BACKGROUND ON THE PROGRAM
- What is the COVID-19 Telehealth Program?
The Federal Communications Commission (Commission or FCC) adopted the $200 million COVID-19 Telehealth Program in a Report and Order released April 2, 2020. The COVID-19 Telehealth Program was established by the Commission in response to the public health emergency brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this program, the Commission will distribute the $200 million Congress appropriated under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to help health care providers provide telehealth services to patients at their homes or mobile locations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Is this a grant program?
No, the COVID-19 Telehealth Program is not a grant program. To receive disbursements, eligible health care providers that are approved for funding will be required to submit an invoicing form and supporting documentation in order to receive reimbursement for eligible expenses and services. Applicants who receive funding will be required to comply with all program rules and requirements, including applicable reporting requirements, and may be subject to compliance audits.
- What do I need in order to apply?
- Request an eligibility determination from USAC by filing an FCC Form 460 (see FAQ #15)
- Obtain an FCC Registration Number (FRN) (see FAQ #4)
- Start the process for registering for a System for Awards Management account (see FAQ #42)
- I need to create a CORES account and FCC Registration Number (FRN) before I begin an application. How do I do this?
You must register for an FRN in the Commission’s Registration System (CORES). To register with CORES, go to: https://apps.fcc.gov/cores/userLogin.do. First, set up an account in CORES by creating a username and password. You will then receive an automated email to verify your account’s email address and activate your account. Once your account is activated, log in to CORES, and select “Register New FRN” if you do not have an FRN. After you provide the required information and submit, CORES will generate a new FRN for you, which will be associated with your username. Only FRNs that are associated with your username will be available for selection in the online COVID-19 Telehealth Application.
For more information about or support with CORES and FRNs, see CORES Help, Frequently Asked Questions, or Tutorial Videos. You can also call the CORES support line at 877-480-3201 (Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. ET).
- Where can I find the application to apply for funding under the COVID-19 Telehealth Program?
A link to the COVID-19 Telehealth Program application form and information on how to apply are available at https://www.fcc.gov/covid-19-telehealth-program.
- Is there an application window or deadline?
The FCC began accepting applications to the COVID-19 Telehealth Program on April 13, 2020. On June 25, 2020, the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau or WCB) announced that it would no longer consider new applications for funding from the COVID-19 Telehealth Program because demand for funding exceeded available funds.
- I am having trouble submitting my online application for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. What should I do?
Make sure you have filled in all of the required fields. Also ensure the name of the person who signs the certification matches the applicant name.
For questions that require a particularly lengthy and detailed response, upload a document containing the response as an attachment (by clicking the paperclip icon in the upper right corner of the application), and write “See attachment [filename]” in the corresponding response field. Then try submitting again.
- How do I confirm that my application was received and is being reviewed?
Once you successfully submit your application through the application portal, you will receive an automated response with an application ID number that begins GRA. Please save this application ID number for your records. You can check the status of your application in the portal. If you successfully submitted your application, the “state” field will indicate “submitted”; the “status” field will indicate “pending.” If the FCC staff reviewing your application have questions or need more information, you will be notified, and your application should appear in the "Needs More Information" tab.
If you emailed a PDF application to TelehealthApplicationSupport@fcc.gov, your application has been received. FCC staff will contact you if additional action or information is needed to process your application. Once your application is under review, FCC staff will contact you if they have any questions or need additional information.
You also will be notified if your application is awarded funding. We appreciate your patience as the staff reviews the high volume of applications received since April 13, 2020.
- Can I submit my application via email to the Telehealth Application Support email inbox using the fillable PDF?
No. The Commission is no longer accepting the fillable PDF application submitted via email. To more quickly and efficiently review and process COVID-19 Telehealth Program applications, you must file your application using the online application portal. Applicants who submit a PDF application after May 2, 2020 will be asked to resubmit their application in the portal.
- Can I make updates or corrections to a submitted application?
To make updates or corrections to submitted applications, send an email to TelehealthApplicationSupport@fcc.gov. For online applications, include the application ID number (starting with GRAxxxx) in the subject line. For applications that were submitted via PDF, please include your FRN and date the PDF application was emailed in the subject line. FCC staff will then contact you and arrange for updates to be made. We appreciate your patience as the staff reviews the high volume of applications received.
