Jeffrey Mitchell, J.D., Counsel, Fletcher Heald & Hildreth
Congress and the FCC have recently increased funding to programs that support rural broadband with a focus on broadband-enabled health care (remote patient monitoring, telemedicine, and telehealth). Examples include $600 million for USDA’s “Reconnect Program” ($200 million of which will be available as grants) and increases in annual funding for USDA’s Community Connect and Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant programs. The FCC also recently increased annual funding for its Rural Health Care broadband programs from $400 million to over $590 million and has proposed $100 million for a pilot program focusing on Connected Care. This presentation will provide an overview of these programs and focus on recent developments and ongoing policy challenges such as the need for greater funding. Finally, we will explore some lessons-learned regarding compliance risks associated with participating in these programs with a focus on the FCC.