Comments Sought on Proposed Connected Care Pilot Program

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on a proposed pilot program that would defray the costs of purchasing broadband Internet access service for providing connected health care services directly to low-income patients and veterans.  The NPRM states that this three year, $100 million pilot program will provide an 85 percent discount on connectivity for broadband-enabled telehealth services that connect doctors to patients so that a variety of health conditions can be more easily treated.

The Commission specifically seeks comment on the proper budget, duration, and structure of the pilot program.  Moreover, the FCC asks that the following issues, specific to the pilot program, be addressed in comments: (1) whether it should be funded separately to avoid impact on Universal Service Programs’ budgets; (2) who should be the eligible participants; (3) whether it should be limited to areas with a shortage of health care professionals or with low-income residents; (4) whether it should specifically target tribal lands, rural areas, or veteran populations; and (5) whether it should target certain health conditions.

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