$200 Million in New Funding Available for SNF Telehealth Systems

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Applications are now open through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program to Support Healthcare Providers. Allocated funds will assist SNFs to purchase the necessary systems with which to employ telehealth services in their facilities. These funds, which were included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act can be allocated towards telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to provide connected care services, both for the treatment of coronavirus and other conditions that occur over the course of the pandemic.

Last month the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released rules and waivers of federal requirements to manage potential surges of COVID-19 patients, including expanded access to telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries.

A CMS fact sheet notes that CMS will now pay for more than 80 additional services when furnished via telehealth. These include emergency department visits, initial nursing facility and discharge visits, and home visits, which must be provided by a clinician that is allowed to provide telehealth.

Providers can evaluate beneficiaries who have audio phones only. However, in order to bill for an office visit or other approved telehealth services, an interactive, real-time audio and video telecommunication system must be used. Clinicians can provide remote patient monitoring services for COVID-19 or a chronic condition.

The brief filing window for Round 2 Applications opens today, April 29that 12:00pm, ET and will close at 12:00pm, ET, on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Round 1 applicants that were not funded will need to submit a new application.

For readers interested in applying for funding under this program, remember time is of the essence! You can review the application process promptly and submit your application as soon as possible.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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