Skip to main content
Top Button
Round 2 of Funding Announced for COVID-19 Telehealth Program to Support Health Care Providers and Pa Round 2 of Funding Announced for COVID-19 Telehealth Program to Support Health Care Providers and Pa

Round 2 of Funding Announced for COVID-19 Telehealth Program to Support Health Care Providers and Patients

On March 30, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) announced a Report and Order of its plan to initiate a second round (“Round 2”) of funding for its COVID-19 Telehealth program. Established under the federal CARES Act, our prior article outlines the purpose of the program as well as the processes to apply for and administer funds.

As background, the FCC adopted the $200 million telehealth program to support health care providers responding to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The program was limited to nonprofit and public health care providers that fall within the applicable categories of health care providers.

With demand far exceeding the initial funding, Congress appropriated an additional $250 million in funding for Round 2 as part of the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act (the “Act”). The Act further ensures a more equitable distribution of funds and sought public comment on ways to improve the program’s application process.

As outlined in detail in the Report and Order, primary changes to Round 2 are:
  • Filing Window — The FCC will establish a timeframe to review applications based on pre-defined metrics prior to selecting awardees. This differs from Round 1 in which applications were reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis, leading to Round 1 funds being depleted by July 2020. Additionally, applicants will receive status updates, a rationale for funding decisions, and opportunities to provide additional information should an applicant receive notice of an intent to deny funding as directed by Congress in the Act.
  • Process and Eligibility — Round 1 applicants who did not receive funding will receive preference in Round 2 applications and also have the ability to update their prior application. Eligibility rules for health care provider applicants will not change and any Round 2 applicant without an approved eligibility determination will be required to submit an FCC Form 460.
  • Evaluation Process — The FCC has now created clear metrics with a scoring mechanism to evaluate Round 2 applications. Applicants who demonstrate the following metrics are prioritized: (1) Hardest-Hit Area; (2) Low-Income Area; (3) Round 1 Unfunded Applicant; (3) Tribal Community; (4) Critical Access Hospital; (5) Federally Qualified Health Center, Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike, or a Disproportionate Share Hospital; (6) Health Provider Shortage Area; (7) Round 2 New Applicant; and (8) Rural County. At the direction of Congress in the Act, the FCC will ensure there is at least one applicant in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Funding Commitment Process — Round 2 funding will be awarded in two phases. First, the initial commitment phase will provide $150 million to the highest-scoring applicants. Second, there will be a 10-day period for applicants to supplement their existing application before scores are re-calculated.
For more information about federal broadband initiatives, please contact Lindsay Miller or George Hornedo. For more information about health care, please contact Taryn Stone. For additional resources and information regarding the coronavirus, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Center.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.
View Full Site View Mobile Optimized