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FCC Chairman proposes $200 million COVID-19 telehealth program
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FCC Chairman proposes $200 million COVID-19 telehealth program

US Federal Communications Commission Chairman (FCC) Ajit Pai on Monday announced his plan for a $200 million COVID-19 Telehealth Program to support health care providers responding to the ongoing pandemic.

As part of the CARES Act, Congress appropriated $200 million to the FCC to support health care providers’ use of telehealth services in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. If the project is adopted by the FCC, “it would help eligible health care providers purchase telecommunications equipment, broadband access and devices necessary for remote health services.” Such services would benefit COVID-19 patients and provide care to patients with other conditions who might risk contracting the coronavirus when visiting a healthcare provider.

Pai called on fellow Commissioners to vote promptly to adopt the draft order so that immediate steps can be taken to give health care providers access to telehealth services. “As we self-isolate and engage in social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth will continue to become more and more important across the country. Our nation’s health care providers are under incredible, and still increasing, strain as they fight the pandemic.”

The Chairman further proposed a longer term Connected Care Pilot Program that would study telehealth services and make available up to $100 million of universal service support over three years to expand telehealth access.

For more on COVID-19, see our special coverage.