- Is there a limit on the number of health care providers that will receive funding?
The FCC will continue to review applications and make funding decisions until the funding is exhausted or the current pandemic has ended. The Commission will consider the funding sought by each applicant compared to the COVID-19 Telehealth Program’s total budget and seek to select as many applicants as reasonably possible
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER ELIGIBILITY
- Who is eligible to receive funding?
The COVID-19 Telehealth Program is open to eligible health care provider sites that treat patients, whether located in rural or non-rural areas or U.S. territories. The COVID-19 Telehealth Program is limited to nonprofit and public eligible health care providers that fall within the categories of health care providers in section 254(h)(7)(B) of the 1996 Act:
(1) post-secondary educational institutions offering health care instruction, teaching hospitals, and medical schools;
(2) community health centers or health centers providing health care to migrants;
(3) local health departments or agencies;
(4) community mental health centers;
(5) not-for-profit hospitals;
(6) rural health clinics;
(7) skilled nursing facilities; or
(8) consortia of health care providers consisting of one or more entities falling into the first seven categories.
For purposes of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, which is authorized by the CARES Act, and not the 1996 Telecommunications Act, both rural and non-rural health clinics are eligible to receive funding.
- Are private, or for-profit health care providers eligible to receive funding?
No, private and for-profit entities, are not eligible to receive funding through the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. For example, a private physicians’ practice would not be eligible for support through this program.
- Can vendors of eligible services and devices apply for funding?
No. Vendors of eligible services and devices are not eligible for funding. The COVID-19 Telehealth Program is only open to eligible health care providers. Eligible health care providers select the specific eligible services and devices, as well as the vendors for those services and devices.
- How can health care providers determine if they are eligible to participate?
Only health care providers that fall within the categories of health care providers in section 254(h)(7)(B) of the 1996 Act, listed above in question 12, including rural and non-rural health clinics, are eligible to participate in the program. Health care providers seeking to participate in the program must obtain an eligibility determination from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) by filing an FCC Form 460 for each health care provider site for which they intend to purchase eligible services and/or connected devices. Health care providers seeking to purchase supported services and/or connected devices for more than one health care provider site must request an eligibility determination for each health care provider site for which they intend to purchase eligible services and/or connected devices. This means that an FCC Form 460 must be filed for each individual site for which the applicant will purchase eligible services or connected devices. If you do not already have an eligibility determination for each site from USAC, you can obtain one by filing an FCC Form 460 through My Portal on USAC's webpage.
*Note: Language on the FCC Form 460 referencing a rural or consortium requirement does not apply to the COVID-19 Telehealth Program.
- What is an Health Care Provider (HCP) number, and why do I need one?
An HCP number is the unique identifier that USAC assigns to an eligible health care provider site when an FCC Form 460 is filed and an eligibility determination has been made by USAC. The HCP number is how USAC maintains registration of eligible health care provider sites and ineligible sites. As stated in question 15, each health care provider site must have its own HCP number and eligibility determination if awarded funds will be used to purchase eligible services and/or connected devices for that specific site. Health care systems or applicants that are seeking to purchase supported services and/or connected devices for multiple sites are required to have an HCP number for each specific site. Obtaining a single HCP number for a main site or umbrella organization site is not sufficient if funding will be used to purchase eligible services and/or connected devices for multiple sites.
- How do I get help with the FCC Form 460 or HCP numbers?
You can reach out to USAC with specific questions about eligibility, the FCC Form 460 or HCP numbers by email at RHC-Assist@usac.org or by phone at (800) 453-1546 (Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET).
- Do I need to have a decision on my eligibility from USAC before I submit an application?
No, you do not. Health care providers may submit their applications while their eligibility determinations from FCC Form 460 are pending with USAC. However, no funding will awarded to an applicant until each health care provider site receiving eligible services and/or connected devices under the COVID-19 Telehealth Program has been determined to be an eligible health care provider by USAC.
If I have already received an eligibility determination for the FCC’s existing Rural Health Care Programs, do I need to obtain a new one?
No. If you have already been deemed eligible to participate in the FCC’s existing Rural Health Care (RHC) Programs, you can rely on that eligibility determination for an individual health care provider site under the COVID-19 Telehealth Program.
Are temporary or mobile locations of eligible health care providers eligible for support?
