On December 6, Commissioner Brendan Carr virtually hosted a roundtable discussion that was open to the public via live feed from the FCC’s web page at www.fcc.gov/live and on the FCC’s YouTube channel. While the roundtable was open to all attendees, applicants to the FCC’s Connected Care Pilot and COVID-19 Telehealth Programs were especially encouraged to join. Registration was not required. Members of the public were invited to send questions during the event to email@example.com.
During the virtual roundtable, two sets of panelists, including recipients of funding from the FCC’s Connected Care Pilot Program and COVID-19 Telehealth initiatives, discussed the opportunities and lessons they have learned from setting up, expanding, and sustaining their telehealth programs. Topics included the delivery of devices to patients, navigating patient privacy and insurance issues, motivating use of telehealth devices, connectivity challenges, and overcoming technical or other barriers to use, as well as other ancillary issues, such as licensing issues faced in the provision of cross-state services, waivers provided by Health and Human Services during the pandemic, and long-term funding of these types of programs.
Expanding Americans’ access to telehealth services has been a top priority for Commissioner Carr. While the FCC has long-supported the buildout of high-speed Internet services to health care facilities through the Universal Service Fund, Commissioner Carr began work several years ago to support a new trend in healthcare: the delivery of affordable, high-quality care directly to patients outside the confines of connected, brick-and-mortar facilities. Commissioner Carr’s work resulted in the FCC standing up a nationwide, $100 million Connected Care Pilot Program that builds on a program pioneered by the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The FCC stood that program up in April of 2020, and to-date, the FCC has awarded a total of $70 million to more than 50 entities in 30 states and the District of Columbia. At the same time, the FCC stood up an emergency COVID-19 Telehealth initiative with $200 million in CARES Act funding, and Congress subsequently added another $250 million to that program. So far, the agency has committed $165 million of that Round 2 funding.
The FCC has already provided numerous health care providers with funding from these programs, though there are millions of dollars that remain available. This makes it an opportune moment for both recipients and potential future awardees to convene at this virtual roundtable to discuss their experiences with these telehealth initiatives.
10:00 AM – 10:20 AM
Opening Remarks and Introductions
- Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel
- Commissioner Geoffrey Starks
- Commissioner Nathan Simington
- Commissioner Brendan Carr
10:25 AM – 11:05 AM
Panel 1: Challenges and Opportunities for Improving Telehealth Services through FCC Programs
- Dr. Shireen Atabaki, Director, Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Children’s National Hospital
- Stuart Clarry, Director of Telehealth Services for University of Florida Health
- Dr. Robert Donnell, Chief Medical Information Officer for University of Florida Health
- Dr. Ricardo Munoz, Executive Director of Telemedicine at Children’s National Hospital
- Dr. Karen S. Rheuban, Co-Founder and Director of the University of Virginia Center for Telehealth
11:10 AM – 11:50 AM
Panel 2: Broader Telehealth Landscape, Funding, and Ancillary Issues
- Dr. Tearsanee Carlisle Davis, Director of Clinical and Advanced Practice Operations, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Center for Telehealth
- Dr. David Houghton, System Chair of Telehealth and Medical Director of Digital Medicine, Ochsner Health
- Deanna Larson, President of Avel eCARE
- Dr. Moraima Trujillo, Chief Medical Officer, Banyan Community Health Center
- Joel White, Executive Director, Health Innovation Alliance
11:50 AM – 12:00 PM
Closing Remarks from Commissioner Carr
- Carr Announces Agenda and Panelists for Telehealth Roundtable
- News Release Announcing the Roundtable
- FCC Connected Care Pilot Program
- FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program