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2021 Telehealth Funding Opportunities: How to Prepare and Apply

Watch our webinar featuring experts in grant strategy and grant writing.

The FCC will soon open applications for the next round of Telehealth funding with an estimated $250 million available. In this webinar, hosted by Eko, experts in grant strategy and grant writing will share insights into the funding and application process. They will also share additional funding opportunities and ways to best prepare and apply for these programs.

Our guest experts for this webinar are:

  • Kristin DeProspero, Vertical Market Director Solutionz, Inc
  • Kathleen Harrell, Partner, Salient Health Solutions Barrett & Harrel Health Law
  • Pat Cassella, President, ETCVideo LLC
  • Host: Brit Gould, VP of Marketing, Eko
  • Moderator: Devin Stevens, Director of Customer Success, Eko

Watch Full Webinar Here

Complete Webinar Transcript

Introduction

Brit: I'm really excited to have everyone join us. I'm Britt Gould, VP of Product Marketing at Eko. And it's by way of a brief introduction, so we can dive right into this, that I’m excited to have a set of experts here with us to discuss telehealth funding opportunities. We've got, we'll do deep introductions with them here in just a moment. really quickly since we haven't had a chance to meet all of you, If you happen to be wondering, so why is Eko presenting and why did Eko put together a webinar on telehealth? A little bit briefly about what we do, not to try and promote anything but just to give context. We enable more comprehensive telehealth examinations by providing the physiological information missing in most virtual care settings. How does that work? Well, it's a combination of digital stethoscopes that provide great sound quality and let you perform that auscultation with telehealth remotely. So it's all to help make confident care decisions in virtual visits. providers need to have that information from patients that a single video feed like what we're doing here, and unfortunately, we saw with Devon's internet connection, there can be a challenge. So adding that information can significantly help providers when they're performing a visit remotely. I'll leave it at that for now so that we can get into it, certainly to learn more. To see the experience for yourself and learn more, listen to it, do visit ekohealth.com.

With that, let's dive right into some introductions. We are very pleased to be joined by a panel of speakers who are experts in the field. Starting with Kristin  DeProspero. She's vertical market director for telemedicine and distance learning at Solutionz, as well as a board of directors member of the United States Distance Learning Association, and CEO of Funding Solutions Corp. And she is active on LinkedIn. She'll share her personal story with us in just a few minutes. She has been in distance learning and telemedicine since 1988, longer than certainly most of us have been doing telemedicine or distance learning even for that matter. We've got Pat Casella, he's president of ETCVideo, and a long list of things here. He's been a distance learning and telehealth consultant and grant writer and past president of the United States Distance Learning Association. Lots of experience in the space in including grants in grant writing. I learned as we're putting this together that he's also a nationally certified motorcycle instructor. Nice to have a variety of experiences. And another, our third special guest who we had the pleasure of adding more recently, another expert in the field, Kathleen Harrell. Kathleen is partner at Salient Health Solutions and Barrett & Harrel Health Law. As a regulatory attorney specializing in federal and state bid solicitations, she's been working on grants and grant funding for more than 20 years and helping her clients obtain a significant amount of grants to help them out. I am thrilled to turn it over to our speakers and panelists this morning and this afternoon. And with that Kristin and the whole team, I'll turn it over to you.

Funding overview

Kristin: Right, great. You know you got to know who we are, we thought it would be useful to get to know who is participating and who you are. So you'll look for that poll as it pops up. One of the things you want to do is just click which of the following organizations best describes you. And while you guys are doing this, I'm going to talk for just a minute about a personal story about telehealth and telemedicine. That is my own story, and I think it's very interesting. I found out through participation at the American Telemedicine Association Conference in 2001 while talking to a doctor, she said you have Dwayne syndrome, and I said who's Dwayne, I don't know anything about that. It is a neurological disorder of the eyes. A couple of years later, I found out through another telemedicine console talking about business in my career that I have something called spasmodic dysphonia which is a neurological disorder of the vocal cords, so you can hear it you know it acts up and I think it's a little crazy. So it's just fascinating to me that through telemedicine I’ve been able to navigate some of my own personal health situations and understand things better than I think I ever would have I not been involved in this career or this business. so I think it's pretty interesting. so we have 81% of the votes and 124 people out of 151 you all can probably see this we have a lot of people from health systems, a lot of physicians practice and private clinics, some systems integrators and others and we do have some educational institutions so good I think that the information that we're going to share is going to be relevant to everyone. we did have a few questions in the chat about whether or not this was funding that would work for international locations, it is not so we apologize but this funding is limited to the united states and united states territories. so with that, if you would like I could hand it over to Kathleen. The first funding source that we're going to talk about is from the FCC who we have seen a lot of funding coming from over the past few years but particularly more and more funding once COVID became a reality. so Kathleen I’ll turn it over to you and I believe that I will have the option to forward the slides. so these are the funding sources we're going to talk about and we're gonna start with the fcc. so Kathleen if you want to start I will get that pushed over there.

