AHA supports $100M telehealth pilot

The American Hospital Association voiced its support for a $100 million telehealth pilot by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in written comments.

The pilot, which was announced by the FCC in July, takes aim at improving healthcare services for low-income Americans, those living in rural areas and veterans. The project, dubbed the Connected Care Pilot, could give healthcare providers up to $5 million in funding to connect low-income patients.

AHA represents nearly 5,000 hospitals, healthcare systems, networks and other providers and has 43,000 individual members. While the association broadly supports the pilot, it urged the FCC to carefully consider some of the obligations of healthcare providers in the funding equation to encourage more participation. AHA also voiced support for a simple application process for providers interested in participating, keeping metrics realistic and relevant, and opening the project up to a wide breadth of healthcare providers.

“Given the complexity of human health, it can be very difficult to link a single telehealth intervention to outcomes, such as mortality or even hospitalizations,” the comments read. “Thus, the Commission should consider permitting more specific measurement methodologies that are directly linked to the interventions that are funded.”

In addition, AHA supported keeping the definition of eligible patients flexible. The comments may help shape the scope of the pilot as it moves forward.

“The Connected Care Pilot Program is an important next step towards delivering affordable telehealth services to those Americans who need it the most,” AHA concluded.