The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act authorized $200 million in grants for telehealth.  On April 2, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, and invited applications from nonprofit health care entities to fund Telehealth services.  As health care providers deal with rapidly expanding numbers of COVID-19 patients, telehealth can help to:

  • Provide remote assistance to patients who worry that they may have COVID-19 and need advice on whether to get tested, stay at home or seek care
  • Connect hospitalized COVID-19 patients with their families
  • Allow remote monitoring of COVID-19 patients, and of other patients with chronic health conditions
  • Allow patients other than COVID-19 patients to receive care remotely while avoiding exposure to COVID-19.

As of May 6, 2020, the FCC has awarded almost $25 million in grants under the COVID-19 Telehealth Program.  Grants have been awarded to 56 entities in five tranches.  Recipients include health centers, hospitals, health systems and health departments.  The FCC has stated that in order to allow a large number of applicants to receive funding under the program, it did not anticipate awarding more than $1 million to any applicant.  Grants of $1 million have been awarded to the Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  Other substantial grants (in excess of $700,000) were awarded to the following:

  • Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta
  • Hudson River HealthCare, Inc., in Peekskill, New York
  • Bayan Community Health Center in Coral Gables, Florida
  • Health Partners of Western Ohio 
  • NYU Langone Health in New York
  • Christiana Care Health Services in Newark, Delaware
  • NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York
  • Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colorado
  • Institute for Family Health in New Paltz, New York
  • Community Health Centers of Burlington in Vermont
  • Kennedy Krieger Children's Hospital, Inc. in Baltimore
  • MA FQHC Telehealth Consortium in Boston
  • Mount Sinai Hospital in New York
  • Navajo Nation Department of Health

Many recipients serve medically underserved populations, and anticipate using telehealth to provide care to high risk and vulnerable patients with chronic conditions.  Funding will be used for connected devices, remote patient monitoring and equipment for video telemedicine visits.