Rural Health Care

Skilled Nursing Facilities – Now Eligible for Funding

Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) can begin the process to obtain Rural Health Care Program funding starting on January 1, 2017. To apply as an individual health care provider (not in a consortium), your facility must also be:

To learn more about the additional requirements of the RHC Program, go to Determine Eligibility (HCF) or Eligibility (Telecom) pages. SNFs are subject and must adhere to the same eligibility and program rules as other applicants.

About the Rural Health Care Program

The Rural Health Care (RHC) Program supports eligible health care providers in bringing world class medical care to rural areas through increased connectivity. It provides up to $400 million per funding year in reduced rates for broadband and telecommunications services consistent with the FCC rules.

There are two subprograms in the RHC Program: the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program and the Telecommunications (Telecom) Program.

  • The Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program provides a flat 65% discount on broadband expenses, including equipment. The HCF Program also encourages networks of health care providers (both rural and urban) to form state and regional health care consortia to save costs and expand access to healthcare.
  • The Telecommunications (Telecom) Program helps ensure that eligible rural health care providers pay no more than their urban counterparts for telecommunications services by funding the urban/rural rate difference for eligible telecommunications services.

If you have questions about which subprogram is right for you, contact the RHC Help Desk via email or at (800) 453-1546 for help getting started.

What is a SNF?

A SNF is defined by Section 1819(a) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 1395i-3(a), as follows:
"An institution (or a distinct part of an institution) which--

  1. is primarily engaged in providing to residents –
    1. skilled nursing care and related services for residents who require medical or nursing care, or
    2. rehabilitation services for the rehabilitation of injured, disabled, or sick persons, and is not primarily for the care and treatment of mental diseases;
  2. has in effect a transfer agreement (meeting the requirements of section 1861(l) of this title) with one or more hospitals having agreements in effect under section 1866 of this title; and
  3. meets the requirements for a skilled nursing facility described in subsections (b), (c), and (d)."

Webinar Training Series – Get Ready for Funding Year 2017

A new webinar series will help SNFs and new applicants become familiar with the RHC Program process and the different application forms. Sign up for one or all of the webinars below by clicking on the registration links.
These webinars are to provide an overview of the application process, however, please do not hesitate to complete and submit your forms as soon as they are available (January 1 for Eligibility and Request for Services forms)

New Applicant Training Schedule

More information and webinar dates coming soon.

January 17, 2017 2 PM ET
RHC 101: An Introduction to the RHC Program – Watch Now!

March 15, 2017 2 PM ET
RHC 101: An Introduction to the RHC Program – Register

During this webinar, you’ll learn about the funding available through the RHC Healthcare Connect Fund and Telecom Programs, the differences between the programs, how to apply, and tips for successful participation.

March 22, 2017 2PM ET
Eligibility Forms: FCC Form 460 (HCF) and FCC Form 465 (Telecom) – Register

The first form in the RHC Program Application process determines your site’s eligibility; this webinar covers the FCC Form 460 (HCF Program) and the FCC Form 465 (Telecom Program). During the webinar, you will learn about how to complete the form, with a step-by-step walk through of the online application system, My Portal, and milestones you will have to meet to ensure your form is submitted with plenty of time to complete the subsequent forms in the application process.

April 5, 2017 2 PM ET
Request for Services Forms: FCC Form 461 (HCF) and FCC Form 465 (Telecom) – Register

The FCC Form 461 (HCF Program) and FCC Form 465 (Telecom Program) let USAC know your service needs and allows you to request bids from service providers. During the webinar, you will learn what a service request is, how to prepare for competitive bidding, and see a step-by-step walkthrough of the online application system, My Portal, and milestones you will have to meet to ensure your form is submitted with plenty of time to complete the subsequent forms in the application process.

April 19, 2017 2 PM ET
Funding Request Forms: FCC Form 462 (HCF) and FCC Form 466 (Telecom) – Register

The Funding Request Form (FCC Form 462 for the HCF Program and FCC Form 466 for the Telecom Program) lets USAC know what services were selected through the competitive bidding process and certifies that they were the most cost-effective option. During the webinar, you will learn what a funding request is, what supporting documentation you will need to provide, and see a through a step-by-step walkthrough of the online application system, My Portal so you are ready to submit your form. For the first filing window period in FY2017, funding request forms must be submitted by June 30, 2017, but we encourage you to submit them as early as possible.

June 7, 2017 2 PM ET
Funding Request Forms: FCC Form 462 (HCF) and FCC Form 466 (Telecom) – Register

This covers the same information as the April 19, 2017, webinar. Please see the description above.

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