Rural Health Care

Step 2 Organize Consortium

There are two main steps to take when organizing a consortium: designating a consortium leader and identifying the consortium members.

Designate a Consortium Leader

The consortium leader is the legally and financially responsible entity for all consortium activities supported by the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program. The consortium leader may be one of the following entities:

  • The consortium itself if organized as a legal entity,
  • An eligible health care provider (HCP) member of the consortium,
  • An ineligible state organization,
  • An ineligible public sector (government) entity, or
  • An ineligible nonprofit entity.

An eligible HCP can serve as the consortium leader and simultaneously receive support. However, if an ineligible HCP serves as the consortium leader, they are prohibited from receiving support from the HCF Program.

Responsibilities

Consortium leader responsibilities include:

  • Designating a project coordinator to serve as the point of contact with USAC,
  • Submitting all forms and certifications,
  • Ensuring compliance with requirements,
  • Managing allocation of costs and discounts,
  • Overseeing the invoicing process,
  • Keeping records as required,
  • Coordinating site visits, and
  • Coordinating audit inquiries.

Except for the responsibilities listed above, consortia have flexibility to allocate legal and financial responsibility as they see fit, provided that this allocation is memorialized in a formal written agreement between the affected parties. The agreement must clearly identify the parties responsible for repayment of disbursed funds to the consortium due to violations of program rules. Consortia that choose to allocate legal and financial responsibility must submit the formal written agreement to USAC for approval with or prior to submission of the FCC Form 461 (Request for Services).

Consortium leaders can choose to serve in an administrative capacity only and have the consortium (if a legal entity) or its individual members retain ultimate legal and financial responsibility.

If USAC, at some point, needs to recover disbursed funds from the consortium due to violations of the program rules, the consortium leader will be held legally and financially responsible for repaying those disbursements, unless the written agreement submitted to USAC by the consortium provides otherwise.

Identify Consortium Participants and Obtain Authorizations

The consortium leader must identify the members of the consortium by submitting an individual FCC Form 460 for each eligible HCP.

Before the FCC Forms 460 can be processed, the consortium leader must obtain a letter of agency (LOA) from each member authorizing the consortium leader to act on their behalf. For more information about LOAs, visit the Letter of Agency page.

For more information on eligibility criteria for consortia member HCPs, continue to Step 3: Determine Eligibility.