As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, states are awash in federal funding opportunities to assist them in responding to or mitigating the impacts of problems generated by the federal public health emergency (PHE). Two recent federal funding initiatives through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) offer open opportunities for state officials to expand access to care through broadband infrastructure and connectivity projects.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that nearly 14.5 million Americans do not have access to broadband Internet with adequate upload and download speeds to support telehealth or other virtual care modalities. Notably, the same communities and demographic groups that are experiencing disparities in access to telehealth are already experiencing disparities in health care access and health outcomes.
In “Expanding Equitable Telehealth Access: Federal Funding Opportunities to Support Universal Broadband,” an expert perspective prepared for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Health and Value Strategies program, Manatt Health describes recent federal funding initiatives supporting state efforts to build infrastructure in support of universal broadband access and launch planning, mapping, equity and adoption projects to address the “digital divide.” The expert perspective also outlines considerations for state policymakers as they consider how to direct funding toward health care priorities.
To read the full expert perspective, click here.