The Federal Communications Commission's pilot project to build broadband infrastructure for rural health care providers has reduced costs and improved care quality, according to an FCC report released Monday, Modern Healthcare reports.
About the Program
FCC launched its Rural Health Care Pilot Program in 2006 to help rural health care providers connect with urban health care providers through broadband networks.
The initiative now includes programs at 50 sites in 38 states (Selvam, Modern Healthcare, 8/13). According to FCC, the pilot program's five largest rural health networks are located in California, Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina and West Virginia (FCC report, 8/13).
Of the $415 million in federal funding available for the project, $368 million had been requested as of January.
According to the FCC report, the broadband initiative has:
- Allowed participating rural health care providers to benefit from group purchasing arrangements;
- Reduced wait times and curbed Medicaid costs by allowing patients to access certain health care services through telehealth consultations; and
- Tapped urban health care providers for administrative and technical support (Modern Healthcare, 8/13).