FCC Funding 

Kathleen: sounds good so the first opportunity we're going to talk about is the second round of FCC COVID-19 telehealth grant funding. this funding is going to be available for us states and us territories for healthcare providers and those geographic areas and last year you may be familiar that there was about $200 million that was available in the first round of this funding that funding again for healthcare providers. it was for devices and different forms of technology to carry out telemedicine during the covid-19 pandemic. this new round is going to look a little bit different than that first round and we have some intelligence about what it's going to look like but we do not have the actual application yet, we believe that will be coming out in the next week or two but excited to share some mechanisms and some other activities that you can do to be prepared for when it does come out. so this time around there's going to be about $250 million that will be available for healthcare providers. the FCC as i mentioned established this program last April to equip healthcare providers during the pandemic. we believe the mission of the program will continue you will be allowed to apply for devices and different forms of technology to carry out telemedicine. most importantly we do not believe that the program is changing to allow administrative staffing or other types of overhead costs although that may be something that's coming and we don't know about it but for now, I would plan just on thinking about what your technology costs are and also you know what those device costs would look like. in the next slide, we'll talk a little bit about some of the parameters we know are going to be part of this second round. so we got we've gotten the question quite frequently if I was able to apply and win in the first round will I be able to get money in the second round? the one thing we know about that piece is that there's going to be a priority system put in place. I’m not sure if that will be additional points which are generally the case and federal grants for certain types of providers that are from the hardest-hit areas or low-income areas but there will definitely be some type of priority system for those two things: those areas that were hit hardest by COVID-19 and those areas that have large populations of low-income individuals. they also want there this time around to be an equitable distribution and funding so all 50 states plus us territories plus the District of Columbia would receive money. I believe in the last round only 47 states received funding as well as some of the US territories. the biggest difference is the process by which we're going to go through this grant this time. so the last round had people sort of scrambling putting in materials very quickly that was because grants were reviewed on a rolling deadline so the faster you got your grant in the more likely you're were going to be able to obtain funding this time around it's going to run as a competitive grant process so there will be a set deadline by which you have to apply. there will be some type of grant funding opportunity announcement that will be issued that will have all the details for the application plus I’m sure information sessions and again those are coming so we can make sure everybody on the mailing list has access when the application does come out. and then also this time around the FCC is going to do funding in two phases the first phase it sounds like is for providers who need to implement immediately certain types of technology to carry out telemedicine. and then there'll be a second phase which will allow people who are either applying for secondary monies or they have projects that are more long-term and don't need those expedited dollars to be able to carry out telemedicine for the remainder of the pandemic and then post-pandemic.

Kathleen: On the next slide we just go through a couple of the things that you can do as an organization to ready yourself for when the application comes out. again we don't know the whole process what it looks like, we do know it's a competitive grant application but these are things that had to be done in the first round of grants so we want to make sure people at least do these things to get set up. you want to register with the FCC registration system CORES and in that way, you can get an FCC registration number which is called an FRN. you have to have an FRN typically to receive any form of FCC money if you've received connected care pilot dollars, any other types of rural funding from the FCC, you probably already have one of those in place but you should double-check and make sure it is still sound and up to date. you'll also want to register with USAC or the Universal Service Administration Company. The way you do that is by completing form 460. you literally can google FCC form 460 up will come to the actual form as well as the set of instructions and you can register your organization with use that one side note if you are a consortium, every single one of the entities within your consortium needs to register. so they need to register through USAC and then there'll be a legal process by which you give them authority over your organization to apply as a consortium, but everybody has to be registered. and the reason I say this so emphatically is because a lot of folks lost out last time as consortiums because only the lead was registered and they didn't have all those other entities registered. I work with one client that has 35 health centers under them, all health centers were registered but the consortium was the actual applicant. and then the other things just to be thinking about as you're thinking through what can I apply for what do I want to apply for? when you're thinking about those devices and technology you do have to have supporting documentation. so in the first round of the COVID-19 funding people, hospitals health centers, all kinds of rural providers and you know other providers were scrambling to get quotes and get information on certain types of devices. if you know that you're going to be seeking a certain type of technology and device, reach out to Kristin or one of the other vendors that you work with and make sure you have the supporting documentation. you will not be funded without it and even you know if it's not at the forefront of all the criteria, I’m sure it will be one of the criteria that's listed and it's just a best practice to have those pieces to go in for the grant to have it for your own records. so that's basically the second round of FCC in a nutshell and I’ll turn it over

Kristin: Thanks, Kathleen. just a quick question we're gonna have q&a at the end but I noticed that we have a question in here that says, will we need to submit the rhd form 460 again, and will these be reviewed more quickly than the last round? so if you already have on end do you have to register again?

