FCC proposes telehealth project in fight against COVID-19
Telehealth is proving a critical tool in the fight against coronavirus, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is hoping more doctors will be able to use it.
The coronavirus aid bill signed into law last week allocates $200 million for telehealth.
Now, the FCC is voting to allow health care providers across the country can apply for up to $1 million each for equipment and broadband services.
Commissioner Brendan Carr said telehealth allows coronavirus patients to speak to their doctor from the comfort of their home, decreasing the risk of exposing others to the virus.
Non-coronavirus patients can also receive treatment at home, leaving hospital resources available for coronavirus patients who need it.
“It’s really equivalent of this move from Blockbuster to Netflix, meaning you don’t have to go to a physical brick and mortar facility anymore to receive high quality care. You can get it right now on your smart phone, tablet, iPhone," Commissioner Carr said.
If the FCC approves the plan, health care providers will need to apply for the funding. Carr said the FCC would begin accepting applications immediately.
Besides the emergency funding to help fight the coronavirus outbreak, the commissioners are also voting on a $100 million project to provide healthcare providers support for telehealth services in the future.