Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai today, as urged by the AHA, asked his colleagues to approve quickly an order that would increase funding for the Rural Health Care Program by $171 million. “This money will help health care providers get the connectivity they need to better serve patients throughout rural America,” Pai said. “Demand for funding has been outpacing the program’s funding cap, so I also believe that the increased cap should apply to the current funding year so that rural health care providers can be fully reimbursed.” The order would, if approved, increase the program’s annual cap to $571 million. The increase represents what the funding level would be today had the cap, which was established in 1997, included an inflation adjustment. The order also would adjust the cap annually for inflation and allow unused funds from prior years to be carried forward to future years. “We greatly appreciate the action and commitment by Chairman Pai to meet the broadband connectivity needs of rural health care providers,” said AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels. “This funding is critical to improve the lives of rural Americans now more than ever since innovations in health care demand connectivity for telehealth, remote monitoring, patient engagement and daily operations.”

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