Telehealth funding is available
Multiple sources of funding for Telehealth enablement are available, to close the digital divide
Telehealth has assumed an increasingly critical role in health care delivery as technology and improved broadband connectivity have enabled patients to access health care services without needing to visit a health care provider’s physical location. Despite the numerous benefits of connected care services to patients and healthcare providers alike, patients who cannot afford or who otherwise lack reliable, robust broadband Internet access connectivity, including many low-income Americans, are not realizing the benefits of these innovative technologies. Thus, as part of the enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Congress appropriated $ 200 million for the Federal Communications Commission to support health care providers' use of Telehealth services during the COVID-19 national emergency. In less than three weeks, the application process was created, requests were processed, and the first set of funding was allocated on April 16th. Since then, eligible healthcare providers in some of the hardest hit areas in the country, ranging from small private clinics, to large hospitals, have been granted funding they will use to bolster their telecommunications and information services, and, perhaps most importantly, provide their most vulnerable patients with telehealth-enabled devices and connectivity to allow them to participate in telehealth visits.
This FCC program is crucial in ensuring that at-risk populations are adequately connected, and that telehealth access is extended to all of the healthcare providers’ client communities, whether for treatment of coronavirus or other health conditions during the pandemic. The FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, has added that telehealth “promotes social distancing, protects the safety of health care professionals and patients, and frees up space in healthcare facilities for those who need it most”.
As of June 10th, 305 healthcare providers have received grants, located in 42 states, plus Washington D.C., for a total of about $105 million.
- New York received the largest amount of funding, a total of $18 million across 47 providers. Ohio came second, with 25 providers receiving $7 million.
- The Northeast received the 39% of the funding.
- Grant amounts have ranged from as little as $ 1,468 (Legacy Medical Care in Illinois) to as high as $1 Million, the maximum amount which has been allocated to 12 organizations
- The average amount of funding is $ 341,556.
[Insert graphics based on the data – example is a pie chart – FCC awardees by type (hospitals, academic, large clinics, small clinics)
“From Maine to Navajo Nation, Washington to Florida, and Minnesota and Mississippi, we are seeing the program’s positive impact on the health and wellness of communities” attests FCC Chairman Pai.
Furthermore, it is important to note that during this difficult time, the program has focused as much on mental health services as it has on physical health, allocating funds to more than 100 mental and behavioral healthcare providers. The FCC assures providers and communities that it will keep acting quickly to review and approve funding applications so that more patients can be treated safely at home. The COVID-19 Telehealth Program is one piece of the FCC’s comprehensive approach to reducing barriers to telehealth services for healthcare providers and their patients throughout the country.
Sano Health’s telehealth enablement solution is being used by a number of FCC funding recipients.
To learn more:
For more information about the FCC grant: https://www.fcc.gov/covid-19-telehealth-program