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CARES Act Funding and Support for Telehealth

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Congress is expanding reimbursement for telehealth as virtual care becomes the new standard response to the demands of the coronavirus pandemic. Jollitot’s virtual care solution meets the eligibility requirements for many of these funding opportunities, and we are available to help you understand and take full advantage of these reimbursements.

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Jollitot's OB Connect Virtual Visits

Overview of FCC Telehealth Programs

Through the CARES Act, Congress appropriated $200 million for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), “to support efforts of healthcare providers to address coronavirus by providing telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to enable the provision of telehealth services” during the pendency of COVID-19. On April 2, 2020, the FCC issued an order establishing a new, short-term program to distribute that money: the COVID-19 Telehealth Program.

What is the COVID-19 Telehealth Program?

The COVID-19 Telehealth Program will be open to eligible healthcare providers, whether located in rural or non-rural areas, and will provide eligible healthcare providers support to purchase Jollitot’s “connected care services” in response to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Telehealth Program will provide applicants full funding for Jollitot’s services and devices. The $200 million will be awarded on a rolling basis until the funding is exhausted or until the current pandemic has ended. Grants are not expected to exceed $1 million per applicant. 

Applications are now being accepted at https://www.fcc.gov/covid-19-telehealth-program.

What Services are Eligible?

The order defines “connected care services” eligible for support as telehealth services that use broadband internet access service-enabled technologies to deliver remote medical, diagnostic, patient-centered, and/or treatment-related services directly to patients outside of traditional brick-and-mortar medical facilities—including to patients in their homes, rather than at a healthcare provider’s physical location.

Services include, but are not limited to, remote patient monitoring, patient health education, store and forward services (e.g., asynchronous transfer of patient images and data for interpretation by a physician), and synchronous video consultations and visits.

Are You Eligible for this Program?

Consistent with the law governing the USF healthcare support programs, the FCC has identified the following as eligible for funding under the COVID-19 program:

● Post-secondary educational institutions offering healthcare instruction, teaching hospitals, and medical schools;

● Community health centers or health centers providing healthcare to migrants;

● Local health departments or agencies;

● Community mental health centers;

● Not-for-profit hospitals;

● Rural health clinics;

● Skilled nursing facilities; and

● Consortia of healthcare providers consisting of one or more entities falling into the first seven categories.

An important difference from existing FCC programs, however, is that non-rural entities may directly participate without needing to be part of a consortium of rural entities. Each separate site or location of a healthcare provider is considered an individual healthcare provider site for eligibility determination purposes.

FCC Announces First Healthcare Providers to Win Funding

Just days after the application period opened, some $3.23 million of the $200 million program has already been approved to help health systems deploy telehealth technology.

Grady Memorial Hospital – Atlanta. It was awarded $727,747 to be used for video visits, virtual check-ins, remote patient monitoring and in-hospital e-visits, with the aim of reducing the use of personal protective equipment during the pandemic.

● Hudson River HealthCare – Peekskill, New York. It will use $753,367 to expand its frontline COVID-19 testing and treatment programs, which FCC notes serve a large volume of low-income, uninsured, and/or underinsured patients in the Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island.

● Mount Sinai Health System – New York City. The $312,500 from the COVID-19 Telehealth Program will provide connected devices and services to high-risk geriatric and palliative patients across the five boroughs of NYC.

● Neighborhood Health Care – Cleveland. Its $244,282 will go toward connected devices and remote patient monitoring tools to help patients and families impacted by COVID-19 in the Cleveland’s West Side neighborhoods, especially low-income patients with chronic conditions.

● Ochsner Clinic Foundation – New Orleans. It was awarded $1,000,000 to deploy wider telehealth services and distributed connected devices to high-risk patients and vulnerable populations to help slow the spread of the virus in both Louisiana and Mississippi.

● UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh. It will use $192,500 to roll out telehealth services for children whose organ transplants have made them immunocompromised and at high risk for COVID-19.

How Do You Apply to Get Your Share of Funding?

To include Jollitot’s services in the grant request and be considered for participation in the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, interested eligible healthcare providers must submit their applications at https://www.fcc.gov/covid-19-telehealth-program. Please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] for help on completing your application and request on info such as detailed pricing proposal, including cost per patient, and monthly fees that may be asked in the application.

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