Rural Health Care

Trainings & Outreach

RHC Circuit - Fourth Quarter 2015

RHC Circuit Quarterly Newsletter

4th Quarter 2015

FCC Update

Changes in Rurality

Per the FCC's Rural Areas List Order (DA 14-1042), some program participants that were previously determined to be rural may become non-rural as a result of the update to the Rural Areas List. This change can affect an HCP or consortium member's eligibility for funding as early as July 1, 2016.
Watch our new video explaining how to use the updated Eligible Rural Areas Search tool to find if your HCP's rural status has changed and what the change means for you. You can also visit our Rurality Change page, which provides background information on the change as well as detailed information about how and when your eligibility for funding may be affected.
Why this change?
The FCC's definition of "rural area" did not change. Changes in rurality are due to the update to the Rural Areas List which is used to populate the Eligible Rural Areas Search tool.
Per the Rural Areas List Order (DA 14-1042), in August 2014, the RHC Program's Eligible Rural Areas Search tool was updated to reflect the latest decennial census and most recent nationwide Core Based Statistical Area (CBSA) designations, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget. 
Refer to the August 6, 2014, Latest News article FCC Issues Order Updating Rural Areas List for information about the impact of this update on HCPs. Account holders for HCPs who will become non-rural as a result of this change should have received communication about their change in rurality.
For questions about eligibility or rurality, contact the RHC Help Desk by email or by phone at (800) 453-1546.

Consortia Annual Reporting Requirements

The FCC released the annual reporting requirements for consortia participating in the HCF and Pilot Programs [Public Notice (DA 15-1005)]. The first annual report will collect information from FY2014. However, since USAC and the FCC have already collected the information needed for Funding Year (FY) 2014 annual report through FCC forms filed for HCF Program consortia and through the SharePoint site for Pilot Program consortia, no further action is needed from consortia at this time. 

Next Steps and Annual Reporting for FY2015

While there is no action needed from consortia for annual reports for FY2014, the scope of the annual report for FY2015 may require submission of information about competitive bidding and telehealth applications used. Stay tuned to the RHC Circuit for more information.

Checklist and Task Reminders

Reminder: All HCF Program Invoices for FY2014 Single-Year Commitments Due December 31, 2015

All FCC Forms 463 must be submitted to USAC within six months of the end date of the funding commitment. For FY2014, single-year funding commitments which ended June 30, 2015, applicants must submit a corresponding FCC Form 463, approved by their service provider, to USAC by December 31, 2015. Start this process early to allow for revision time and service provider approval processing. 
Note: This deadline is for the HCF Program only for FY2014 and does not apply to the Telecommunications Program.
Resources for HCPs:
Resources for service providers:

"SPIN" Being Replaced by "498 ID"

Due to changes to the FCC Form 498, the term "Service Provider Identification Number," or "SPIN," is being phased out and replaced with the term "498 ID." This change will take place over the next few months in My Portal and on the RHC Program website. More information will be coming soon.

Telecom Funding Commitments Search Tool

Want to know which HCPs are receiving funding from the Telecom Program? The new Funding Commitments Search tool, available from the Telecom Program's Search Tools page, allows searches by state, HCP name or number, service provider name or SPIN, city, or ZIP code for commitments from FY2012 or later. 



Suggestions and Feedback

RHC Help Desk Email Survey Launched

If you've contacted the RHC Help Desk recently, then we need your feedback! Be on the lookout for a customer satisfaction survey coming to your email. All feedback is appreciated and will help us make the RHC Program better and easier for everyone!



The RHC Help Desk is here to support you! Visit the Contact Us page and let us know how we can help. 

RHC 101 Webinar: Join Us in November or January

Sign up for our introductory webinar for HCPs. If you're new to the RHC Program, thinking about applying for the first time, or need a refresher about the application process and program rules, join us in January to learn the basics about how to participate! During the RHC 101 webinar, you'll learn about:
  • Funding available through the RHC HCF and Telecommunications Programs, 
  • Who is eligible to participate,  
  • The differences between the programs, and 
  • How to apply and tips for successful participation.
Register for the next webinar using the link below:

Service Provider Webinar December 3

Service providers will have the opportunity to hear from the RHC Program staff as well as USAC's finance department on December 3 at 2:00 PM. 
Register today to learn how to: 
  • Register as a service provider,
  • Submit bids to provide telecom and internet services to HCPs,
  • Support applicants by providing necessary documents,
  • Invoice for both the HCF and Telecom Programs,
  • Receive disbursements and interpret remittance statements, and
  • Manage entitlements in the E-File system.

Funding Stats

Visit the "Funding Information" pages for both the Telecom and HCF programs for up-to-date snapshots of commitments, disbursements, and funding requests received and processed.  

My Portal Updates

Stay current with the latest updates to My Portal by visiting the HCF Program Applicant Updates, Telecom Program Applicant Updates, or Service Provider Updates pages.

Limitation on Service Provider Involvement in Competitive Bidding 

Per the HCF Order (FCC 12-150), paragraph 231, vendors or service providers participating in the competitive bidding process are prohibited from assisting with or filling out service requests submitted by HCPs. In addition, to ensure a fair and competitive bidding process, potential bidders must have access to the same information and must be treated in the same manner. All bidders must be evaluated based on the bid evaluation criteria listed on the FCC Form 461.

New RFP and Network Plan Checklists 

The HCF Program consortia Request for Proposal (RFP) and Network Plan web pages, and Individual HCPs Request for Proposal (RFP) web page have been updated to give more detailed information about the requirements for RFPs and network plans. Dynamic checklists will also be available soon to help you ensure you've covered all requirements before submitting to USAC. 

New Invoicing Resources

As mentioned in the reminder article above, the invoicing deadline for single-year commitments ending on June 30, 2015, is December 31, 2015. A new video, FAQs, and guide are now available to give step-by-step instructions on how to use the new functionalities in My Portal and to ensure that your FCC Forms 463 are submitted correctly and on time!

Site and Service Substitution Web Page and Resources 

New My Portal functionality allowing consortia applicants to submit their own site and service substitutions was recently deployed. Visit the new Site & Service Substitutions page for a step-by-step video detailing how to use this functionality. Also see the Site and Service Substitution Applicant Guide, available for download, with screenshots to walk you through the filing process.

RHC on the Road

Upcoming Conference: Southeast Telehealth Resource Center

Join RHC Program staff at the RHC Program exhibit at the Florida Partnership for Telehealth's 2nd Annual Florida Telehealth Summit in Winter Park, FL, December 3-4. For more information and to register, visit the Florida Telehealth's website.


Rural Health Care
Program Newsletter

4th Quarter 2015
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