On March 31, 2020, the FCC adopted a Report and Order to implement the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The Program was established in the CARES Act, and the FCC was appropriated $200 million to provide to eligible medical facilities to provide telehealth services to their patients.
A more detailed discussion of the FCC’s Report and Order creating the Program, and a discussion of the procedures to apply for funding, can be found here and here. The Program’s intended purpose is to provide emergency funding for expenses arising from the COVID-19 pandemic that fall outside of the normal procurement process. Under the new program, non-profit hospitals, teaching hospitals, rural health clinics and skilled nursing facilities can apply for funds from the FCC to be used for voice and internet service, remote patient monitoring platforms, and Internet-connected devices and equipment.
The window for submitting applications opened on Monday, April 13th, and the FCC announced today that the first wave of applications had been granted. Below is a summary of each approved funding proposal:
- Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, was awarded $727,747 to implement telehealth video visits, virtual check-ins, remote patient monitoring, and e-visits to patient’s hospital rooms, which it said would enable it to continue to provide high quality patient care, keep patients safe in their homes, and reduce the use of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Hudson River HealthCare, Inc., in Peekskill, New York, was awarded $753,367 for telehealth services to expand its COVID-19 testing and treatment programs serving a large volume of low-income, uninsured, and/or underinsured patients throughout southeastern New York State, encompassing the Hudson Valley, New York City, and Long Island.
- Mount Sinai Health System, in New York City, was awarded $312,500 to provide telehealth devices and services to geriatric and palliative patients who are at high risk for COVID-19 throughout New York City’s five boroughs.
- Neighborhood Health Care, Inc., in Cleveland, Ohio, was awarded $244,282 to provide telemedicine, connected devices, and remote patient monitoring to patients and families impacted by COVID-19 in Cleveland’s West Side neighborhoods, targeting low-income patients with chronic conditions.
- Ochsner Clinic Foundation, in New Orleans, Louisiana, was awarded $1,000,000 for telehealth services and devices to serve high-risk patients and vulnerable populations in Louisiana and Mississippi, to treat COVID-19 patients, and to slow the spread of the virus to others.
- UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh was awarded $192,500 to provide telehealth services to children who have received organ transplants and are thus immune-compromised and at high risk for COVID-19.
The FCC will continue to process applications until the earlier of (i) granting proposals for the full $200 million budgeted; or (ii) the end of the national emergency.
Even though the FCC stated that it would likely not grant proposals for more than $1 million, considering the rapid processing and approval of the first seven applications, interested parties will want to move quickly to submit their applications.