Rural Health Care

1/13/2017No Additional Filing Windows for FY2016; FY2017 Filing Window to Run From March 1-June 30, 2017

No Additional Filing Window Periods for Funding Year 2016  

Due to an extraordinarily high demand for Rural Health Care (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. 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) for applicants approved for funding in FY2016.
           What This Means for Applicants:

  • If the final total dollar value of all qualifying funding requests does not exceed the $400M annual funding cap during 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 $400M annual cap during 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 Year 2017 Initial Filing Window Period March 1 - June 30, 2017 

The initial filing window period for Funding Year 2017 (FY2017) will be from March 1 – June 30, 2017, rather than February 1 – April 30, as previously stated. 

Why delay the filing window period start date and extend the close date?
The delay of the initial filing window period start date and extension of the close date will allow applicants additional time to conduct their competitive bidding processes. It will also grant more time for new applicants, including the newly eligible skilled nursing facilities(SNFs), to familiarize themselves with program requirements, obtain eligibility determinations for the RHC Program, and apply for RHC Program funding.

Do applicants have to wait until March to get started?
No. Applicants can start submitting other necessary forms for FY2017 (FCC Forms 460, 461, or 465) before the filing window period opens, and the RHC Program strongly recommends doing so. However, applicants must wait until the start of the initial filing window period for FY2017 on March 1 to submit their FCC Forms 462 (for the HCF Program) or FCC Forms 466 (for the Telecom Program).

Applicants that submitted an FCC Form 461 or FCC Form 465 but did not submit a corresponding FCC Form 462 or FCC Form 466 for FY2016 will need to submit a new FCC Form 461 or FCC Form 465 for FY2017 if they do not meet an HCF Program competitive bidding exemption.

What is the likelihood of additional filing window periods for FY2017?
At this time, USAC is opening an initial filing window period for FY2017 from March 1 – June 30, 2017. If the total dollar value of all qualifying funding requests received during the first filing window period for FY2017 does not exceed the cap, USAC will provide notice about any subsequent filing window periods for FY2017, based on its assessment of the total qualifying funding requested in the initial filing window period and the amount of available funding still remaining.

More Resources
Please visit our filing window period web page for more information about filing windows periods and pro-ration or contact with questions.

12/30/2016RHC Forms Enhancements Live January 1, 2017

On January 1, 2017, the RHC Program Forms, which expired on December 31, 2016, will be replaced with new OMB-approved forms. These changes will be reflected in My Portal and you will notice minor changes. These new fields promote alignment between the programs, ensuring that the same data is collected, such as a new entry field for your organization’s website and enhanced document uploading capabilities.

These changes will apply to both FY2016 and FY2017 forms. If you started a form in calendar year 2016, the system will automatically pre-populate 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.

Please note that we continue to update forms instructions to better align the HCF and Telecom Programs, and will update instructions on both the Forms page on the USAC website and My Portal accordingly. Form instructions or PDF versions of forms that are generated in My Portal to enable applicants to view the data they have entered are for applicants’ reference only, and are not OMB-approved versions of application forms. Forms and instructions posted on the USAC website will be updated in early January to reflect the new forms.

Beginning January 1, 2017, applicants may only submit form data through the online interface and may not submit paper or PDF versions of paper forms. Telecom Program applicants requiring additional assistance with the transition to submission online can contact USAC via email.

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

12/30/2016Fourth Quarter 2016 RHC Circuit Issued

The 4Q2016 RHC Circuit has been issued. To subscribe, please visit our subscription center.

12/23/2016My Portal Outage to Launch Newly Modified Forms: Sunday, January 1, 2017

Rural Health Care’s My Portal will be unavailable from 12:00 AM through 1:30 AM ET on Sunday, January 1, 2017 in order to launch newly modified forms, which among other changes will include newly eligible Skilled Nursing Facilities.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

12/20/2016My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Tuesday, December 20

Rural Health Care’s My Portal will be unavailable from 9:00 PM through 10:00 PM ET on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

11/2/2016E-File Password Reset Requests

On Saturday, October 29, 2016, we upgraded our E-File login platform to provide identity management, single sign-on, and mobility management for our applications.  As a result of this action, online password reset requests will result in an email to the user with further instructions for changing their password.  It may take up to 10 minutes for this email to be delivered to you.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

10/10/2016Third Quarter 2016 RHC Circuit Issued

The 3Q2016 RHC Circuit has been issued. To subscribe, please visit our subscription center.

9/29/2016FCC Annual Report for HCF Program Consortia Due September 30

The FCC recently released a Public Notice specifying Funding Year (FY) 2015 annual reporting requirements for Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) and Pilot Program consortia. 

The reports for FY2015 (July 2015 - June 2016) are due tomorrow, Friday, September 30, 2016.

Template to Supplement RHC Program Forms
For FY2015, RHC Program consortia are required to submit additional information for annual reports using an Excel template (available for download on the USAC website) to supplement information collected in RHC Program application forms. HCF Program consortia must submit the Excel spreadsheet to USAC with the types of telehealth applications supported by the RHC Program.

Visit our website to learn more about annual report requirements and download the Excel template you need to fill out and submit:

When completing the spreadsheet, select "Yes" from the drop-down menu in column B to indicate that that consortium is using that type of telehealth application.

About Annual Reports
Consortia must submit annual reports to help USAC and the FCC understand the progress made each year in meeting the program’s performance goals to:

  • Increase broadband access for healthcare providers, particularly those serving rural areas,
  • Foster development and deployment of broadband healthcare networks, and
  • Maximize program cost-effectiveness

9/22/2016Skilled Nursing Facilities Eligible Starting January 1

New legislation signed by the President on June 22, 2016, amends the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to include skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) among the list of eligible health care providers (HCPs) in both the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) and Telecommunications Programs. 

SNFs can begin applying to the program on January 1, 2017, by submitting their FCC Form 460 (HCF Program) or Form 465 (Telecom Program) to determine eligibility.

Getting Started in the RHC Program
To confirm that your facility is eligible, start the RHC Program application process by filing an FCC Form 460 (for the Healthcare Connect Fund) or FCC Form 465 (for the Telecommunications Program). You can also call the RHC Help Desk at (800) 453-1546 for help getting started with the program. 

To receive RHC Program funding, in addition to being an eligible facility type such as a skilled nursing facility, the facility must be: 

  • Not-for-profit or public, and
  • In an FCC-approved rural location, if it is applying as an individual HCP. You can look up your rurality status with the Eligible Rural Areas Search.