Kathleen: No, you do not have to register again you just want to make sure your information is current so I would just go back in and make sure that information is current. And also your USAC information does expire, you usually receive a number of emails telling you you're about to expire. But I would definitely go back in and make sure that's taken care of. And one important thing to know, we don't know how this grant will look in terms of process, but most grants go through the grants.gov and sam.gov systems, which I know Pat is going to speak about in a little bit. And just making sure you know, after this presentation, if you have questions about registration, please reach out to one of us, we're happy to help you if it's your first time. And it is so imperative that you get registered and do not wait before an application comes out. As Pat will tell you sam.gov can take a few weeks to get approved, sometimes eight weeks, if there's a backlog. So it's very important you get those pieces in place so that you can actually be eligible for the funding.

Kristin: Just a note, all of our contact information is going to be at the end of this presentation, everybody's going to receive these presentations that you'll be able to refer back to us if you have additional questions. But again, Pat is going to talk about this too. But it's important with all of these systems, whether it's USAC, or grants.gov, or sam.gov, that you're getting yourself registered, I see a couple of people asking questions, what if it's your first time? I highly recommend that you work with one of the experts we have here on this call, one of the three of us, we can refer you to others, we can help give you the to-do list the checklist of what you have to do to get yourself in the game and in the process to potentially win these funds.

USDA Rural Utilities Services Program

Kristin: Okay, so I'm going to cover the second two funding sources that are so relevant to telehealth. And that's the one from the US Department of Agriculture rural utility services, a lot of people call it the RUS grant because it's in the rural utility services program. It's also referred to as the DLT program, distance learning, and telemedicine. Just know that it's got those couple of different names. It's been around since 1994. This little cover page that you see here is from a webinar that Kathleen and I did with the field chief, branch chief director, he's got a long title for the field staff. Fabulous person, these guys like to answer questions for customers. And we did a presentation on the 12th that is recorded, and you can contact us to get that as well. But we will go over some of the biggest effects of this grant. And this one also is about to come out. So both the FCC and this USDA grant are both hitting the street at any moment. And so you really need to be thinking about this, dedicate time on your calendars to promote your content and figure out where you're going to request and get your quotes. There's a lot of things to do to prepare, and the time is now. 

So the major program details about this USDA Rural utility services grant which I'm just going to call the RUS grant from now on is that is a capital grant. It's for equipment, software and broadband facilities. This one's a little rare because there are so many grants out there with it will pay salaries and soft costs. But this one is all about capital expenses. So keep that in mind. It's also a three-year grant that will cover shipping, installation, maintenance, and training on all of the equipment that you purchase. And the equipment can be video conferencing equipment, it can be digital stethoscopes, it can be ECG systems, it could be anything that you need to do a real-time consult within your telemedicine practice. Or if you're talking distance learning, I saw a couple of education institutions that might be teaching about healthcare applications. This applies to you as well, if you have video conferencing, cameras, microphones, speakers, computers, there are all sorts of things that are eligible. It's up to a million-dollar award, or at least it was last year. And last year was also the first year that they had to application windows prior to last year, it was a $500,000 maximum grant award amount. We don't know for sure in this round that's going to be released. If it's going to be a million or 500,000. I keep my fingers crossed that it's a million. But this doesn't really do a lot until we see the release. so the real key to this program is that it's rural. Its rural-focused, the whole point is to increase access to education and healthcare in rural America, rural areas in the United States, and the United States territories. urban providers can participate by delivering services out to those locations so don't think that you can't be a part of this. In fact, you could be the lead applicant who's pulling in the rural locations that you want to provide services to. But it has to be real-time collaborative activities. And who's eligible? Pretty much everyone This part's easy. The only people that aren't eligible are individuals. You can be for-profit organizations and you are eligible. It's a three-year grant, as I talked about, it also covers the warranty and full support on that equipment. And there's a 15% match. So it's essentially an 85% discount on everything that you're purchasing. And the scoring is both objective and subjective. And so the scoring is, in some ways, pretty easy, because the majority of the score is very objective as it either is or it isn't, you either are exceptionally rural, and you have 5000 or fewer in the population of the city, where the equipment is going to reside. There are different levels 5000 or fewer is the gets the maximum points, it can go that into 10,020 1000, etc. But you really want to try to reach those exceptionally rural areas that are in high need areas. hubs can have higher populations, those can be urban, and those the population, it's a 200,000 a million, it doesn't matter, it's not counted in the scoring. So keep that in mind. Economic need is a big factor. So areas that have been economically hit very hard, or that historically I have issues is something that you really want to focus on. Because those are going to be prime focuses as winners for this grant. Other special consideration points could increase scores, it might be opportunities zones, it might be places that are highly hit with the opioid and substance use disorders and that crisis. there could possibly be a focus on tribal again this year. But until the FDA comes out, and we see the funding opportunity announcement, we can't give you the special consideration, point information, we're just telling you, these are some of those that have been passed. Now the subjective score, this is where you really have to make your cry, you have to talk about the needs and benefits. If you implement this program, we're going to raise this population up, either economically or for education or provide health care that they simply don't have access to. And that's so critical because there really literally are areas of the country where people have such high rates of diabetes or high rates of other types of disorders and issues. And they just don't have access to specialists, they don't have access to providers. So this is why the USDA offers this. You also want to make sure that you have local community involvement and partners. So the proposal needs to really discuss how is all of this? How are all those partners and your technology really going to help to solve the challenges or the problems of that community? So Pat, myself, Kathlene we’ve had decades of experience really focusing on this needs and benefits section, it's very important.

