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Friday, May 1, 2020

COVID-19 Telehealth Disbursements for Health Care Providers


What is the COVID-19 Telehealth Program?

As the COVID-19 crisis has triggered shelter-in-place orders throughout our nation, health care providers are rushing to serve their patients by implementing and performing telehealth services in short order. Not only do telehealth services minimize the use of personal protective equipment (“PPE”), they allow for providers and patients to do their part by minimizing the spread of the virus.

Upon the CARES Act being signed into law, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) was awarded $200M to carry out the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The goal of the program is to provide support to eligible health care providers in implementing telehealth services by funding the purchase of telecommunications, information services and connected devices.


Who is an eligible service provider?

An eligible health care provider is one that meets the definition of 47 U.S.C. 254(h)(7)(B):

  • Post-secondary educational institutions offering healthcare instruction, teaching hospitals and medical schools
  • Community health centers or health centers providing health care to migrants
  • Local health departments or agencies
  • Community mental health centers
  • Not-for-profit hospitals
  • Rural health clinics
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Consortia of health care providers listed above

What are eligible devices and purchases?

Eligible health care providers may receive funding to purchase internet services, voice services, information services and connected devices. The FCC recently released FAQs listing the following purchases as qualified for funding:

  • Internet connectivity for providers and patients
  • Voice services for providers and patients
  • Remote monitoring platforms and services
  • Patient-reported outcome platforms
  • Store and forward services
  • Connected care devices
    • Tablets and smart phones
    • Remote blood pressure monitors

How do I apply for funding?

As specified by a recent Public Notice issued by the FCC, interested providers should obtain an eligibility determination from the Universal Service Administration Company (“USAC”), obtain an FCC Registration Number (FRN), register with the System for Award Management, register with the Invoice Processing Platform (“IPP”) and submit an application to the FCC.


What information will I need to apply with the FCC?

Pages 4-6 of the Public Notice provide details regarding the information needed in your application. The key to having your application accepted is to clearly illustrate and articulate the following:

  • How has COVID-19 impacted your geographic location?
  • How will the telehealth services benefit your patients and the general population? E.g., the use of telehealth service in your area will minimize the usage of PPE and conserve this for COVID-19 related situations.

How does funding work?

Health care providers that receive funding will be required to submit a reimbursement request. This process consists of submitting invoicing forms and attaching the following documents via the IPP:

  • Request for Reimbursement Form
  • Invoices, vendor and service provider quotes, and similar documentation

After the reimbursement request is approved, payment will be issued to the health care provider electronically.


For the latest regulatory changes and other information on keeping your organization running through disruption, visit our COVID-19 Resource Center.

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