(Pictured, above: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai)

The Federal Communications Commission today agreed to seek comments for 30 days on creating a new $100 million Connected Care Pilot Program to support telehealth for low-income Americans, especially those living in rural areas and veterans. If established, the program would support the expansion of broadband and promote the use of broadband-enabled telehealth services among low-income families and veterans, with a focus on services delivered directly to patients beyond the doors of brick-and-mortar health care facilities. The FCC seeks input on the design of the pilot program, including factors such as the types of telehealth pilot projects that should be funded and eligibility criteria for participating health care providers, broadband service providers and low-income consumers. “The AHA is pleased that the FCC has voted to seek input on a pilot proposal to expand broadband access for individuals to support connected care,” said AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels. “Hospitals and health systems increasingly use remote monitoring, and other technologies that depend on widespread access to broadband, to better manage care for patients with chronic conditions, support compliance with treatment plans and pre-empt acute episodes. In addition, for recently-discharged patients, remote monitoring reduces the likelihood of disruption and unnecessary readmissions. If properly designed and funded, this proposal would complement the existing Rural Health Care Program.”