Kristin: Also, application components, it's a very technical grant, it requires a ton of detail. So I'm going to highly recommend that you use an experienced grant writer, it's important to follow the checklist of activities its something she kind of said on our previous call, how frustrated they were in Washington, that people would take the checklist that's in the grant application, and simply check it and sign it and submit it because it was required. But they had not done everything on the checklist, which is, you know, interesting and very frustrating to Washington because they just couldn't you technically didn't make it through the review because you didn't supply what was requested. So, again, I talked about making the reviewer cry, because you want your narratives to really be well thought out and talk about how it's going to make an impact in so many different ways. And it may not be a direct impact, you may be able to talk about how technology is going to help provide Education in this community, they could help students develop a career in healthcare, that would help to enhance access to services and the local community to combat a heavy population of diabetes. So you really have to think through all of the possible connections and take it as far as you can, in terms of how it can impact the community. Now, the worksheets, some of the technical pieces of the application, you want to have your site addresses, you definitely need to confirm that sam.gov and grants.gov registration, Pat's gonna repeat that again. your budget development takes time. So you really need to start now, talking with your vendors, feel free to call me to feel free to call Pat Kathleen, and we can help you understand what's required for this section. And you, you want to make sure you ask for what you need, but also shoot for the moon. I mean, they even tell us this from the USDA, shoot for the moon, you know, shoot for the things that are innovative and larger displays and things that you might need, don't go small, go big. If they don't like it if they don't think you need that much though redline it, you can't ask for more. But you cannot, you can always implement the grant at a lower budget. So don't get stuck. six, eight months from now and thinking oh, we should have asked for more things. Go ahead and do that now. Put it in there think a year, two years, three years, this is a long-term grant. And then you need to identify your match sources, where are you going to get that 15%? You've got to know that upfront, you've got to be very clear on that. If you have to have Board approval, start thinking about that board approval to apply Board approval to identify and secure that match all of those things. So having experts help you, like the artist that was on this call, makes such a big difference. we have a near 100% success rate for the three of us in getting applications successfully through the process and have applicants win. So keep that in mind if you do this yourself. There are just too many gotchas, too many ways to potentially make a mistake. Now we talked about the FCC, we talked about the RUS grant. But there is more funding out there than ever before in history from federal state Foundation, local funds, I provided this quick little view from a service tool that allows you to search for specific funding, capital impact community development block grants tribal broadband on there, so much funding out there. Again, if you need guidance on something that doesn't fit for the FCC, or for the USDA grant, there are so many more to look for.

Resources

Kristin: this last slide that I am putting up here comes to us from Stewart Ferguson, some of you may know him. He is quite famous in the industry. He deployed in designing the whole telemedicine system throughout the state of Alaska that had to do telemedicine way before the rest of us did in the lower 48 or even in the entire world because Alaska had so many remote locations that needed education and health care. And he talks about the evolution of telehealth being just one component of digital health. So the types of things that are included, the types of the patient to provider activities, the telehealth modalities, and the provider to provider activities. So I wanted to include this,  his presentations are just fascinating. I picked just one slide to put in here. But hopefully, we can bring more of this to you through additional webinars. Now, lastly, before I hand it over to Pat, let me tell you that the resources you have available to find these funding sources are phenomenal. You have a lot of options. One of those is the telehealth resource centers across the country. These are dedicated to helping organizations who are trying to implement or expand telemedicine and then you've got HRSA you got to FCC.gov you've got the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth, of course, Grants.gov where we're telling you you need to register and you can search for grants there. We have our friends at Learn Design Apply that are very experienced, and they help with grant writing and the design of your application. So there are a lot of people, Grants Office is an excellent resource. eCivis.com helps you search for those funding sources. And last I'm going to point you to the Rural Health Information hub, our RHI hub. They currently show 24 active opportunities are open grants that have the word telehealth or are about telehealth and 67 inactive grants, meaning that those same grants may come open again and be active very soon in the future. So keep in mind these resources are here, they're going to have the hyperlink. So when you get this document, you'll be able to hyperlink to any of these locations. And with that, I'm going to pass it over to Pat to talk about how do you make sure you submit a successful application.

