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FCC Announces 11th Batch of COVID-19 Telehealth Program Awards

By June 19, 2020No Comments

Mobile healthcare, telemedicine, telehealth, BYOD

By Eric Wicklund

As Congress asks for more transparency from the agency, another 62 telehealth projects are approved for funding, bringing the total to $128.23 million for 367 programs in 45 states and Washington DC

– The Federal Communications Commission has approved another 62 applications from healthcare providers for funding from the COVID-19 Telehealth Program.

With its 11th set of applications, the FCC has awarded $128.23 million from the $200 million program to 367 connected health programs in 45 states and Washington DC.

(For more coronavirus updates, visit our resource page, updated twice daily by Xtelligent Healthcare Media.)

The announcement comes as the FCC faces increasing scrutiny from Congress over the program, which was launched out of the CARES Act at the end of March.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai last week, US Reps Frank Pallone Jr (D-NJ) and Michael Doyle Jr. (D-PA) called for the agency to provide weekly updates, beginning this week, on the number of applications received for funding from the $200 million program, as well as those approved for funding, those not approved for funding and the amount of money dispersed to healthcare providers.

“While the FCC has posted weekly updates of funding awards, we are troubled by the lack of transparency regarding the health care providers who have applied but have not yet received an award,” Pallone, chair of the Commerce and Energy Committee, and Doyle, chair of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, wrote. “We have heard reports that many health care providers are facing issues obtaining funds, particularly those serving tribal lands.”

“Similarly, health care providers report they have been unable to receive funding for some important telehealth equipment that we believe should be covered under the law,” they added.

The COVID-19 Telehealth Program is not a grant program. To receive disbursements, healthcare providers will be required to submit an invoicing form and supporting documentation to receive reimbursement for eligible telemedicine and mHealth expenses and services.

The latest group of approved applications, as usual, includes a mix of large and small providers, from clinics and programs to hospitals and health systems, all looking for support to expand telemedicine and mHealth technology platforms to meet the demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

This list includes Miami’s Baptist Hospital, Florida’s Citrus Health Network, the Hearts for Hearing Foundation in Oklahoma City, Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System, the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, Marshfield Medical Center in Wisconsin, Cleveland’s Metrohealth System, the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, the Providence St. Joseph Health Consortium in Washington, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadelphia, University of Colorado Health, here hospitals in the UPMC network and the West Virginia United Health System.