Health Information Technology

Engagement on Equity: Connectivity and the Future of Healthcare

Bridging the digital divide can help address our nation’s persistent health disparities. Rural Americans not only face limited access to health-care facilities, but “suffer from higher rates of obesity, mental health issues, diabetes, cancer, and opioid addiction.” But the tie that also binds is the lack of high-speed broadband connectivity in low-income communities, too. Rural America, as you know, is facing a physician shortage and low-income and rural populations are less likely to have choice when it comes to broadband providers.

A Preview of the FCC's July Open Meeting: Taking the "E" Out of EBS and TV

Perhaps the biggest news of the week was the agenda for the Federal Communications Commission's July 10 Open Meeting, which FCC Chairman Ajit Pai laid out in a blog post on June 18, 2019. I'm traveling to New York this week; below is a shorter-than-usual weekly that takes a look at how Chairman Pai plans to take education out of the Educational Broadband Service -- and broadcast television.

Why is the FCC Talking about a USF Cap?

The Benton Foundation unequivocally opposes any proposals from the Federal Communications Commission that would allow the FCC to shirk its responsibilities to meet its Congressionally-mandated mission. The FCC is supposed to ensure:

Idaho Capital Projects Fund Broadband Grant Program Open Now

The Idaho Broadband Advisory Board (IBAB) and the Idaho Office of Broadband are now accepting grant applications for the Idaho Capital Projects Fund (CPF) Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program. The Idaho Broadband Advisory Board and the State of Idaho seek to fund broadband projects across the state that assist with or improve distance learning, telehealth, telework, and public safety.

FCC Announces the Availability of Unused Funds to Fully Satisfy Demand for Rural Health Care Program Funding for Funding Year 2023

The Federal Communications Commission's Wireline Competition Bureau, in consultation with the Office of the Managing Director, announces the amount of unused funds for the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program that has been carried forward for funding year 2023.

Sens. Luján, Thune Announce Bipartisan Working Group on the Universal Service Fund and Broadband Access

Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and John Thune (R-SD) announced a bipartisan Senate working group to evaluate and propose potential reforms to the Universal Service Fund (USF). The goal of this working group is to create a bipartisan forum to guide education, awareness, and policy-making on this topic.

How Telehealth and Telehealth Access Points Drive Broadband Adoption

What can make people enthusiastic about broadband? What if a community, using the creation orientation, views broadband as the means to build or invent things that didn’t exist before? Essential Families is a 501c3 nonprofit that provides virtual parental education and mental healthcare services. The organization conducted a telehealth pilot in one of the poorest communities in Kansas City (MO) with stellar results.

Increased Wellness and Economic Return of Universal Broadband Infrastructure

This report examines 10 counties in rural Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi to explore how the costs of achieving true digital equity—by extending robust broadband infrastructure into areas missing it—can be offset by utilizing the potential of telehealth to improve healthcare delivery. To do so, this report first identifies the most common health issues affecting residents in these 10 counties and draws on an academic scholarship to demonstrate the benefits that could come from effective telehealth interventions for each.

Update on Wind Down of COVID-19 Telehealth Program

The Federal Communications Commission's Wireline Competition Bureau and Office of the Managing Director announced that the service delivery/receipt deadline for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program was April 10, 2023, due to the signing and enactment of the joint resolution ending the COVID-19 national emergency on the same day. This guidance supersedes earlier guidance identifying May 11, 2023, as the service delivery/receipt deadline.

FCC Chairwoman Letter to CDC Director on Maternal Health Collaboration

On December 20, 2022, President Joe Biden signed into law the Data Mapping to Save Moms’ Lives Act. This Act directs the Federal Communications Commission to incorporate, in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), publicly available data on maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity into its Mapping Broadband Health in America platform by June 18, 2023.