Grant Application: SAMS and Grants.gov Registration

Pat: Nice job, Kristin, and Kathleen, great information for everyone. Good afternoon, good morning, might even be Good evening, hope everybody's doing well. So I'm going to shadow what Kristin just went over on the RUS DLT side of things, you know if you do a RUS DLT grant, and you can get through it, you can pretty much do almost any grant. There's a lot of information in here. Okay, so we use this as a framework, one of the first things, and both Kathleen and Kristin said it, SAMS (System for Award Management) and grants.gov, make sure your account is active, you're gonna see on my slides, a little red highlight on each my slides for one bullet point, that's the one to pay attention to. make sure your SAMS registration is active. I can't tell you how many times you're in the last week of reviewing a grant, and folks go to login. And oh, that person left the company. Oh, my login doesn't work. Oh. And I will tell you,  First thing, it’s so easy to do, but do it early on. And I will tell you that their timeline is not tied to your timeline, right. So just because you have to get your grant in tomorrow, they could care less, they're not going to jump through hoops for you. So your form here, one of the first forms is a 424 an SF-424. And this is where you want to go and gather a bunch of information that you're going to need to apply for the grant, you've got to make sure that you have your EIN number, your 501c3 status your DUNS, make sure you know your legal name and address, it's going to ask you for the federal agency's name of the grant that you're applying to, it's going to ask you for a funding opportunity number. There are going to be site worksheets involved. Kristin touched on this and Kathleen as well, you're going to have in this case, hub site, an end-user site, make sure you have all your sites kind of onboard, you know what you're thinking about with, especially in this one rurality. Okay, you know, your hub site doesn't have to be rural, but your end-user sites, you're going to be in a competitive situation, though, go for the most rural areas that you possibly go for. Because that 5000 population is going to get more points than one with 10,015 or 20,000. Okay. Legal existence. Sounds simple. And you just need to prove to them that you’re a legal entity, right? How hard could that be? Well just make your documentation that you can prove it. All right. It could be bylaws, a state law that gives you the permission to be an educational entity, a charter to operate your business, you want to have some kind of an authority to contract with the United States government to do business, to get a grant. So and even in some situations where it was murky, we've gone as far as getting legal counsel and get a legal letter saying, hey, you know, this entity is able to do business with the US government, and here's why. Okay, so don't get caught with this just thinking it's a check, oh, yeah, I've got some papers that show it, you really want to make sure that you're legitimate to go ahead and do this. 

Pat: an executive summary, it's a great place to start. And it's a great place to end and your executive summary when you start and when you end, it might not look the same. Okay, I'll tell you that. But you know, it's really good. Just say, hey, a quick, abstract couple of paragraphs. be concise, be complete. Why is this project needed? Okay, how, what is my community? What am I going to be doing? And then back to the needs and benefits that Kristin was talking about? You know, my community is in desperate need of having some remote telehealth services because there are no good doctors in my area. Okay, yeah, it's a big needle, how are you going to go and accomplish this with the project? What are you going to do? What kind of benefits are you going to bring to the community? So you know, what's broken? And how will you fix it if you get the funds for this particular grant? Okay, just really simple. You know, why is this project needed? Economic need, we were talking before Crispin had a slide up objective and subjective scores objective are what they are. There's a grading system you're going to fall in no matter what there's not much ambiguity. There. And this is one that's an objective score. It's basically a reflection of your economy. In the old days, they used to use National School Lunch Program numbers, NSLP numbers, now they're using the safety numbers. I gave you a link there, you'll go back, you're going to look up your community, you're going to look up your individual areas, and it's just going to show a snapshot of your economic need, right? What shape is your community in, and you're going to have to include this information with your grant. Right? That's going to be part of it. So there's a validation and verification process. It's not just you know, you're going to make these numbers up, or you saw them in an article somewhere, you're going to have to have legitimate approved data to do this. And this is the site that you're going to go and look at here. matching funds.

Pat: Okay. Now, as Kristin pointed out with this particular RUS DLT, Grant, there is a minimum of 15%. grants are all different. But in this particular case, they're going to want to have at least some level of matching funds, meaning you're putting some skin in the game, what are you going to provide? Again, this one is an objective one. 

Kristin: Yeah, and I don't remember if we mentioned this calculating the FCC has no match, right? No match. So different brands have different requirements, zero match on the FCC, this one has 15% match, we will be able to help you with any grant that you're looking at and to understand what is your requirement from this perspective.

Pat: That's right. So here's a little secret on this phone, okay, you know, you're getting ready to go and purchase some laptops that you were going to go and buy anyhow, regardless, okay, but they're going to be part of your project, they're part of your distance learning your telehealth project. Well, guess what, you can leverage those funds towards your matching percentage, little asterisk, you have to make sure that you don't buy any of that equipment until after you file your application can't be the day before, can't be a month before it has to be after you file your application. as long as you do that, you're going to be able to apply for that money. So you go and somebody says, geez, I don't have any money to spend, go look in your technology budget, you probably have some money to spend in there. And if you can apply it towards this DLT grant, that will get you into the running for a cash match. Again, this being objective, you get more money for the more money you're putting into it. So the more you can find, the better your grant application is going to be, the stronger it's going to be. And if you do get a letter saying, Hey, I'm a participating school, I'm going to take a certain amount or participating health facility, and I'm going to put a certain amount of money towards this project, make sure it's a signed matching letter, gotta have a signature on it. 

