FCC Approves Final Telehealth Fund Applications

Has allocated all $200 million from Congress’ COVID-19 aid package

The FCC has approved the final batch of telehealth fund applications through the CARES Act COVID-19 Telehealth Program. 

The legislation gave the FCC $200 million to go to healthcare providers for remote treatment and diagnostics. 

Related: FCC Approves Telehealth Funding Framework 

That was back in late March. The FCC signaled two weeks ago that it was not accepting any more applications because the ones in the pipeline already would likely more than account for the $200 million. 

The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau Wednesday (July 8) approved the last 25 applications totaling $10.73 million. Those applications were for rural and urban areas and from coast to coast, said FCC chairman Ajit Pai. 

The FCC has approved 539 applications from 47 states, D.C. and Guam. 

“In late March, Congress tasked the FCC with developing from scratch a new $200 million COVID-19 Telehealth Program to help combat COVID-19, support health care providers, and make it easier for Americans to safely access vital healthcare services,” said Pai. ” Credit for this tremendous accomplishment is due to Commission staff who went the extra mile to set up the program quickly and process funding requests promptly but thoroughly…” 

It is not clear how much of that money has gone out the door. Healthcare providers generally make the outlay upfront given the immediate need for equipment and connectivity during the pandemic, then will seek the funds from the FCC to cover those expenses. 

The money goes for laptop, smartphones, tablets, connectivity, network upgrades, videoconferencing equipment, software and more for medical, dental and behavioral health diagnoses and treatment.