Beginning July 2018, the FCC took steps to start exploring the possibility for the“Connected Care Pilot Program” to support the delivery of advanced telehealth services to low-income Americans especially those living in rural areas including veterans.
The FCC Notice of Inquiry released July 12, 2018 sought comments on:
- Budgeting for $100 million to support the Universal Services Fund
- Targeting support to connected care deployments to benefit low income patients including those eligible for Medicaid or veterans receiving cost-free medical care
- Supporting a limited number of projects over a two or three year period with controls in place to measure and verify the benefits, costs, and savings associated with connected care deployments.
Investments in connected care have resulted in substantial savings, particularly in the management of chronic diseases, which accounts for over 85 percent of direct healthcare spending in the U.S.
Some examples include:
- The Mississippi Delta trial resulted in nearly $700,000 in annual savings due to reductions in hospital readmissions alone. Assuming just 20 percent of Mississippi’s diabetic population enrolled in this program, Medicaid savings in the state would be $189 million per year
- The Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) remote patient monitoring program cost $1,600 per patient as compared to more than $13,000 per patient for VHA’s home-based primary services
- A telehealth project in the Northeast found that every $1 spent on remote monitoring resulted in a $3.30 return in savings
On August 2, 2018, the FCC held an Open meeting and approved the “Notice of Inquiry” released in July seeking comments for creating a Universal Service Fund pilot program,
Go to https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-352540A1.pdf for details on the Notice of Inquiry “Promoting Telehealth for Low-Income Consumers” WC Docket No. 18-213 released July 12, 2018. For more information email Rashann.Duvall@fcc.gov or call 202-418-1438.