Pat: Okay, needs and benefits. Kristin said, make them cry. I mean, it's true, you're gonna have to paint your picture of the economy. And there's a lot of different ways to make sure you do a lot of research, right? There's a lot of articles, you're going to be able to reference and whatnot. But you know, the ones that are in the worst shape are going to be in better shape to get money from this grant. Okay. It is another one, we switch gears from objective. Now you’re subjective, there's not a nice little chart that the reviewer looks at and gives you a reading. And I hate to say it, one reviewer, you might be tugging on their heart a little bit different than a different reviewer. So just try to be as strong as possible with your case. How does this project help the community? Okay, that’s really nice. 

Kristin: We say that grants don't pay for the technology they pay to solve a problem. So just be super clear on your problem. And we're getting close to doing q&a. But you've got a couple more slides. 

Pat: Yeah, I'll finish it. So the scope of work. In this case, here's my note in red: think like a project manager, who's going to do what, in what time frame? When do they have to get it done by? think about, you know, you're putting together a project schedule, you're going to assign people tasks, that's what they're looking for. And this is where you're going to get into your budget a little bit. And you even going to you're going to talk a little bit about innovation. And that's where a good grant writer can help you really, it's a competitive area, and you want to show that you're being more innovative than the others. It's not like the old days where you say, I'm going to use high definition video equipment. Everybody uses high definition video equipment now. It's not good enough anymore. Alright, so as time goes on, so for those requirements. sustainability, in your experience, statement of experience, have you done this before? sometimes you might just say, No, we've never done it before. But you know, something, the grant, the guy at the grants office said, That's okay, you can put that in there, it's fine. This is, again, a little bit of a checklist here. But you want to be able to show that once the money is gone in three years, how are you going to sustain the project? Right, you know, maybe the offices, maybe the little rural health facilities, you're going to charge a $15 fee or something like that, there's something that you're going to bring in some level of income, that's going to help maintain the equipment that you just went requested through the grant. Okay. 

Pat: Telecommunications plan, Kristin touched on this, too, this is where it gets a little technical, you are going to describe every line item in red, I'm saying this describes in detail every line item of the piece of equipment, what it will be used for. Your reviewers are not technical people, they're not in telehealth, they're not in distance learning. They need to be spoon-fed information, just like you're writing it to somebody who's never seen this for the first time.

Kristin: And I have to give you an unbelievable example, Pat, I don't think there's a person on the planet who hasn't heard the name zoom in the last year. But I had a reviewer come back and ask what is the purpose of the zoom licenses? And what does zoom do? So even if they knew what it was, they want to know that the instructions and details are incredibly spelled out. So that will show you how detailed you need to be.

Pat: very, very technical, you're gonna have your maps of coverage, etc. Other considerations? What are some other things to think about? Your time invested in a grant, regardless of the grant, is going to be an exact correlation to how successful your chances are getting that grant, I will tell you that go with a good grant writer, if you can somebody with experience, because that's also going to be important. It'll keep you from falling into the traps.

Kristin: Absolutely. Now, I know Brit, you're coming back on, I see a whole bunch of questions in here, we can start with you and uncover how this is gonna go with the office hours.

Brit: Sure, let's do that. Thank you so much, Kristin, Kathleen, Pat, this has been really, really informational and very helpful to our audience. If you have questions that we haven't answered yet, or that our team has not answered yet, put them into the q&a that we were sure to see them, I saw a number of them in chat, we may not have gotten to them, drop them into q&a, that thanks for bearing with us with the process that we will, we'll make sure that we catch them. Kristin and Pat have been very gracious to add some time on their calendars tomorrow and Monday for office hours. I just put into the chat, a link, if you're interested in a 20-minute slot with one of them. Go ahead and click on that link and reserve a spot on Friday or Monday. At the end of this, we will share contact information for Kristin for Pat for Kathleen. It'll be at the end of the presentation. We will also email it out by tonight. So just look for that. With that. Kristin, let's jump right into q&a. Feel free to take them and I can ask them as we go.

Q&A

Kristin: Yeah, there's a couple that I want to go ahead and hit right away because we had some people asking,

Q: what does it cost to have experts, grant writers grant consultants to help you well on these grants, Kathleen and Pat, do you want to share sort of what you see is the average?

A: Kathleen: I would say you know, for FCC grants, they are not as detailed. Although there can be a lot of detail you have to provide depending on how large your request is. So those are usually at least in what from what I've seen around $5,000 or so. And then because the distance learning and telemedicine grants are so much more involved. Those can be anywhere from 8500 to 10,000, sometimes a little over that. Just depending upon how many sites you have. Sometimes we literally have 50 sites, and you're coordinating with all of that information. So it's just a matter of how large the scope of the work is. I don't know if you've seen others.

