The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it voted March 30 to reopen the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, a $249.95 million federal initiative that builds on the $200 million program established as part of the CARES Act enacted in March 2020. The COVID-19 Telehealth Program is a reimbursement program that allows healthcare providers to receive compensation for telehealth-related expenses with appropriate invoices and documentation. The new application window for the second round of funding is expected to open within 30 days of the order, and the FCC will provide advance notification of that date.
The COVID-19 Telehealth Program was created to help healthcare providers provide connected care services to patients at their homes or mobile locations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the relaunch of the program, the FCC announced that telehealth technology is a vital component of curbing inequities in access to healthcare services and that applications will be evaluated equitably to better ensure each state and territory can be approved for funding. Round 2 funding will prioritize low-income communities, tribal communities, areas with provider shortages and projects that were not approved during the Round 1 application. The second application process will differ from the first by having an application deadline meant to ensure all applications are reviewed, rather than applications being reviewed as submitted. The first round of funding for the program was depleted in July 2020 after issuing awards to 539 applicants. Members with questions should contact Renée Smiddy at the MHA.