The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week opened applications for its long-planned Connected Care Pilot, a new initiative focused on helping provide connected care services to low-income and veteran patients. This program will make $100 million available over three years to pay for broadband, network equipment, and information services. Eligible providers could have 85% of eligible costs reimbursed through this pilot program. Applications are open through Monday, December 7, 2020.
The program is open to most rural and non-rural providers. Public and non-profit providers or consortia of providers can apply, but the program is not open to private or for-profit entities. FCC will give strong preference to providers serving low income or veteran patients. There are some restrictions on the use of funds. Pilot funds can be used for connected care services and certain network equipment, such as telehealth platforms or video services, but not for end user devices, medical equipment, personnel, or training costs. Interested providers can learn more in this FCC FAQ.
Earlier this year, FCC awarded $200 million to health providers through a separate program, called the FCC COVID-19 telehealth program. This funding allowed providers to set up telehealth programs quickly in response to the pandemic. More than 500 practices received those funds including eight Caravan Health clients. Eligible providers who missed out on the earlier funding, and even those who were awarded funds, can apply for this pilot program. Awardees from the earlier FCC COVID-19 telehealth program can apply for the Connected Care Pilot as long as the funds are not used for the same expenses.