Yes, eligible connected care services provided by eligible health care providers are supported, even when provided from mobile or temporary locations.
APPLICATIONS WITH MULTIPLE HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS
- Can multiple health care providers apply together on one application?
Yes. Multiple health care providers can apply together on one application. Each health care provider site that receives eligible services and/or connected devices with COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding must have its own eligibility determination from USAC. The entity applying on behalf of other eligible health care providers must have the necessary authorizations to file the application on behalf of the participating health care providers.
- How should health care providers that are part of a larger health system apply? Should they file together, or can each entity file their own separate application? Health care providers are welcome to submit applications in the manner that works best for their sites. However, the FCC does not anticipate awarding more than $1 million to a single applicant, whether in one application, or across several applications.
- Is there a limit on how many health care providers can be included in an applications?
No, there is no limit on the number of health care providers that can apply together on one application.
- Who should I put as the lead health care provider?
You may select one of the health care providers included in the application to be the lead health care provider, or the lead health care provider may be an umbrella organization for the health care providers. If awarded funding, the lead health care provider will be responsible for seeking reimbursement under the COVID-19 Telehealth Program and distributing the awarded funds to the eligible health care providers that will be receiving services and/or connected devices under the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, and will need to have the appropriate authorizations in place to do so.
- If I apply as a health care system or include multiple health care provider sites on my application, can I only file one FCC Form 460 for the lead health care provider?
No. Each health care provider site that seeks to receive services and/or connected devices under the COVID-19 Telehealth Program must qualify as an eligible health care provider, and therefore must have its own FCC Form 460 eligibility determination from USAC to receive reimbursement for eligible costs incurred under the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. Obtaining a single HCP number for a health care provider seeking to purchase services and/or connected devices for multiple sites is not sufficient if seeking funding for multiple sites through the COVID-19 Telehealth Program.
- Can an applications include ineligible entities?
Yes, however, the ineligible entities cannot receive COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding.
ELIGIBLE SERVICES AND DEVICES
What services and connected devices are eligible for COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding?
COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding will provide eligible health care providers support to purchase telecommunications, information services, and connected devices necessary to provide telehealth services to patients in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Devices for which funding is requested must be integral to patient care.
The COVID-19 Telehealth Program will only fund devices (e.g., pulse oximetry, blood pressure monitoring devices, etc.) that are themselves connected, and will not fund unconnected devices that patients can use at home and then manually report the results to their medical professional. Connected devices may include devices with Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity, including devices that connect to a consumer’s phone, for example.
Examples of eligible services and connected devices that COVID-19 Telehealth Program applicants may seek funding for include:
- Telecommunications Services and Broadband Connectivity Services: Voice services, for health care providers or their patients.
- Information Services: Internet connectivity services for health care providers or their patients; remote patient monitoring platforms and services; patient reported outcome platforms; store and forward services, such as asynchronous transfer of patient images and data for interpretation by a physician; platforms and services to provide synchronous video consultation.
- Connected Devices/Equipment: Tablets, smart phones, or connected devices to receive connected care services at home (e.g., broadband-enabled blood pressure monitors; pulse oximetry monitors) for patient or health care provider use; or telemedicine kiosks/carts for health care provider sites.
- Are personnel, IT, administrative, and training costs eligible for support?
No. Funding will not be provided for personnel costs (including but not limited to costs for IT staff, project managers, or medical professionals), marketing costs, administrative expenses, or training costs. Vendors and service providers can elect to provide training and other IT support at no cost to health care providers participating in the program. Eligible health care providers should not include the cost of ineligible items in their funding application.
- Will you fund the building of websites or the development of new platforms for providing connected care services?
No. Only eligible connected care services and devices may be funding by the COVID-19 Telehealth Program; the program is not intended to fund development of new websites, systems, or platforms.
- Are retroactive costs eligible for funding?
Eligible health care providers may apply to receive funding support through the COVID-19 Telehealth Program for eligible services and devices purchased on or after March 13, 2020. Existing services that were not purchased in response to COVID-19 are ineligible for funding. However, if existing services were upgraded to respond to COVID-19, the costs of the upgrade may be considered for funding.
- What is the funding period for recurring services?
