FCC Earmarks $46 mil for Rural Telehealth

Five broadband networks will receive funds.

Last Updated: April 16, 2009 @ 8:50 AM

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday announced the approval of funding under its Rural Health Care Pilot Program for five broadband telehealth networks that will link hundreds of hospitals in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. 

In addition, funding has been approved for the design of a telehealth project in Alaska.

Taken together, these projects, which aim to increase patient access to care via telemedicine and support the transfer of electronic medical records, are eligible to receive $46 million in reimbursement for the engineering and construction of their regional telehealth networks.

“I am pleased with the progress that these rural health care initiatives are making to develop telemedicine programs, build highways for electronic medical records and, overall, increase patient access to health care in the regions they serve,” acting chairman Michael J. Copps said.  “There is great potential to improve health care for those communities that currently have limited access to primary, specialty and preventive care; as well as to enhance public safety by connecting health care providers, public health officials and first responders to these networks so that they can share crucial data during emergencies."

Funding commitments for these projects were issued by the Universal Service Administrative Company, which administers the RHCPP for the FCC.