The Federal Communications Commission adopted a telehealth program to help health care providers respond to the coronavirus pandemic using $200 million it received under the recently enacted stimulus bill.
“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,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement.
The program will cover all telehealth costs for public hospitals, community health centers and other public and non-profit health care providers. The agency would approve funding requests until the money is depleted or the pandemic ends.
The FCC also adopted a separate three-year pilot program that would steer up to $100 million of its universal service funds to reduce telehealth costs for providers.
The pilot program “will help us to look to the future and determine how universal service support can shepherd telehealth services into a new era of healthcare delivery,” Pai said.