Q: Someone else asked, can this be used to develop a new telemedicine app or only for integration? 

A: Kristin: I don't believe this can be used to actually develop a new app. What do you guys think either FCC or USDA? There may be other programs and we could potentially do some research to help you find those. But as of right now, and I believe there's got to be a lot of investors, private investors, people that are looking to do that, but these programs are not those.

Pat: no, because you'd be investing in people and most of these grants are not going to let you especially the rest do t it's equipment based on people based see not gonna be able to pay for programmers or developers.

Kathleen: somebody was commenting in the chat in regards to pricing. So for the week, again, we don't know about the RUS DLT grant. But in previous years, that was $500,000 of an award. In the last two rounds, as Kristin and Pat both mentioned, it was a million dollars of the award. So in terms of the cost percentage, it is lower. And then for the FCC, I've, we had entities get awards of a million dollars, some of them $500,000, you definitely, I'm sure Kristin and Pat saw applications go in that were redlined, as Kristin talked about. So, you know, you might have requested 800,000, and the FCC said, we're gonna give you 600,000 we don't think these pieces are things we need to pay for. So just so people sort of understand the percentage of the funding.

Kristin: if anyone wants to stay after we know that we want to respect everyone's time, you can drop off on the half-hour when this was scheduled to be done. But we're probably going to stay on a little bit longer if you'd like. 

Q: Someone asked, Do you know if it's possible to see a complete application from round one, including their budgets?

A: Kristin: I'm not sure if you're talking about the USDA or the FCC, but I don't know how to get someone's actual application with their budget. I know we all have examples we can talk to someone about. But I don't know if there's a way to see someones.

Pat: not openly from Kristin. From what I've seen, some folks would try to go and get it for through the Freedom of Information App. But doesn't, I wouldn't do that. They don't look kindly upon you trying to do that to copy somebody.

Kristin: You can see summaries of the executive summary for the US Department of Agriculture Ross grant stuff, but and I think they've released some FCC sort of narratives on winners, but you cannot get their complete application. But one of us can help you understand possibly show you visually, but we can't give you copies of someone else's work. 

Q: Okay, someone asked are the final date for grant submissions different for the different grants? 

A: Kristin: Yes. And I'll add something else to that we don't know what the date is going to be. But as soon as it hits the street, typically, there are 60 days to apply. So the 60-day window, this is why we tend to get really hyped up and say, Get ready, get ready, get ready, because you only have 60 days, as soon as it hits the street, start doing your work. Now you really need to think through a lot of things. Talk about your workflow, talk about your project team, talk about your goals and objectives. Talk about the equipment and technology that you want. What about your telecommunications? Do you have everything you need? Like there's a long list, and we can help you look through those but just get started now, don't wait, this money is yours. You all paid into it. Let's go get it back out of it from the taxes that each of us individually paid. In fact, I think there may even be some new programs coming out, like through FCC or USAC. And I always think it's fascinating. Everybody that has a phone bill, if you ever really dig into it, there's that universal service fee, that goes into a $4.2 billion bucket every year to give money to K through 12 schools to get their internet access. So we're all paying for all of these programs. Let us help you go get your portion back for your project.

Q: do you do an assessment or fit of the organization or project during the 20-minute meeting? 

A: Kristin: Yes, we will talk about grant readiness. And we'll talk about your scope of the project we'll ask you a bunch of questions to see if you are a good fit and we sort of rule you in a rule you out to help you understand if this is a good thing for you to give the level of effort to because there is a level of effort and time you have to commit to pursuing these. If you're going to get a million dollars. It takes some energy To do it. 

Q: Have we worked with a UPL? grant? 

A: Kristin: I don't know what that is. So obviously, my answer is no. UPL.

Q: Could a Canadian health care provider investigator be eligible in any way for the FCC grant?

A: Kristin:  I don't think so. But I would be looking at NIH and research grants with the NIH. But I would suggest this anonymous attendee come to one of our office hours and we can talk about it more specifically.

Brit: there's a clarification on UPL upper payment limit, does that add enough context there?

Kristin: I don't know if you're actually thinking about reimbursement and CPT codes and private payers and medicare Medicaid payment? if that's what you're talking about, There have been a ton of updates on that. And I have a presentation I was just sending to a bunch of people this morning, to talk about the changes in history to now about what has happened to reduce the barriers to deliver telehealth, some of those barriers were licensure, or some of those barriers were reimbursement and payment. So if that's where you're headed, we do have information on that. I can share that if you contact me directly, Janine. So our contact information, we're going to pop that up here on the screen. In fact, we only have two minutes. Do you want to pop that up on the screen? While we continuing answering some questions?

Brit: Will do. I'll pop it up so everyone can see it. And anyone who would like to continue to stay on and ask questions, please do. We're happy to stay and thank you.

Q: Shelley, you have a good question. Do you have any information on stimulus for rural hospitals? 

