Tag Archive for: Rural Health Care

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The SHLB Coalition Applauds the FCC’s “Connected Care” Proposal

The SHLB Coalition Applauds the FCC’s “Connected Care” Proposal

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Alicja Johnson
[email protected]
(202) 261-6599

Washington, DC (August 2, 2018) – The Federal Communications Commission voted today to explore creating a $100 million “Connected Care Pilot Program,” which aims to bring telehealth to low-income Americans. The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition applauds the FCC’s leadership in proposing to expand telemedicine access to those who need it most.

The following statement can be attributed to John Windhausen Jr., Executive Director of the SHLB Coalition:

“The idea of connected care is still in its infancy, yet it has enormous potential to help people across rural America – veterans and low-income patients in particular. That is why the SHLB Coalition called upon the FCC to provide a discount for the wireless broadband costs of providing remote home monitoring in our 2015 Petition for Rulemaking.  The Connected Care Pilot Program could provide a unique opportunity for the FCC to collaborate with broadband providers, healthcare providers and other government agencies to ensure that low-income consumers and rural communities have low-cost, high-quality telemedicine services.  The SHLB Coalition and its members look forward to working with the FCC to build up this program.”

Visit http://www.shlb.org/policy/Rural-Health-Care to learn more about SHLB’s advocacy to improve our nation’s telehealth.

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About The SHLB Coalition:

The SHLB Coalition is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) advocacy organization that supports open, affordable, high-quality broadband connections for anchor institutions and their surrounding communities. The SHLB Coalition is based in Washington, DC and has a diverse membership of commercial and non-commercial organizations from across the United States.  To learn more, visit www.shlb.org.

SHLB Commends FCC Chairman Pai’s Intention to Increase Rural Health Care Funding

SHLB Commends FCC Chairman Pai’s Intention to Increase Rural Health Care Funding

June 06, 2018

For Immediate Release:
June 6, 2018

Contact:
Amy Robinson
Communications Manager, SHLB Coalition
[email protected]
(202) 261-6599

 

Washington, DC (June 6, 2018) – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai circulated today a draft order to raise the cap of the Rural Health Care (RHC) program from $400 million to $571 million to reflect inflation over the past twenty years. The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition,  a broad-based membership organization that includes health providers and telehealth networks, has been advocating for RHC funding and reform since December of 2015 and commends the Chairman’s announcement in favor of more funding.

The following statement can be attributed to John Windhausen, Jr., Executive Director of SHLB:

“The SHLB Coalition is extremely pleased with Chairman Pai’s intention to increase funding for the Rural Health Care program. This increase is long overdue, as the $400 M cap on the RHC program has remained set in stone for over twenty years. This proposal also addresses our concerns about the retroactive funding reductions for FY 2017 by ensuring that applicants in the current funding year can be fully reimbursed.  This action will avoid the unfortunate 15% to 25% reductions that had been announced for the current funding year. While we have not seen the entire proposal, we are encouraged that Chairman Pai has taken our concerns to heart and is responding to the SHLB Coalition’s Emergency Waiver Petition and the request by 31 US Senators – led by Senators Heitkamp and Hoeven – for more funding for the program.”

The FCC launched a proceeding to reform the RHC program in December of 2017.  In our comments filed with the FCC, the SHLB Coalition estimated that the number of eligible entities has more than doubled since the $400 million cap was set in 1997 and asked for the cap to be raised to $800 M to account for future demand. The SHLB Coalition also filed an Emergency Waiver Petition earlier this year asking the FCC to fully fund applicants for FY2017 and to avoid the retroactive rate increases on services provided as of July 1, 2017. SHLB has pointed out that the $400 M cap does not reflect the enormous changes in the rural health care marketplace, including the closure of scores of rural hospitals, the improvements in telemedicine, the growth of electronic medical records, the doubling of eligible health care providers, and the rural broadband gap.

The SHLB Coalition previously filed comments and reply comments in the FCC’s WC Docket No. 17-310 with the following four main recommendations to reform the Universal Service Fund program: 1) Increase the cap to $800 million to meet the current demand; 2) Encourage the formation of consortia in the Healthcare Connect Fund; 3) Establish funding tiers to ensure funds are distributed to the most rural areas; and 4) Improve administrative  efficiency, transparency, and protection against waste, fraud, and abuse. Visit http://www.shlb.org/policy/Rural-Health-Care to learn more about SHLB’s advocacy to improve our nation’s telehealth.

 

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