FCC Commissioner Advances $100 Million Telehealth Initiative at Event in Appalachia

Today, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr visited a community health care clinic in rural Laurel Fork, Virginia which sits in the southwest corner of the state.  Carr announced that the FCC will be voting at its July 10th meeting to advance a $100 million Connected Care Pilot Program to support telehealth for low-income Americans across the country, including those living in rural areas and veterans.  At the clinic, two patients with diabetes demonstrated how they are using remote monitoring technologies to improve their health. “With advances in telemedicine, health care is no longer limited to the confines of traditional brick and mortar health care facilities,” said Commissioner Carr.  “With an Internet connection, patients can now access high-quality care right on their smartphones, tablets, or other devices regardless of where they are located.  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.  It 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…”

The FCC will vote on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at its July Open Meeting that seeks comment on:

Budgeting for $100 million in USF support for health care providers to defray the qualifying costs of connected care services for low-income patients, including people in medically underserved areas and veterans.

Targeting support for innovative pilot projects to respond to a variety of health challenges, including diabetes management, opioid dependency, high-risk pregnancies, pediatric heart disease, and cancer. Providing an 85% discount on qualifying services for a three-year period with controls in place to measure and verify the benefits, costs, and savings associated with connected care technologies.

Collecting relevant data to enable stakeholders to better understand the impact of telehealth and consider broader reforms that can support the trend toward connected care…” Read the full press release here.

Source: Carr Advances $100 Million Telehealth Initiative at Event in Appalachia – June 19, 2019. FCC.

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