COVID-19 Broadband Resources: Healthcare Providers


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Funding

USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program

Funding Available: $72 Million in Application Window 2
Application Deadline: July 13, 2020
Website: https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/distance-learning-telemedicine-grants

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The USDA opened a second application window for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program. This window includes an additional $25 million appropriated through the CARES Act. Funds not awarded in round one will be rolled over into round two.

The USDA held a webinar on May 5, 2020, to update participants on the changes in the program, review eligibility and regulatory requirements and provide guidance on how to submit a successful application.

Important links:

Office of E-Health Innovation Telemedicine Funding

Funding Available: $2 Million
Application Deadline: May 15, 2020
Website: https://www.colorado.gov/OeHI

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Up to $2 million has been awarded to the Office of eHealth Innovation (OeHI) for grants for existing and new telemedicine projects. The application window closed May 15, 2020. This new funding will increase access to health care and slow the spread of COVID-19 through coordinated access and use of telemedicine. Lessons learned from these funded projects will inform longer-term telemedicine policies and infrastructure to emergency response and coordinated care.

OeHI’s goal is to disperse telemedicine grant funding for select projects that advance the state’s immediate COVID emergency response needs via telemedicine and inform longer term telemedicine infrastructure and policy efforts. Telemedicine includes all forms of communication as outlined in HCPF’s Emergency Telemedicine Policy Changes. Per the emergency CMS federal fund match, all projects are required to be completed by September 30, 2020. 

Submitted projects will be reviewed and evaluated against criteria established by OeHI and HCPF. Entities that meet this criteria will be given priority consideration. Select organizations may be invited to present more detailed proposals to OeHI and HCPF.

COVID-19 Telehealth Program

Funding Available: $200 Million
Application Deadline: Funding determinations will be made on a rolling basis until program’s funds have been expended or the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.
Website: https://www.fcc.gov/covid-19-telehealth-program

More Information

On April 9, 2020, the $200M COVID-19 Telehealth Program rules (funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act) were published by the FCC in the Federal Register.

The FCC began accepting applications for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program on April 13, 2020. The Program is limited to nonprofit and public eligible health care providers and the Commission does not anticipate awarding more than $1 million to any single applicant.

Instructions on how to file, FAQs, and other application guidance are available on the COVID-19 Telehealth Program page.

To date, the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program has funded 132 health care providers in 34 states for a total of $50.13 million in funding. Three Colorado healthcare providers have received awards from the COVID-19 Telehealth Program:

  • On April 29, 2020, Valley-Wide Health Systems, Inc., in Alamosa, Colorado, was awarded $46,437 to implement video telehealth services to provide virtual health visits for COVID-19 screening and primary medical care to its vulnerable low-income and elderly patients.
  • On April 29, 2020, Children’s Hospital Colorado, in Aurora, Colorado, with 14 locations throughout the state, was awarded $807,090 to implement telehealth services to provide continuity of medical care for children, adolescents, and young adults with complex pediatric illnesses in the Rocky Mountain region.
  • On May 20, 2020, Clinica Colorado, in Westminster, Colorado, was awarded $10,231 for connected devices and network enhancements to provide telehealth via telephone and video conferencing for patients with chronic and acute conditions and to assess if patients need to be directed to a COVID-19 testing facility.

Rural Health Care (RHC): Additional Relief Provided to HCPs Due to COVID-19

On March 26, 2020, the FCC released an Order, granting additional relief to Rural Health Care (RHC) Program participants to ensure that health care providers (HCPs) have the resources they need to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More Information

Specifically, the Order takes the following actions:

  1. extends the FY2020 RHC Program application filing window until June 30, 2020;
  2. eases competitive bidding requirements for HCPs with expiring evergreen contracts; and
  3. provides an extension of procedural deadlines to respond to information requests, to deliver non-recurring services in the HCF Program, to file invoices in the HCF Program, and to file appeals to USAC and the FCC.

For more information, review the one-page summary of FCC Order DA 20-345

Connected Care Pilot Program

Funding Available: $100 Million
Application Deadline: Deadline has not been announced
Website: https://www.usac.org/rural-health-care/additional-program-guidance/covid-19-response/

More Information

On March 31, 2020, the FCC adopted final rules to stand up a Connected Care Pilot Program. This three-year Pilot Program will provide up to $100 million of support from the Universal Service Fund (USF) to help defray health care providers’ costs of providing connected care services and to help assess how the USF can be used in the long-term to support telehealth.

The program will provide an 85% match and eligible costs include broadband connectivity, network equipment and information services to provide connected care to target groups. Priority will be given to low-income and veteran patients. 

The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) will determine eligibility for the program using the existing FCC Form 460. Participants can be located in rural and non-rural areas, but must meet the other RHC Program eligibility requirements. Eligible health care providers can then submit applications for the Connected Care Pilot Program.


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