The FCC’s Rural Health Care Pilot Program recently funded $145 million for the build-out of an additional 16 broadband telehealth networks to link hundreds of hospitals regionally. This funding announcement is in addition to six projects previously announced on April 16, 2009 for up to $46.2 million.
To help ensure the success of the networks, the FCC has extended a key project deadline to June 30, 2011 to select a vendor. Many of the projects in the Pilot Program have experienced delays due to coordination issues with potential ARRA funding or with the ongoing negotiations with vendors for network deployment. The extension provides additional time needed by the participants to select vendors and seek funding commitments.
Nationwide, 62 projects are eligible to receive funding for telehealth networks serving 6,000 healthcare facilities in 42 states and three U.S. territories, to bring broadband technology to state-of-the-art medical practices in isolated rural communities. Over one-third of the networks have received funding commitment letters. Another 21 projects have posted Requests for Proposals seeking vendors to build out their broadband networks, but as of yet, vendors have not been selected.
The funding for the 16 projects went to:
• Geisinger Health System (Pennsylvania) ($902 K)
• Illinois Rural HealthNet Consortium ($21.06 M)
• Iowa Rural Health Telecommunications Program ( Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota)
• ($9.95 M)
• Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals ($15.9 M)
• Michigan Public Health Institute ($20.9 M)
• Missouri Telehealth Network ($2.38 M)
• New England Telehealth Consortium (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire) (24.69 M)
• North Country Telemedicine Project (New York) ($1.99 M)
• Northeast HealthNet (Pennsylvania, New York) ($1.70 M)
• Northeast Ohio Regional Health Information Organization ($11.29 M)
• Northwestern Pennsylvania Telemedicine Initiative ($352 K)
• Oregon Health Network ($20.18 M)
• Pennsylvania Mountains Healthcare Alliance ($4.49 M)
• Sanford Health Collaboration and Communication Channel (South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota) ($813 K)
• St. Joseph’s Hospital (Wisconsin) ($655 K)
• West Virginia Telehealth Alliance (West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio) ($8.4 M)
For more information, go to www.fcc.gov.