A: Kristin: Yes, we do. And I can actually give you a lot of information if you contact me. Some of that information is about what each rural hospital is going to get through the formula funds that are coming down. And then other things I can provide are some, either existing or upcoming funding sources, applications, different grants that are dedicated to rural hospitals in rural areas. And there's a fantastic site, which I included in this presentation, you'll get it to the RHI hub, rural health information hub, that group keeps track of all of the funding sources that are coming out, we will have what's been recently released in the last 30 days. It's amazing. So I can give you that. 

Q: What percentage of grants are hardware versus software costs? 

A: Kristin: That depends on the grant. I always say that grants, every Grant has its own personality, just like people. People are different. Every person is different. Every grant is different. But we can share with you the detail per grant that we're aware of, if that's kind of related to the RUS grant, historically, it used to be all hardware, just hardware, hardware, hardware. And it took the industry a long time to convince Washington that software was a part of the puzzle. And they eventually started allowing that, for example, cloud services. It took forever to have Washington understand the cloud services were an innovative way of doing things and it was current. It's not like it's a new thing that's coming down the pipe. This is what everybody is using. So it took some time to get them to approve and make that an eligible cost. But yes, software and hardware percentages vary by the grant. 

Q: Can telemedicine startups that are generating income qualify?

A: Kristin: Absolutely. Absolutely. You can apply.

Q: There's a couple of questions about whether for-profit entities can apply for FCC money.

A: Kathleen: In the first round, they were ineligible, so they were not eligible to obtain those monies. And it was a policy reason behind it. They wanted nonprofits to get that money as quickly as possible to be able to see patients. We do not know what the next round will bring. But definitely something we can answer as soon as the application comes out.

Q: There's a question about what are the drawbacks to actually applying for this money. 

A: Kathleen: as Kristin said, and Pat said they are work, you have to put in work to actually obtain these funds. And you would be working either as a team yourselves or working with a grant writer, but whoever you're working with needs that good information, so they can translate it into a narrative for you. So the work you're measuring, as Kristin said, and as Pat said, they'll evaluate you and talk with you about your chances for success. Obviously, as grant writers, we're only as successful as the grants we get for you. So we're very honest about if we feel that you're competitive or not for a certain opportunity. The other drawback is, you have to have a plan as to what you want to do with that equipment. And you have to have partnered on board. We've seen I'm sure amongst all of us a number of grants that go in that have partnerships that aren't fully formulated, and then the grant is received. And it's a challenge after the fact. Because now the federal government thinks that you're going to be partnering with certain entities. So I think we would just say you want to make sure those partnerships are intact. And all of that is sort of pre-work before the grant goes in.

Kristin: And whoever asked for-profits, while the FCC is unlikely to fund for-profits, the RUS grant does allow for profits to apply.

Kathleen: Oh, do we have a question and answer continue, but I'm sorry, I have to leave the conference. But I'm great. Okay. Everyone who joined.

Brit: Thank you, Kathleen. Thank you so much.

Pat: Thanks, Kathleen. Good, Seeing you. And Kristin. I've got another five minutes Kristin Britt.

Q: Okay. So there's a question in here from an anonymous attendee who says, do we have grants for home health care providers? 

A: Absolutely. There are grants that we can help you find.

Q: Another one coming here. Do you have any information on stimulus funding for rural hospitals?

A: I do. I actually had some data up on that, they'll have to contact me directly, I could show them that detail. 

Q: Veronica asked about the obligation we have for acceptance of the money.

A: Kristin: I know with the RUS grant, there is an agreement, it's an official agreement and you have to comply with the terms and conditions. And technically the equipment is owned by the government until your three-year term is up. And then you own the equipment I can do with it what you will. So if you have it in rural areas, and then the grant is over, and you want to put that equipment into the urban places and then do another application to go put some equipment into the rural locations. Again, you can do that. We know companies that apply for the rural, RUS grant year after year after year because they expand, expand. It's a fantastic program. And I've seen more involvement with teledentistry. I've seen ophthalmology and eye doctors have more unique other than sort of the original telestroke or behavioral health or primary care types of standards.

Pat: Brit, Kristin, I'm going to have to drop. I'm available. Like I said, just let me know tomorrow if there are any times and I'd be happy to answer some more questions for everyone. But thank you

Brit: Thank you, Pat. Thanks so much. Huge thanks to you and to Kristin, and Kathleen. And thank you to all of you for joining. This has been fantastic. Really appreciate your sharing all this with us. And during the office hours Friday and Monday. To everyone who's still connected, we'll leave this thank you slide with contact information up for a few more minutes. Go ahead and take down the information. We will follow up by tonight once we can get the recording with the recording slides the contact information. And thank you so much for joining us if we can help with anything. And you want us on on the contact list. Do let us know. Thank you again for joining. 

Kristin: Brit, let me thank you for hosting this session. And I highly recommend people go look at your product. Look at your website. And thank you very much for hosting this for everyone.

Brit: Thank you, Kristin. Appreciate that. Thanks again. Okay.



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