The FCC has taken steps to assist participants in its Rural Health Care Program as part of its work to ensure that hospitals and health care providers have the resources to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. As part of a Thursday order, the FCC has extended the RHC Program filing window through June 30; eased bidding requirements for health care providers with expiring evergreen contracts; and extended various deadlines.
The Rural Health Care Program provides funding to health care providers for telecommunications and broadband services needed to provide care. The FCC has also issued a Keep Americans Connected pledge for broadband and telephone providers in response to the coronavirus epidemic.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said this action allows hospitals and health care providers to focus more attention on responding to the situation at hand.
“The disruption to health care providers throughout the country as a result of this pandemic is indisputable and the FCC, alongside other federal agencies, is working to address these challenges head on,” Pai said. “Telemedicine continues to play a significant role in combating the ongoing pandemic, especially in rural areas. Today’s changes will allow health care providers to focus their attention on their immediate task at hand—addressing the influx of patients associated with the COVID-19 outbreak and continuing critical care for existing patients, thereby helping to control the spread of this serious pandemic.”
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