Digital health innovations and applications, including virtual doctor’s appointments and smartphone health apps, can help us live better and longer lives.
But many rural Californians don’t have access to these services as access to broadband internet and access to health care is rapidly becoming one and the same.
More than 5 million Californians live in rural areas and many don’t have enough doctors in their communities, as few as 43 primary care physicians per 100,000 people. Some rural residents are forced to drive hundreds of miles for specialty care. Read full article.
New legislation signed by the President on June 22, 2016, amends the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to include skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) among the list of eligible health care providers (HCPs) in both the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) and Telecommunications Programs.
SNFs can begin applying to the program on January 1, 2017, by submitting their FCC Form 460 (HCF Program) or Form 465 (Telecom Program) to determine eligibility.
Rural Health Care (RHC) Program funding requests reached a historic high of $377.64M in FY2015, and demand may exceed the $400M funding cap in FY2016 (July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017).
To fairly distribute future RHC Program funding, the FCC just announced two additional filing window periods for FY2016. The next filing window period is from September 1 – November 30, 2016. If funding remains, the third filing window period will be from February 1 – April 30, 2017.
Healthcare providers are strongly encouraged to submit their funding requests (i.e., FCC Forms 462 and 466) by November 30, 2016, the last day of the upcoming FY2016 filing window period.