On Jan. 19, we submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to a request for comment on COVID-19 telehealth program round two funding application metrics. An additional $250 million in funding for the program was included in the COVID-19 Relief and Consolidated Appropriations Act. This additional funding provides an opportunity for children’s hospitals to receive funds to support telehealth efforts, as some hospitals submitted round one applications but did not receive funds before they were exhausted. In our comments, we ask the FCC to take into consideration vital health care services furnished by children’s hospitals and other pediatric providers when developing round two funding criteria. We also encourage the FCC to implement a streamlined application process that does not place unnecessary burden on round one applicants to support timely completion and distribution of funds, as hospitals continue to feel the financial strain and burn out from the pandemic.
In our comments to the FCC, we highlight the innovative practices and programs children’s hospitals have implemented leveraging telehealth to continue to provide necessary care to children during the pandemic. In addition, we highlight the serous impact, both direct and indirect, the pandemic has had on children and pediatric providers. As the FCC considers comments on second round funding application metrics, we will share any updated criteria with children’s hospitals.
CHA contact: Hilary Daniel