For recurring services, funding recipients seeking reimbursement for eligible recurring services may apply their funding commitment towards six months of eligible recurring services as long as those services are implemented on or after March 13, 2020 and prior to September 30, 2020. Existing services that were not purchased to respond to the coronavirus disease are not eligible for funding.
- What are examples of items that are ineligible for support through the COVID-19 Telehealth Program?
- Services or devices purchased or implemented prior to March 13, 2020 or after September 30, 2020.
- Administrative costs: e.g., personnel expenses, consultant fees, payroll, training, customer service, project management, records management, and doctor’s costs, etc.
- Technical support, maintenance costs, warranties, and protection plans.
- Separate costs for non-connected accessories: e.g., cases, mouse pads, cable clips, laptop bags, tablet stands, and charging stations, etc.
- Smart watches and fitness trackers.
- Back-up Power Equipment: e.g., back-up batteries, redundant power cords, Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), and surge protectors, etc.
- Non-connected medical devices or supplies: non-connected digital thermometers, testing strips, lancets, disposable covers, and personal protective equipment, etc.
- Construction costs: e.g., fiber/ethernet/cable network constructions, facility alterations, and temporary site location structures, etc.
- Non-telehealth items: e.g., office furniture and supplies, security systems, and incidental expenses, etc.
COMPLETING AN APPLICATION
- What should I do if I am having trouble with my FRN/CORES and logging into the application portal?
As stated in FAQ #4, prior to applying, you need to obtain an FRN from the FCC’s Commission Registration System (CORES), as well as a CORES username and password, available at: https://apps.fcc.gov/cores/userLogin.do.
In the application portal, you will need to click on the “search” icon in the FRN field and select the appropriate FRN. If you have associated your FRN with your user account in CORES, your FRN will automatically appear as a drop down in the FRN field on the application portal.
Please do not try to manually type the FRN into the FRN field, if you attempt to type the FRN in manually, the system generates a “no match” error message. Instead, please select the FRN from the drop-down. Below is a screen shot.
If you continue to have problems regarding your FRN or need assistance with CORES, please consult the following resources:
- CORES FAQs
- CORES Video Tutorials
- CORES Help
If you continue to have issues after consulting these resources, contact the FRN Help Line at 877-480-3201 (M-F 8am-6pm ET) or submit a support request online.
- Why am I getting an error message preventing me from submitting to the application portal?
The COVID-19 Telehealth Program application portal has a large cumulative text limit for the narrative fields. If your application has a lot of text in the narrative fields, you may be receiving an error message that is preventing you from submitting your application to the online portal. If this is occurring, in order to successfully submit your application, you will need to move your longest narrative response(s) to an attachment to upload into the portal. You should also add a note to the narrative field directing the reviewer to the attachment by writing “see attachment” in the narrative field.
- Is the "Number" entry in the Health Care Provider pop-up window the same as the HCP Number?
No. The "Number" field is a number that they system automatically assigns to health care provider records that are entered by applicants in the online application portal. It is autopopulated and autogenerated by the system, and cannot be changed. The "HCP Number" field should be entered by the applicant. Applicants should receive the HCP Number from USAC as part of the Form 460 eligibility process. However, an applicant may submit an application even if it has not yet received an HCP Number from USAC.
- Can I cancel/supplement/correct my submission?
Once you submit your application to the COVID-19 Telehealth Program through the application portal, you are unable to cancel or amend your application through the system. If you wish to correct or supplement your application, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and in the subject line list your application ID number that begins with “GRA” so that we can associate your request with your application in the system. The FCC will contact you if further information is required.
- How do I confirm that the FCC received my application via the application portal?
Once you successfully submit your application through the application portal, you will receive an automated response with an application ID number that begins GRA. Please save this application number for your records. You can check the status of your application in the portal. If you submitted your application, the “state” field will indicate “submitted” and the “status” field will indicate “pending.”
- I submitted my application via email, do I have to complete my application in the portal as well?
No, if you completed your application using the fillable PDF and submitted it to email@example.com prior to May 2, 2020, you do not need to also complete an application in the portal. As of May 2, 2020, we are no longer accepting application submissions via email and applications must be submitted through the online portal.
- How can I check on the status of my application?
We are unable to provide the status of specific applications. FCC staff is working as expeditiously as possible to review applications as they are received. Staff reviewers will contact you to answer any questions about your application or to request additional information.
