost of providing virtual care. One of the goals of the pilot is to determine how the FCC's Universal Service Fund can be used to support the long-term telehealth. Specifically, the program will emphasize providing care to people who need it, such as veterans and low-income Americans.
Medicare has also expanded telehealth coverage nationwide due to the coronavirus pandemic. Medicare previously covered telehealth in the rural areas; patients still had to go travel to specifically-designated sites for their visits. Thankfully, millions of older Americans can now be able to seek medical advice all from the safety of their own homes, and no longer required to go out to do so. This FCC funding will allow more healthcare providers the means to support and equip themselves on the ongoing pandemic around the world.
If you want to know more about other things the government has done to help aid the fight against COVID-19 and be inspired by the willingness of others to help, go to this link to know more.