FCC Lightens Telehealth Regs

Chairman says it will help in fight against coronavirus

The FCC has provided some regulatory relief for participants in its Rural Healthcare Program. 

Remote healthcare in the age of coronavirus is a big issue in Washington as social distancing and shelter-at-home become the new norm. 

Specifically, the FCC has extended the RHC application window to June 30, 2020, loosened competitive bidding requirements for healthcare providers with expiring contracts and extended deadlines for filing invoices, appeals and other deadlines. 

“The disruption to health care providers throughout the country as a result of this pandemic is indisputable and the FCC, alongside other federal agencies, is working to address these challenges head on,” said Chairman Ajit Pai of the changes. “Telemedicine continues to play a significant role in combating the ongoing pandemic, especially in rural areas. Today’s changes will allow health care providers to focus their attention on their immediate task at hand—addressing the influx of patients associated with the COVID-19 outbreak and continuing critical care for existing patients, thereby helping to control the spread of this serious pandemic. With our actions today, our hospitals and health care providers can devote more of their attention on continuing to meet the needs of their communities.”