On April 2nd, 2020 the FCC announced its COVID-19 Telehealth Program. In alignment with CMS’s recent telehealth expansion, the program consists of a $200 million fund. The fund is available to eligible providers to offset costs related to telehealth services provided to patients in response to COVID-19. The program assists providers in purchasing telecommunications, information services, and connected devices (e.g., broadband services supporting telehealth devices, pulse-ox, BP monitoring devices, etc.).
Eligible providers will need to submit an application to receive the funds from the FCC. The application form will be available once the notice of OMB’s approval of the program requirements is posted in the Federal Register. Applicants may be awarded up to $1 million from the FCC. The funds will be available until expended or the pandemic has ended, making it imperative for providers to submit their applications as soon as they become available. Advis has summarized the highlights of the program below, including who is eligible and how to apply.
Who is Considered an “Eligible Provider”?
Eligible providers are non-profit and public health care providers that fit within one of the following categories (for-profit entities are ineligible):
- Post-secondary educational institutions offering health care instruction, teaching hospitals, and medical schools;
- Community health centers or health centers providing health care to migrants;
- Local health departments or agencies;
- Community mental health centers;
- NFP hospitals;
- Rural health clinics;
- SNFs; or
- A health care entity consisting of one or more of the above seven categories.
Please note: Eligible providers who do not already possess an eligibility determination and are interested in applying for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program should complete an FCC Form 460 with the USAC. Eligible providers will still be able to submit their request for funding while awaiting approval of their Form 460.
How to Apply and Application Content
- Applications must be submitted through the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System and reference WC Docket No. 20-89. A copy of the application must also be submitted via email.
- Complete form titled: “The COVID-19 Telehealth Program Application and Request for Funding”.
- All applications should be addressed to the Commission’s Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, and contain the following information:
- Names, addresses, county, and health care provider numbers (if available), for health care providers seeking funding; and the lead health care provider, if application involves multiple providers.
- Telephone number, mailing address, and email for individual listed as the contact responsible for the application.
- Description of the anticipated connected care services to be provided, the conditions to be treated, and goals and objectives.
- Applicants should include a brief description during this section of how COVID-19 has impacted their area, their patient population, and the approximate number of patients that could be treated by the health care provider’s connected care services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Note: If applicant intends to use the funding to treat patients without COVID-19, the applicants should describe how this would free up their resources to treat COVID-19 patients or how it would prevent, prepare, or respond to the pandemic.
- Description of the estimated number of patients to be treated.
- Description of the telecommunications services, information services, or “devices necessary to enable the provision of telehealth services” requested, the total amount of funding requested, as well as the total monthly amount of funding requested for each eligible item.
- Note for Applications Requesting Funding for Devices: Applicant must include a description of all types of devices for which funding is requested, how the devices are integral to patient care, and whether the devices are for patient use or for the health care provider’s use.
- Supporting documentation for the costs (e.g., vendor or service provider quote, invoice).
- A timeline for use of proposed telehealth services and summary of tracking factors to measure the impact of the services and devices.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the funds have been exhausted or the pandemic has ended. The FCC intends to target areas that have been hit the hardest by COVID-19 and prioritize support to those applicants. The FCC will not award funds based on specific medical conditions, patient populations, or geographic areas. Applications should demonstrate how the telemedicine directly aids in assisting with the pandemic, whether by directly providing care to COVID-19 patients or by preventing the spread of the virus and promoting social distancing.
Advis strives to ensure its clients receive the funds necessary to assist patients during this crisis. Advis is happy to assist providers with the completion and submission of applications once the applications become available. If you have any questions or require any assistance with this or other COVID-19 funding opportunities, please contact Advis at 708-478-7030, or fill out our online form to pursue assistance.
Published: April 7, 2020