Impact Insights

Second Round of Funding for FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program Announced

Dan Golder

For those of you who are familiar with the earlier Federal Communications Commission COVID-19 Telehealth Program, the FCC has announced that an additional $250 million will now be available in the recently announced round two of funding.

Key Items to Note

  • Total funding amount is $250 million ($249.95 million to be exact).
  • The application portal opens on Thursday, April 29, 2021 (at noon ET).
  • The application portal closes on Thursday, May 6, 2021 (at noon ET).
    • This means the portal will only be open for seven calendar days.
    • All applications received in this window will be treated equally and must be reviewed in full (unlike the first round of funding, which was first-come, first-served).
  • Awards will be announced at one time (rather than on a rolling basis as per the first round of funding)
    • Awards will be made in two phases:
      • For the initial commitment phase, at least $150 million will be awarded to the highest-scoring applicants.
      • Once the initial group of awardees is identified, applications outside that group will be provided a 10-day period to supplement their application.
      • After that 10-day period, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) will re-rank the remaining applications and award the remaining funding in the final commitment window.
  • Round 1 applicants that were not funded will need to submit a new application.
    • Round 1 applicants should review their applications to ensure they do not contain outdated or incorrect information.
    • Round 1 awardees are also eligible to apply for Round 2 funding.
  • Awards will be capped at $1 million per applicant.
    • Round 1 awardees can apply for Round 2 and can receive additional funding, up to the $1 million Round 2 cap (i.e., it is possible for an organization to receive $1 million in Round 1 and $1 million in Round 2).

Evaluation Metrics

Unlike the first round of funding, there will now be specific metrics that will be used to determine how funds will be awarded. Key items to note:

  • Focus on areas hard-hit by COVID, low-income and rural areas.
  • Unfunded Round 1 applicants will receive additional points.

The program’s goals for funding specifically reference:

1) Eligible health care providers that will benefit most from telehealth funding;
2) As many eligible health care providers as possible;
3) Tribal, rural, and low-income communities to ensure that this additional support will be directed to communities where the funding would have the most impact; and
4) Hardest-hit areas to make sure that funding continues to support health care providers in areas most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Round 2 Evaluation Metrics

Note that each of these items and associated metrics criteria are described in more detail in the “Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration” document.

Other Items to Note

  • Eligibility will be determined by the FCC Form 460 process.
    • The program is open to eligible health care providers, regardless of whether they are located in rural or non-rural locations.
    • Applicants will need an HCP (Health Care Provider) number for each site included in their application.
    • Only a single Form 460 application for the lead health care provider listed on the application needs to be completed (as opposed to Round 1 where Form 460 eligibility needed to be completed for each site), but they must attest that all sites included in the application are eligible.
    • An eligible health care provider can only appear on one application.
  • All entities that intend to apply to the Program must also register with the System for Award Management (SAM).
  • For-profit entities are not eligible for funding.
  • The FCC will ensure that at least two applications with lead health care providers from every state, territory, and the District of Columbia receive Program funding.
    • Note that the following states did not receive funding in round one:
      • Alaska
      • Hawaii
      • Montana
    • Other regions that applied but that did not receive funding were:
      • American Samoa
      • Northern Mariana Islands
      • Puerto Rico
      • Virgin Islands
  • Applicants will be provided information on the status of their application, along with the rational for a final funding decision.
  • Any applicants that are to be denied funding will be provided grounds for denial, as well as a 10-day period to submit any supplemental material.
  • USAC will be the program administrator for this round of funding, with the Office of Managing Director (OMD) providing oversight.
  • Documentation must be maintained for six years to support future audit requirements.

Application Requirements

Applications must contain:

  • The name, physical address, county, and the HCP number for the lead health care provider seeking funding from the COVID-19 Telehealth Program application.
  • Contact information for the individual who will be responsible for the application (telephone number, mailing address, and email address), as well as the contact information for the project manager.
  • A list of the telecommunications services, information services, or connected “devices necessary to enable the provision of telehealth services” requested, the cost for each service or connected device, and the total amount of funding requested.
  • Supporting documentation for the costs indicated in the application, such as a vendor or service provider quote, invoice, or similar information.

See Appendix C in the “Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration” document for detailed Applications Process Guidance.

Application Process

Eligibility Determination

Health care providers seeking to participate in Round 2 of the Program must obtain an eligibility determination from USAC for the lead health care provider site that they include in their application.

Health care provider sites that USAC has already deemed eligible to participate in the Commission’s existing Rural Health Care Programs or to participate in the initial round of the Program (Round 1) may rely on that eligibility determination for Round 2 of the Program.

Applicants must have obtained a health care provider number to submit an application for Round 2 of the Program. However, applicants that do not yet have an eligibility determination from USAC can still file an application for Round 2 of the Program while their FCC Form 460 is pending with USAC.

Application Submission

To submit an application, the applicant must first obtain an FCC Registration Number (FRN). This can be obtained via registration with the CORES system: https://apps.fcc.gov/cores/userLogin.do.

Additionally, to receive payment through the Program, applicants must be registered with the federal System for Award Management. To register with the system, go to https://www.sam.gov/SAM/. Only applicants registered through the System for Award Management will be able to receive Program funding.

Interested parties must submit an application through the COVID-19 Telehealth Program Application Portal, which applicants can find under the “Application” tab on the Commission’s website, here: https://www.fcc.gov/covid-19-telehealth-program.

Eligibility of Requested Services and Devices

Requested services and devices will be reviewed as part of the application process, and a list of eligible services and devices is provided in Appendix B of the “Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration” document.

As in Round 1, flexibility will be provided for awardees in selecting equipment by not limiting them to the vendors, eligible services, and eligible devices identified in their applications, as long as the total amount sought for reimbursement does not exceed the commitment amount.

  • Applicants will be asked to provide itemized lists of products and services, specifying quantity and cost for each, on their application.
  • Applicants may apply to receive retroactive funding for eligible services and devices purchased on or after March 13, 2020, so long as they did not receive Round 1 funding for those eligible services and devices.
  • For Round 2, applicants may receive Program funding to support up to 12 months of eligible recurring services, as well as eligible annual license agreements (only one one-year term will be funded).

More Information

More information can be found on: