Rural Health Care

Trainings & Outreach

RHC Circuit - First Quarter 2017

USAC | RHC Circuit

1st Quarter 2017

 

Checklist & Task Reminders

Stay on Schedule for FY2017

To be eligible for funding from the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program or Telecommunications (Telecom) Programs, you must complete and submit several forms sequentially. USAC must review and approve each form before you can submit the following form.

 

To ensure that you stay on track with your forms, USAC has developed recommended submission milestones for both the HCF and Telecom Programs. These milestones account for both the minimum competitive bidding time allowed under RHC Program rules and time for USAC review.

 

While the only hard deadline is for submitting the funding request form (FCC Forms 462 and 466) – which you must submit by June 30, 2017, to be considered for the initial filing window period – these milestones provide recommended cut-off submission dates for other application forms.

 

We also listed the first day the forms are available for submission and highly encourage you to submit the forms as early as possible.

 

HCF Program Form

First Day to Submit for Individual HCPs or Consortia

Last Day to Submit for Individual HCPs NOT using an RFP

Last Day to Submit for Consortia or Individuals Using an RFP*

FCC Form 460

Anytime

April 14, 2017

April 7, 2017

FCC Form 461

Jan. 1, 2017

May 15, 2017

May 1, 2017

FCC Form 462

March 1, 2017

June 30, 2017

June 30, 2017

 

* Note that for the HCF Program, FCC Forms 461 (Request for Services forms) submitted by applicants using a request for proposal (RFP) will take longer to process than those submitting without an RFP.

 

Telecom Program Form

First Day to Submit

Last Day to Submit

FCC Form 465

Jan. 1, 2017

May 15, 2017

FCC Form 466

March 1, 2017

June 30, 2017

 

RHC Program Update

No Additional Filing Window Periods for FY2016

Due to an extraordinarily high demand for RHC Program funds in Funding Year 2016 (FY2016), there will not be a third filing window period and no more funding requests (FCC Forms 462 or 466) will be accepted for FY2016 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016). Current projections show that the total dollar value of all qualifying funding requests received will either meet or slightly exceed the program's $400 million annual cap.

 

While FY2016 is closed to new funding requests, My Portal continues to accept Telecom Program FCC Form 467 (Connection Certification Form) and Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program FCC Form 463 (Invoice and Request for Disbursement Form).

TRAINING & RESOURCES

Sign up for the SNF/New Applicant Webinar Series

A new webinar series started in January 2017 to help skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and other new applicants become familiar with the RHC Program application process and the different application forms. Sign up for one or all of the webinars, below!

 

April 5, 2017, 2 PM ET:
Request for Services Forms and Best Practices Webinar
Register

 

April 19, 2017, 2 PM ET:
Funding Request Forms and Best Practices Webinar
Register

 

June 7, 2017, 2 PM ET:
Funding Request Forms and Best Practices Webinar

Register

 

These webinars provide an overview of the application process, however, we encourage you to complete and submit your forms as soon as they are available!

RHC 101 Webinar Recording

If you were unable to attend our RHC 101 Webinar on March 15, the recording is available now. This webinar provided an overview of the RHC Program, the eligibility requirements, application process, and how to get started.

 

SUGGESTIONS & FEEDBACK

Volunteers to Provide Feedback About the RHC Program

Would you like to provide feedback to the RHC Program? USAC is collecting feedback from participants about the application process, customer service, trainings, and more. We want to hear from applicants like you! Sign up and someone from the RHC Program will reach out with more information about how to participate within the next few months.

What this means for applicants:

  • If the final total dollar value of all qualifying funding requests does not exceed the $400 million annual funding cap by the close of the second filing window period for FY2016, all qualifying requests will receive 100% of the requested funding.
  • If the final total dollar value of all qualifying funding requests exceeds the $400 million annual cap by the close of the second filing window period for FY2016, all qualifying funding requests will receive a pro-rated percentage of the total funds available during the second filing window period, based on the total amount of funding requested during the second filing window period.
  • Those qualifying requests filed prior to the second filing window period will receive 100% of the requested funding.
     

Funding information for FY2016 will be posted on the USAC website in the coming weeks.

Initial Filing Window Period for FY2017 Open!

The initial filing window period for FY2017 opened March 1, 2017! Applicants can now submit funding request forms (FCC Forms 462 and 466) through June 30, 2017. To ensure you receive funding, submit your funding requests by June 30, 2017.

 

Funding request forms provide information about the services you selected through the FCC Forms 461 and 465 competitive bidding processes and certify that those services were the most cost-effective option of the offers you received. USAC uses information you provide on these forms to calculate and issue funding commitments.

 

USAC will process funding request forms during funding request filing window periods, but will not make funding commitments for forms submitted during a filing window period until after that funding window period has ended.

 

USAC will continue to accept and process all other RHC Program application forms (i.e., FCC Forms 460, 461, 463, 465, 467, and Telecom invoice) throughout the funding year.

Skilled Nursing Facilities

Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) can now begin the process to obtain funding for the RHC Program! SNFs were able to begin the application process starting on January 1, 2017, by submitting the first form in the application process. If you are a SNF, please visit our SNF Welcome Page for more information, including our webinar training series.

Forms Enhancements – Review the PDF of All Forms Changes

On January 1, 2017, the FCC forms, which expired on December 31, 2016, were replaced with new Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved forms. These changes are reflected in My Portal.

 

The new fields promote alignment between the programs, ensuring that they collect the same data; such as a new entry field for your organization's website and enhanced document uploading capabilities.

 

These changes apply to both FY2016 and FY2017 forms. If you started a form in calendar year 2016, the system automatically pre-populated the new forms with your saved information on January 1, 2017, but you may have to enter additional information for new mandatory fields before submitting.

 

For additional information about specific forms updates for the Telecom and HCF Programs, see the 2017 forms enhancements list PDF.

Best Practices & Tips

Respond to Information Requests

As USAC reviews forms, forms processors will send information requests to applicants when information needs to be clarified or is missing. The forms reviewers will email information requests directly to the applicants, who then have 14 days to respond to the request. If the applicant does not respond to the information request completely or in a timely manner, USAC will deny the funding request. It is very important that you fill out your forms carefully to avoid potential errors that might result in an information request or denial of funding.

Evaluating Bids for Cost Effectiveness

RHC Program rules require health care providers to competitively bid the services they are requesting and select the most cost-effective method of providing that service, 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 that the applicant deems relevant to choosing a method of providing the required services." Note that when evaluating cost effectiveness, applicants should consider the overall cost of service before RHC Program funding is applied should be considered, not the cost to the applicant after RHC Program funding (e.g., for the Telecom Program, the difference between the rural and urban rate).
 

 

Rural Health Care
Program Newsletter

1st Quarter 2017
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