FCC Sets Vote on $100M Telehealth Program for Rural U.S.

The FCC will vote next month on a $100 million program that aims to expand telehealth to rural patients and veterans by funding technology for providers.

The Federal Communications Commissions will vote next month on the Connected Care Pilot Program, an effort to develop and expand telehealth programs for the United States’ underserved rural residents and veterans that comes with a $100 million price tag. FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr announced the July 10th vote yesterday during a visit to a rural health clinic in Laurel Fork, VA.

The three-year program, which has the backing of multiple health organizations, focuses on funding healthcare providers through the Universal Service Fund to secure broadband services to enable low-income patients and veterans to access telehealth services.

“With advances in telemedicine, healthcare is no longer limited to the confines of traditional brick and mortar health care facilities 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,” Carr said in a statement released yesterday. He went on to explain that the program, which was revealed nearly a year prior to the proposed vote in July of 2018, “will focus on ensuring that low-income Americans and veterans can access this technology.”

The Connected Care Pilot Program aims to expand access to care, improve outcomes, and reduce costs by creating a “a model for the adoption of connected care technologies and bridging the doctor divide in rural America,” per the statement released by Carr.

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