COVID-19 Telehealth Program General FAQs
What is the COVID-19 Telehealth Program?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted the $200 million COVID-19 Telehealth Program in a Report and Order released April 2, 2020. The COVID-19 Telehealth Program was established by the FCC in response to the public health emergency brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this program, the FCC will distribute the $200 million Congress appropriated under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to help health care providers (HCPs) provide telehealth services to patients at their homes or mobile locations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Is this a grant program?
No, the COVID-19 Telehealth Program is not a grant program. To receive disbursements, eligible HCPs that are approved for funding will be required to submit an invoicing form and supporting documentation in order to receive reimbursement for eligible expenses and services. Applicants who receive funding will be required to comply with all program rules and requirements, including applicable reporting requirements, and may be subject to compliance audits.
How do I get started?
Request an eligibility determination from USAC by filing an FCC Form 460
Obtain an FCC Registration Number (FRN)
Start the process for registering for a System for Awards Management (SAM)
Where can I find the application to apply for funding under the COVID-19 Telehealth Program?
A link to the COVID-19 Telehealth Program application form and information on how to apply are available at https://www.fcc.gov/covid-19-telehealth-program.
Who is eligible for funding?
The COVID-19 Telehealth Program is open to eligible health care provider sites that treat patients, whether located in rural or non-rural areas or U.S. territories. The COVID-19 Telehealth Program is limited to nonprofit and public eligible health care providers that fall within the categories of health care providers in section 254(h)(7)(B) of the 1996 Act:
(1) post-secondary educational institutions offering health care instruction, teaching hospitals, and medical schools;
(2) community health centers or health centers providing health care to migrants;
(3) local health departments or agencies;
(4) community mental health centers;
(5) not-for-profit hospitals;
(6) rural health clinics;
(7) skilled nursing facilities; or
(8) consortia of health care providers consisting of one or more entities falling into the first seven categories.
How do I apply for funding?
You apply by filling out an application through the Telehealth Application Portal, which will be made available on the Commission’s website on April 29th, the day that the application filing window opens. Applications will not be accepted until the application filing window opens, and all applications will be reviewed after the filing window closes. For additional resources on Round 2, please visit the Universal Service Administrative Company’s COVID-19 Telehealth Round 2 webpage at https://www.usac.org/about/covid-19-telehealth-program/
How will applications be evaluated?
A list of application evaluation metrics can be found on page 18 of the Commission’s Round 2 Report and Order, and the metrics are explained on pages 19-25.
How long will it take applications to be reviewed?
Applications will be reviewed as quickly as possible, however, the time it takes to review the applications depends on the quality of the applications submitted.
I received funding during the initial round of the Program. Can I apply for Round 2 as well?
Yes. But you should also indicate that you applied and received funding during Round 1 under the evaluation metrics section of the application.
How should a statewide health care provider apply for funding?
Statewide health care providers, and other large health care providers, may file separate applications for each eligible health care provider site, may file one application for all of their eligible health care provider sites, or may file multiple applications for specific health care provider sites. However, an eligible health care provider site may not be listed on more than one application.
Do we need to file the FCC Form 460? If yes, when do we need to submit it?
Yes. COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding will only be awarded to applications that list a lead HCP with an approved eligibility determination. Applicants must file an FCC Form 460 with USAC to receive an approved eligibility determination. Applicants that plan to designate a lead HCP that already has an approved eligibility determination from USAC – either from applying for the first round of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program or from participating in the FCC’s Rural Health Care Program – can rely on their existing, approved, eligibility determinations and do not need to submit another FCC Form 460.
What other documents, besides the FCC Form 460, must we submit before the application window opening?
To prepare for the Round 2 application filing window, applicants should register for the federal System of Award Management (SAM) and register with the Commission Registration System (CORES) to get an FCC Registration Number (FRN).
Does every health care provider that would ultimately receive some of the funding requested on the application need to be listed on the application?
No. However, every health care provider that ultimately receives funding must be an eligible health care provider under Program rules. The applicant must certify to this under penalty of perjury. Additionally, applicants must list all health care provider sites that ultimately received funding on their Letter of Authorization, which must be submitted during the invoicing process.
Is there a limit to how many health care providers can be listed on an application under the evaluation metrics section?
No. The applicant must certify that all health care providers listed under the evaluation metrics section on the application are eligible health care providers, and that the applicant has the authority to include all health care providers listed under the evaluation metrics section on the application. Additionally, an eligible health care provider may not be listed on more than one application.
Can an application receive prioritization points for multiple different health care providers or health care provider sites on the same application?
Yes. As long as every health care provider listed on the application is an eligible health care provider, then multiple providers may be listed on the application under the evaluation metrics section. The applicant may list a different eligible health care provider site for each evaluation metric, but the application will only be provided prioritization points for a specific metric once, e.g., an application that lists three health care provider sites that are located in rural areas will still only be provided five points.
As an example, if an application lists three health care providers, and provider 1 is in a rural area, a Tribal area, and a low-income area; provider 2 is in a Healthcare Provider Shortage Area and is a Critical Access Hospital; and provider 3 is a Round 1 unfunded applicant that is also located in a rural area, then the application would receive points for being: (1) in a rural area; (2) in a Tribal area; (3) in a low-income area; (4) in a Healthcare Provider Shortage area; (5) a Critical Access Hospital; and (6) a Round 1 unfunded applicant, so long as the application included the relevant health care providers’ information for each evaluation metric. However, even though, in this example, providers 1 and 3 are both located in a rural area, the application would only be able to receive the rural area points once, for a total of 5 points.
