Telehealth May Get Another Boost from Congress Telehealth Buzz

Telehealth May Get Another Boost from Congress

  • On Friday the Healthcare Broadband Expansion During COVID-19 Act was introduced by Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Don Young (R-AK) to enhance telehealth services during COVID-19.
  • The Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Healthcare Connect Fund Program currently subsidizes the cost of broadband for rural healthcare facilities.
  • The Act increases the FCC subsidiary rate from 60% to 85% for eligible public and nonprofit rural health care facilities.
  • Forty-eight health care organizations, including USTelecom, support the bill.
  • Read the full story here.

FCC Guidelines for Receiving Telehealth Funds

  • The CARES Act authorized healthcare providers to apply for funding from the COVID-19 Telehealth Fund.
  • The FCC has issued a document outlining steps healthcare providers must take when applying for funds.
  • Additionally, the FCC issues final rules for the Connected Care Pilot Program, approved last July.
  • The Connected Care Pilot Program will disperse $100 million over three years to provide connected healthcare to underserved communities.
  • Not all FCC Commissioners are in favor of the two programs: some have been vocal about their beliefs that the approval process was rushed and ultimately a move by the FCC to take advantage of the current crisis.
  • Read the full story here.

Medicinal Marijuana Certificates Now Available Through Telehealth in Arkansas

  • COVID-19 has brought an increase in medicinal-marijuana purchases in Arkansas, promoting the state to adjust the rules for obtaining a certificate.
  • Patients will now be able to obtain medicinal marijuana certificates without having to physically visit a clinic; they can now use telehealth options instead. 
  • Expiration dates on patient cards are also extended while the state of emergency remains in effect.
  • Read the full story here.

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