The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today announced that the Connected Care Pilot Program application window will open on November 6 at 12:00 p.m. ET and will remain open for 30 days through December 7, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The Public Notice also provides additional guidance concerning the application submission process, prerequisites for the submission of an application, and provides examples of services eligible for support. The Pilot Program will provide up to $100 million from the Universal Service Fund over a three-year period to support the provision of connected care services.
“In the past year, connectivity has become an increasingly critical component of delivering health care services in our country,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “Spearheaded by Commissioner Carr, our Connected Care Pilot Program explores how universal service support can provide next-level health care to our nation’s most vulnerable populations, including low-income Americans and veterans. With the opening of this application window, the FCC affirms its commitment to driving the future of health care delivery and supporting innovative pilot projects across the country.”
“I want to thank Chairman Pai for the chance to lead the FCC’s work on this telehealth initiative—one that will improve patient outcomes and drive down the costs of care for so many Americans,” said FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr.
The Commission adopted rules for the Connected Care Pilot Program on March 31, 2020. The Connected Care Pilot Program is open to nonprofit and public eligible health care providers, located anywhere in the country. Specifically, the Pilot Program will use Universal Service Fund monies to help defray the costs of connected care services for eligible health care providers, providing support for 85% of the cost of eligible services and network equipment, which include: (1) patient broadband Internet access services; (2) health care provider broadband data connections; (3) other connected care information services; and (4) certain network equipment. The Pilot Program will not provide funding for end-user devices.
On September 3, 2020, the FCC issued a Public Notice with guidance on program eligibility and information that applicants will be required to submit as part of their applications. An eligibility determination is required for each health care provider site that will be included in an application for the Pilot Program. Health care provider sites that the Universal Service Administrative Company has already deemed eligible to participate in the FCC’s Rural Health Care Program or COVID-19 Telehealth Program may rely on that eligibility determination for the Pilot Program.
The Commission will accept applications for the Pilot Program through an online application system available on the Universal Service Administrative Company’s website beginning Friday, November 6, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. ET. After the close of the application window, the Commission will make timely filed applications available in the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) under Docket No. WC 18-213.