FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has announced the agency will vote to advance a $100 million Connected Care Pilot Program, enabling telehealth expansion for low-income Americans nationwide. WHY IT MATTERS Speaking in rural Laurel Fork, Virginia, Carr announced that the new funding is meant to increase access to care to patients and veterans in remote areas such as Appalachia. Speaking in rural Laurel Fork, Virginia, Carr announced that the new funding is meant to increase access to care to patients and veterans in remote areas such as Appalachia.
“With advances in telemedicine, healthcare is no longer limited to the confines of traditional brick and mortar healthcare facilities,” said Carr in a statement. “I think the FCC should support this new trend towards connected care, which is the healthcare equivalent of moving from Blockbuster to Netflix. That’s why the FCC will vote to advance my $100 million pilot program at our July 10 meeting.”
He added that the program will “focus on ensuring that low-income Americans and veterans can access this technology, particularly in rural communities like Laurel Fork, where the nearest hospital is in a different state, access to telehealth can make a life-saving difference.”
FCC is set to vote on a notice of proposed rulemaking next month that will seek comment on several potential provisions, including $100 million in Universal Service Fund support that will help rural providers to defray the cost of offering remote care to low-income patients, including people in medically underserved areas and veterans.
The NPRM would also seek support for new pilot projects to seek innovation diabetes management, the opioid crisis, high-risk pregnancies, pediatric heart disease and cancer, according to the FCC. It would also offer an 85 percent discount on qualifying services for three years, along with efforts to assess the benefits, costs and savings enabled by telehealth and remote monitoring tools.