The Federal Communications Commission recently voted to revise and make permanent its universal service support pilot program for health care. The new Healthcare Connect program will provide up to $400 million annually to support broadband access across the country, particularly for rural health care providers. In changes supported by the American Hospital Association (AHA), the program will encourage state and regional networks that include both rural and urban participants. Both lease and construction options will be allowed. "We are excited to see many of the key components of the pilot program made permanent, and hope that the new program helps bring reliable and affordable broadband to all areas and fosters the development of expansive telehealth networks across the country," says Chantal Worzala, AHA director of policy.

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