Rural Health Care

Step 3 Evaluating Bids & Selecting an SP

After the 28-day competitive bidding period ends (which begins once the FCC Form 465 is posted on the RHC website), the health care provider (HCP) will need to evaluate all bids received to determine which service provider can provide the most cost-effective services that meet the HCP's requirements. This is where the scoring matrix developed in Step Two will be used. Developing the criteria in advance helps ensure that all service providers are evaluated by the same standards and helps USAC understand how the HCP made its selection decision.

HCPs must choose the most cost-effective service provider, which is defined by the FCC as, “the method that costs the least after consideration of the features, quality of transmission, reliability, and other factors relevant to choosing a method of providing the required services.”

HCPs must consider all valid bids received during the competitive bidding period, and should document how they evaluated each bid. Keep in mind that although cost does not have to be the main criteria, it must be included as one of the criteria.

Once the service provider has been selected, the HCP may enter into a service agreement or sign a contract with the selected provider. To facilitate the application process for multi-year contracts, it is helpful to make sure a contract meets the requirements to be considered “evergreen” by USAC. With an evergreen contract, the HCP does not need to file an FCC Form 465 or participate in competitive bidding for the life of the contract (or until the contract is modified).

To be considered evergreen, the multi-year contract must meet the following criteria to be valid:

  • Both parties are identified,
  • Both parties have signed and dated the contract,
  • Specifies the type and terms of service, and
  • Has a specific duration.

More information about evergreen status can be found on our Evergreen Contracts page.