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FCC Adds $198 Million to Strengthen Telehealth for Rural Healthcare Providers

Client Alert

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has added an additional $198 million in funding to its Rural Health Care Program. These funds will be used to increase broadband services and telecommunications to bolster telehealth/telemedicine services for rural healthcare providers. Funding for rural healthcare providers was initially capped at $605 million in 2020, but the added funds will now allow the FCC to provide over $800 million to eligible providers.

Telehealth, in direct response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, has undergone a massive expansion since March. Telehealth encounters are up exponentially as patients look for a safe, socially distant, option to receive health care services and providers try to keep vital hospital space available for COVID-19 care. Technical barriers, such as the lack of a strong broadband infrastructure, has limited the wide adoption of telehealth in rural areas. The FCC aims to combat the technical limitations, as this funding will help improve technology platforms and internet connectivity, so that patients have expanded access to affordable and efficient care. 

Eligible providers for the Rural Health Care Program include:

  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; and
  8. a combination of health care providers consisting of one or more entities falling into the first seven categories.

Please contact your primary BMD Healthcare & Hospital Law Group attorney if you have any questions regarding the Rural Health Care Program, this additional funding and how to apply for the use of funds, or any other general healthcare questions.


Patient Abandonment and Termination

Healthcare professionals have a responsibility to patients with whom they have established a treatment relationship. However, there may be some instances when they will need to terminate their relationship with a patient. FAQs for patient abandonment and termination are provided to help guide physicians.

A Business or Person Who Owes You Money Has Filed for Bankruptcy. Now What?

When you receive a notice that someone you do business with has filed for bankruptcy, it is important to act quickly to determine your rights in the bankruptcy process and to protect them. Here are seven things to do right away.

Recent Litigation Challenges the Affordable Care Act Preventive Services Requirement

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been met with numerous legal challenges. The most recent legal challenge, Braidwood Management Inc. v. Becerra, could affect millions of people covered by private health insurance.

340C – Prospective Legislation to Protect Federally Qualified Health Centers

Advocates for Community Health (ACH), an organization created to implement policy and advocacy initiatives for health care systems across the United States, has begun drafting legislation that is geared towards protecting Federally Qualified Health Centers (“FQHCs”) enrolled in the 340B Program, which is being dubbed “340C.”

Getting Paid to Vote

Can you get paid to vote? Election Day is upon us and employees across the country are asking whether they can get paid to vote. Essentially, can they take paid leave of a few hours to go to the polling location to cast their vote in a midterm election or presidential election. Well, it depends on the state where the employee works.