FCC To Fund $400M Yearly For Rural Telehealth Networks

Mary Mosquera | Government Health IT | January 9, 2013

The Federal Communications Commission will make $400 million available annually to healthcare providers to expand the development of broadband telehealth networks from a pilot to a permanent program. The pilot program has supported 50 provider healthcare networks in 38 states.

The telehealth networks will link urban medical centers to rural clinics or offer instant access to electronic health records (EHRs). The agency will begin accepting applications for the grants in late summer, according to the Jan.7 announcement by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

The fund will enable thousands of new providers across the country to benefit from connectivity to improve the delivery of care and dramatically cut costs for both hospitals and the FCC's Universal Service Fund, which underwrites advanced telecommunications services. Many other providers will have the means to upgrade their connections...