The Federal Communication Commission should update its Rural Health Care Program to meet the growing demand for broadband telehealth services, the AHA said in comments submitted today. Specifically, AHA recommends the program increase the Healthcare Connect Fund and HCF discount percentage; reduce administrative burden; support consortium administrative expenses and remote patient monitoring; and reconsider how it defines an eligible rural area. “The AHA appreciates the Commission’s dedication to improving the administration of the RHC Program to meet the broadband connectivity needs of rural health care providers,” wrote Ashley Thompson, AHA senior vice president of public policy analysis and development. “With modest changes to the HCF, the FCC can incent greater participation and further expansion of broadband, closing this aspect of the digital divide, and improving the lives of rural Americans.” The comments were submitted in response to a public request for comments on how to accelerate access to broadband-enabled health care solutions in rural and other underserved areas.

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