Q&A: Commissioner Brendan Carr on FCC's telehealth programs for COVID-19, underserved patients

With COVID-19 bearing down on America, the Federal Communications Commission has amplified its commitment to outfit providers with telehealth devices and services.

The beginning of April saw the Commission propose and approve the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, an initiative that uses $200 million appropriated by Congress to bankroll telecommunications equipment for eligible healthcare organizations.

And as the pandemic grows in size with each passing day, the FCC’s latest program has been moving at a rapid clip. The commission kicked off the application process on Monday, and just yesterday announced the first six healthcare providers approved to receive funding.

At the same time, the FCC has also been pushing steadily forward with its Connected Care Pilot Program. Introduced way back in 2018, this effort seeks to bring telemedicine care to those who are low income, veterans or people living in underserved rural areas. All five commissioners voted unanimously to move forward with the program last summer, and within the last few weeks began reviewing its final rules.

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