The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) announced a July 31, 2022, deadline for Round 2 COVID-19 Telehealth Program (COVID-19 Program) funding recipients to purchase eligible devices and implement eligible services.
In a press release, WCB stressed that a “purchase and implementation deadline is necessary for efficient Program administration, as it ensures that Program funds are used in a timely fashion, and it will allow for a subsequent invoicing deadline, which will be announced at a later date.”
The COVID-19 Telehealth Program reimburses healthcare providers for telecommunications services, information services, and connected devices necessary to enable telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The second round of funding was awarded to 447 applications between August 26, 2021, and January 26, 2022, totaling more than $256 million in funding. This built on the first round of funding, which was finalized on July 8, 2020. For the first round, the WCB initially set the purchase and implementation deadline set as September 30, 2020. However, the WCB noted that prior to the deadline it received “numerous requests” for an extension of that deadline and it eventually set the final purchase and implementation deadline for December 31, 2020.
“As a result, during Round 1 all awardees had, at a minimum, just under six months from the notice of their awards to purchase eligible devices and implement eligible services,” WCB explained in a press release. “We believe that a similar time frame should apply for Round 2 of the Program, as evidenced by the numerous extension requests we received from Round 1 awardees. Accordingly, we set a deadline of July 31, 2022 to ensure that all Round 2 awardees will have sufficient time to utilize program funds to purchase eligible devices and implement eligible services.”
WCB added that while it set the purchase deadline as July 31, it encourages COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding recipients to purchase eligible devices and implement eligible services lists as soon as practicable.