SELECTION AND FUNDING PROCESS
- How quickly will applications be processed?
Applications are be reviewed as they are received. Commission staff will reach out to applicants for follow-up information if they have questions. To facilitate the application review process, applicants are encouraged to provide complete, thorough information in their applications.
- How does the FCC determine which applications will be funded?
Commission staff, in consultation with the FCC’s Connect2Health Task Force, are evaluating the COVID-19 Telehealth Program applications and selecting funding recipients based on each applicant’s responses to the following criteria:
- The conditions to be treated using the COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding.
- The goals and objectives for use of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding.
- The timeline for deployment of the proposed service(s) or devices funded by the COVID-19 Telehealth Program.
- The factors/metrics the applicant will use to help measure the impact of the services and devices funded by the COVID-19 Telehealth Program.
- The geographic area and population served by the applicant. and whether that geographic area has been under any pre-existing strain (e.g., large underserved or low-income patient population; health care provider shortages; rural hospital closures; limited broadband access and/or Internet adoption).
- The health care providers’ targeting of funding to high-risk and vulnerable patients.
The date and time of your application is not solely determinative of whether you will receive funding. The FCC’s goal is to select applications that target areas that have been hardest hit by COVID-19 and where the support will have the most impact on addressing the health care needs. For additional information, please see the Report and Order and the Public Notice.
- Is there a funding cap for specific services and devices?
The Commission did not set a per-unit funding cap for eligible services or devices, but does not anticipate awarding more than $1 million to any single applicant. Eligible health care providers are strongly encouraged to purchase cost-effective eligible services and devices to the extent practicable.
- How will funding amount determinations be made?
Funding amount determinations will be based on the cost information, including information in the supporting documentation, that eligible health care providers submit in their applications about the eligible devices and services they plan to purchase with program funding.
- When and how will funding be disbursed?
After receiving the eligible services and/or devices, health care providers that receive funding through the program will submit invoicing forms and supporting documentation on a monthly basis to the Commission. After the reimbursement request is approved, payment will be issued electronically to the health care provider.
- Is there anything I need to do to receive payments under the COVID-19 Telehealth Program?
Yes. You must be registered with the federal System for Award Management to receive COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding. If you are already registered with the System for Award Management, you do not need to re-register. To register with the system, go to https://www.sam.gov/SAM/ with the following information: (1) DUNS number; (2) Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) or Employment Identification Number (EIN); and (3) your bank’s routing number, your bank account number, and your bank account type, i.e. checking or savings, to set up Electronic Funds Transfer. You will receive a confirmation email once the registration is activated.
If you have received a funding commitment notification from the FCC, please follow the steps for invoicing the FCC to receive reimbursement – see COVID-19 Telehealth Program Invoices and Reimbursements for more information.
- Can I still submit an application if I am not yet registered with the federal System for Award Management?
Yes, you may still submit an application. However, we strongly recommend unregistered health care providers to register right away because it may take up to 10 business days for your registration to become active, and an additional 24 hours before that registration information is available in other government systems.
- What happens if I need additional funding?
If a selected health care provider exhausts its funding commitment, the health care provider can submit another application. Any additional disbursement of funding is dependent upon the availability of COVID-19 Telehealth Program funds.
- Are there any specific procurement requirements?
Given the current pandemic and its impact on health care providers, the COVID-19 Telehealth Program does not have any competitive bidding requirements. However, we strongly encourage applicants to purchase cost-effective eligible services and devices to the extent practicable during this time.
- Will FCC staff make vendor recommendations or put vendors into contact with eligible health care providers who apply for funding?
No. Eligible health care providers select the specific eligible services and devices and the vendors for those services and devices.
- Who can I contact for additional information?
Please email TelehealthApplicationSupport@fcc.gov.
- For questions or issues with the application portal:
- Email the firstname.lastname@example.org inbox with subject line: “IT Request FRN #XXX” and briefly describe the questions or issues you are having in the body of the email.
- For questions about System for Award Management:
- If you are having trouble registering for the System for Award Management, you can reach out to the Federal Service Desk at https://www.fsd.gov/fsd-gov/home.do.
- For questions about the FCC Form 460 and eligibility related questions:
- Please consult the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) by email at RHC-Assist@usac.org or by phone at (800) 453-1546 (Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET).