FCC announces $200 million program to support telehealth consultations

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announces $200 million plan to support telehealthcare in the US.

On Monday, the FCC's chairman announced the agency's plan for a $200 Million COVID-19 Telehealth Program aimed to support virtual healthcare services across the US.

To reduce human-to-human contact and the possibility of transmitting the highly contagious COVID-19 virus, FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced the agency's plan to invest $200 million to support telehealth programs nationwide. If this program is put into action, it would "help eligible health care providers purchase telecommunications, broadband, connectivity and devices necessary for providing telehealth services."

The initiative consists of two programs: the COVID-19 Telehealth Program and the Connected Care Pilot Program. The former would provide coronavirus care providers with support in purchasing the products and services necessary to allow them to launch digitized consultations.

On the other hand, the Connected Care Pilot Program is a pilot program which "would provide universal service support to help defray health care providers' qualifying costs of providing connected care services." Facilities that care for low-income and veteran patients would be prioritized. Select care providers' expenses related to telehealthcare like broadband connectivity and network equipment would be covered 85%.

Both programs would require healthcare providers to submit an application to be considered for program participation.