Coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected many aspects of our everyday lives – even areas we would have never predicted could be influenced. As a result, individuals are unable to provide for themselves and their families, and businesses are struggling to keep their doors open.
To support the lives of the American people, on March 27th, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This act provides over $2 trillion in economic relief for the American people affected by COVID-19. The four main sections of support are:
- Assistance for American Workers and Families
- Assistance for Small Businesses
- Preserving Jobs for American Industries
- Assistance for State and Local Governments
To read more about the CARES Act, visit: https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares
FCC Launches COVID-19 Telehealth Program
As a part of the CARES Act, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) initiated the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. This program provides $200 million in funding to assist health care providers transitioning care to at home and mobile visits. As of April 13th, all eligible health care providers can submit an online application to receive a portion of this funding.
This program can help fund your telecommunication services, information services, and devices necessary for continuing patient care for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations will receive funding on a first-come, first-served basis. The FCC has already begun to award funding.
To read more about organizations who have been awarded, visit: https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/fcc-announces-first-hospitals-win-covid-19-telehealth-program-funding
How to Know if You’re an Eligible Organization
The program is “limited to nonprofit and public eligible health care providers that fall within the categories of health care providers in section 254(h)(7)(B) of the 1996 Act” (FCC FAQs, Question 8). The eligible categories of health care providers include:
(1) post-secondary educational institutions offering healthcare instruction, teaching hospitals, and medical schools
(2) community health centers or health centers providing healthcare to migrants
(3) local health departments or agencies
(4) community mental health centers
(5) not-for-profit hospitals
(6) rural health clinics*
(7) skilled nursing facilities
(8) consortia of healthcare providers consisting of one or more entities falling into the first seven categories.
*Since the CARES Act authorizes the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, both rural and non-rural health clinics are eligible to receive support.
If you have more questions regarding the COVID-19 Telehealth program visit: https://www.fcc.gov/covid-19-telehealth-program-frequently-asked-questions-faqs
How to Apply
Before filling out an application, there are additional necessary steps you need to take.
1. Obtain an eligibility determination
- Navigate to My Portal from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC)
- Fill the FCC Form 460
- You do not need to be a rural health care provider to file the 460
- You can proceed to steps 2-4 while your FCC Form 460 is pending with USAC
Health care provider sites that USAC has already deemed eligible to participate in the Commission’s existing Rural Health Care (RHC) Programs may rely on that eligibility determination for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program.
2. Obtain an FCC Registration Number (FRN)
Your FRN will serve as you or your organization’s 10-digit identification number.
- Navigate to the Commission Registration System (CORES) to create your FRN, username, and account
- You will receive an automated email titled “FCC Account Request Verification” where you must verify your account email address before the account will be activated
- Once logged into CORES, select “Register New FRN” or “Associate Username to FRN” as applicable
- Provide the information as prompted, including your taxpayer identification number (TIN), and then click “Submit”
- CORES will generate a new FRN or associate your existing FRN with its account
3. Fill out the Application
Once completing these first two steps, you are now ready to fill out the online application.
4. Register with the Federal System for Award Management (SAM)
While you do not need to be registered with the SAM prior to submission of the application, it’s strongly encouraged that you get the process completed as soon as possible.
To read more about the Telehealth Program visit: https://www.fcc.gov/covid-19-telehealth-program
We’re Here to Help
Although COVID-19 has caused panic and uncertainty, the FCC’s Telehealth Program is an exciting tool to help extend patient care. Now is the time to embrace telehealth and what it can do for our country.
While updates and changes are coming at us regularly and we are all struggling to keep up, we want to assure you that we are here for you – Now, during the rest of the pandemic, and after the chaos calms into normality.
In the next few weeks, we will begin answering all your questions pertaining to COVID-19, on our online forum page. Also, to remember to put our mental health first, our Clinical Hiring Manager and Resident Guru, Erin Schepmann, will be leading regular meditation meetups on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Use the links below to navigate to each one of these pages.
Stay well. We will get through this.