If an application has an eligible health care provider that is an unfunded Round 1 applicant, and a different eligible health care provider that did not apply in Round 1 and would therefore be a new applicant, can the application receive points for both metrics?
No. The application would only be able to receive points for the Round 1 unfunded metric.
If I am an unfunded Round 1 applicant, how do I know what my application number is?
For applicants that applied during Round 1, the application number started with “GRA” followed by seven numbers (e.g., GRA0000123). Some applications submitted via e-mail during Round 1 did not receive a GRA number. If the applicant did not receive an application number, USAC may accept proof of an email submission in lieu of the application number.
What areas are considered “Tribal” for the Program?
The areas that are defined as “Tribal” in the Commission’s Lifeline program rules, which can be found at 47 CFR 54.400(e). The areas are: (1) each federally recognized Tribe’s reservation, pueblo, or colony; (2) former reservations in Oklahoma, as defined by the Commission; (3) Alaska Native Regions; (4) Indian allotments; (5) Hawaiian Home Lands; and (6) any other area previously designated as Tribal by the Commission. Further information, and a map and shapefile, are available on USAC’s website.
Who should applicants contact if they have questions about eligible services?
Applicants should first review the Eligible Services List attached as Appendix B to the Round 2 Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration. If they have additional questions, these should be directed to Round2TelehealthApplicationSupport@usac.org.
If my application is accepted and I am awarded funding, how long does the reimbursement process take?
Unfortunately, we cannot provide you with a specific time frame. Invoice reviewers will try to process requests for reimbursement as quickly as possible. During Round 1, this often was accomplished within two weeks. However, this time frame is dependent a number of variables, including the quality of the request for reimbursement and associated documentation, and reimbursements could end up taking longer to process.
Do I need supporting documentation for each device or service that I request for funding?
Yes. Examples of support that you can provide to support your funding request are:
- screen shots of the item and price;
- quotes or estimates provided by vendors;
- invoices from purchases;
- a sample monthly bill.
How do I know if a health care provider is eligible if it does not have an approved eligibility determination from USAC?
You do not have to have an approved eligibility determination from USAC for each health care provider that you intend to provide funds through your application. However, each health care provider that you are applying for funding on behalf of must fall within the categories of health care providers in section 254(h)(7)(B) of the 1996 Act.
Is there an approximate turnaround time for the 460 eligibility determination?
FCC Form 460 Forms take an average of 30 days to review, however USAC is prioritizing all COVID-19 Telehealth Program applicants. Applicants that do not yet have an eligibility determination from USAC can still file an application for Round 2 of the Program while their FCC Form 460 is pending with USAC. You will receive an email after your form has been reviewed with an eligibility determination. We appreciate your patience as we work to process the forms as quickly as possible, and to that end, ask that applicants only submit for the lead HCP and not submit multiple forms.
Is there a time frame we can request reimbursement for?
Applicants may apply to receive retroactive funding for eligible services and devices purchased on or after March 13, 2020, as long as they did not receive Round 1 funding for those eligible services and devices. Applicants may receive Program funding to support up to 12 months of eligible recurring services as well as eligible annual license agreements (only one one-year term will be funded). There is no definitive end date for Round 2 reimbursements at this time except for the 12-month cap on eligible recurring services.
In order to request funding, do they need to be retroactive expenses, or can they be upcoming expenses?
Applicants may request funding for both retroactive dating back to March 13, 2020 and future expenses as long as they provide documentation of costs which can include vendor or website quotes.
Where will I be able to access past trainings and other resources to help me apply for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program?
Trainings and other resources will be available on USAC’s website.
What is considered proof of being a FQHC?
Under Block 5 of the FCC Form 460, you should select the appropriate eligible entity type and provide any documentation that can substantiate the selected entity type. FQHC is not listed under this time but other eligible type fall under FQHC. Please leverage USAC’s website on how to submit FCC Form 460.
Are the evaluation metrics the only evaluation/scoring of the application?
Yes, evaluation metrics provided in appendix C of the FCC order 21-39 will be the only scoring metrics.
Is there a funding cap?
No more than $1 million will be awarded per applicant in Round 2.
Where do I go if I have questions about MyPortal access issues or my login information?
Email the Round2TelehealthApplicationSupport@usac.org inbox with subject line: “IT Request FRN #XXX” and briefly describe the questions or issues you are having in the body of the email.
Is there a sample Letter of Authorization (LOA) health care providers should be using in order to apply with multiple health care providers?
Yes. You can find more information about required information for the LOA as well as a sample letter on USAC’s website.
If we had a name change since last applying, should we change our name with the HCP and FRN. And, upon changing, even though we have same EIN, would we still be considered a returning (unfunded) applicant from round one?
FCC Order 12-150 has codified that if there is material change to an HCP, the applicant should notify USAC with 30 day of this change. A revised form 460 should be submitted.
How do you determine what entity is the lead HCP? Is there a definition for this term?
Lead HCP is the HCP for which you will submit your Form 460 for eligibility determination and which will be used in your application process. The lead HCP should be one of the eligible entity types under Block 5 of the FCC Form 460.
How do you count/score providers doing direct-to-Patient Telehealth? For example, if the main HCP is an urban area providing direct to patient telehealth to patients located in rural areas, tribal areas, low-income areas, can that be counted during scoring?
The evaluation metric scoring is based upon the physical location of the provider. However, a group of health care providers from different areas may apply together in order to fulfill different metrics.