Mr. Ajit Pai
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20554
RE: In the Matter of COVID-19 Telehealth Program (WC Docket No. 20-89)
Dear Chairman Pai:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (“the Chamber”) applauds your leadership and the Federal Communications Commission’s (“the Commission”) rapid implementation of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, authorized pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.1
The entire healthcare system is engaged in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. We therefore urge the Commission to act on the American Hospital Association’s (“AHA”) April 9, 2020 petition and reconsider its decision to limit participation in the COVID19 Telehealth Program to the categories of health care providers (HCPs) set forth in section 254(h)(7)(B) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.2
The CARES Act contained no such restrictions, which prevent as many as twenty percent of America’s hospitals from participating in the program, and an even greater percentage of skilled nursing facilities. We therefore agree with the American Hospital Association that eligibility for participation in the COVID-19 Telehealth Program should be extended to all types of hospitals and other direct patient care facilities regardless of their size, location or for-profit or not-for-profit status. A grant of the AHA petition will ensure that every healthcare provider that is well positioned to utilize that funding to serve patients has the opportunity to do so.
The Chamber appreciates all of the work the Commission has done in connection with the COVID-19 Telehealth program and the broader effort to keep Americans connected during this crisis. Acting to grant the AHA petition will further increase the impact of that work.
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this proceeding and if you have any follow up questions, I may be reached at (202) 463-5632 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Executive Director & Policy Counsel
Chamber Technology Engagement Center
1. CARES Act, Pub. L. No 116-136, 134 Stat. 281 (2020).
2. COVID-19 Telehealth Program, WC Docket No. 20-89, FCC 20-44 at para. 20 (rel. April 2, 2020); 47 U.S.C. § 254(h)(7)(B).