Rural Health Care Program Home

Latest News rss-feed

1/27/2015USAC's Washington, DC Office Opening Two Hours Late, Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Due to inclement weather, USAC’s Washington, DC office, including the RHC Help Desk, will open two hours late on Tuesday, January 27, 2015. Please note that the Schools and Libraries Client Service Bureau (CSB) will open at its normal time.

1/22/2015FCC Clarifies Supporting Documentation Deadline with Order Release


The FCC has released an Order (DA 15-69) clarifying the deadline for supporting documentation associated with the FCC Form 466 (Telecommunications Program Funding Request and Certification Form). Per the Order, beginning in Funding Year 2015, applicants will be required to file all supporting documentation with their FCC Form 466 by the end of the funding year. FCC Forms 466 will not be deemed complete absent the receipt of all supporting documentation and associated certifications.

If a form is received without all supporting documentation, or if supporting documentation is inadequate, USAC will inform the applicant in writing and give the applicant 14 calendar days to submit the missing or relevant supporting documentation. If an applicant does not provide a timely response to USAC requests for documentation, the funding request will be denied.

Requiring the submission of supporting documentation with the FCC Form 466 by the end of the funding year is intended to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the RHC Program by minimizing the need to reprocess applications and decreasing both administrative costs and form processing time. 

1/20/2015My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Tuesday, January 20


The Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal will be unavailable Tuesday, January 20, from 5:00-5:30 PM EST, for system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

1/16/2015My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Monday, January 19


The Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal will be unavailable Monday, January 19, from 5:00-7:00 PM EST, for system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

1/13/2015My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, January 15


The Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal will be unavailable Thursday, January 15, from 5:00-7:00 PM EST, for system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

1/11/2015USAC's Washington, DC Office Opening Two Hours Late, Monday, January 12, 2015


Due to inclement weather, USAC’s Washington, DC office, including the RHC Help Desk, will open two hours late on Monday, January 12, 2015. Please note that the Schools and Libraries Client Service Bureau (CSB) will open at its normal time.

1/7/2015Monthly Updates on Progress Towards Annual Funding Cap


The Rural Health Care Program has an annual cap of $400 million in total support available for telecommunications and broadband funding for the Telecommunications and Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) programs. As part of the total funding cap, there is also a $150 million cap for upfront payments and multi-year commitments. Requests for funding for both the Telecommunications and HCF programs may be submitted beginning during the initial funding request filing period, March 1 – May 30 prior to the beginning of the funding year, and through the end of funding year. USAC will process all requests until funding is exhausted.

In order to keep you informed about progress towards reaching the funding caps for Funding Year (FY) 2013 and FY2014, RHC Program staff will continue to update this funding cap progress report. Estimated commitments are based on HCP funding requests, and are subject to change after USAC review of forms.

$400 million Cap for Total RHC Program Funding

FY2013

FY2014

Total Commitment Requests Received

$192,951,927

$100,844,308

Total Commitment Made

$177,940,871

$26,674,583


Commitment Requests Received (Telecom Program)

$141,191,674

$68,011,876


Commitments Made (Telecom Program)

$128,018,246

$6,162,656


Commitment Requests Received (HCF Program – Consortia)

$34,779,193

$20,750,700


Commitments Made (HCF Program – Consortia)

$32,941,565

$17,492,220


Commitment Requests Received (HCF Program – Individual HCPs)

$16,981,060

$12,081,732


Commitments Made (HCF Program – Individual HCPs)

$16,981,060

$3,019,707


$150 million Cap for Upfront Payments and Multi-year Commitments

FY2013

FY2014

Total Commitment Requests Received

$42,793,090

$25,283,869

Total Commitment Made

$40,936,603

$16,997,371


Total Commitment Requests Received (Consortia)

$33,204,975

$19,385,482


Total Commitment Made (Consortia)

$31,353,695

$16,373,223


Total Commitment Requests Received (Individual HCPs)

$9,558,115

$5,898,387


Total Commitment Made (Individual HCPs)

$9,582,908

$624,148


HCF Program Disbursements

FY2013

FY2014

Total Disbursements Made

$9,441,435

$557,664


Total Disbursements Made (Consortia)

$5,157,764

$537,742


Total Disbursements Made (Individual HCPs)

$4,283,672

$19,992


HCF Program Funding Requests

FY2013

FY2014

Total Funding Requests Made

2,839

1052


Total Funding Requests Made (Consortia)

55

69


Total Funding Requests Made (Individual HCPs)

2,784

983


Note: All data for estimated commitments and disbursements made are through December 31, 2014.

1/6/2015Submit FY2015 Service Requests


Applicants can now submit the FCC Form 465 (Description of Services Requested and Certification Form) or FCC Form 461 (Request for Services Form) through My Portal for Funding Year (FY) 2015.

USAC allows for form submission up to six months before the beginning of the funding year (July 1, 2015), so that applicants may have sufficient time for the competitive bidding process. Service requests can be submitted at any time during the funding year, but must be submitted before June 2, 2015, to receive a full 12 months of funding for FY2015. This allows for the minimum 28-day competitive bidding period required by the RHC Program.

Learn More about the FCC Form 465
Instructions and best practices for FCC Form 465 can be found on the Telecom Program Forms page. For more information, review the Step 2: Evaluation Criteria and Service Request web page on the RHC Telecom Program website for applicants.

All Telecom Program applicants should also review web pages for the steps that precede the "Evaluation Criteria & Service Requests" step to ensure program compliance, including information about determining eligibility, preparing for competitive bidding, and Evergreen contracts, which may exempt an HCP from filing the FCC Form 465.

A Telecom Program Application Timeline with all form submission deadlines is available on the handouts section of the Telecom Program Trainings & Outreach page.

Learn More about the FCC Form 461
Instructions and best practices can be found on the HCF Program Forms page. For more information, review the service request web pages on the RHC website for HCF Program Individual HCPs or HCF Program consortia.

All RHC Program applicants should also review web pages for the steps that precede the “Request Services” step to ensure program compliance, including information about determining eligibility, preparing for competitive bidding, and competitive bidding exemptions for filing the FCC Form 461 for the HCF Program.

An HCF Program Application Timeline with all form submission deadlines is available on the handouts section of the HCF Program Trainings & Outreach page.
 

1/2/2015HCF Program My Portal Software Updates


The Rural Health Care (RHC) Program deploys software updates to improve usability and functionality in My Portal, the RHC Program's online application management system. 

These updates include features that will expedite the application review process and help applicants maintain Rural Health Care (RHC) Program compliance. Many of the enhancements are based on feedback from applicants.

The following updates are only applicable to the Healthcare Connect Fund Program.

New Consortium FCC Form 460 Bulk Load Enhancement
Consortia users can now “bulk load” HCPs for Lines 2a and 2b when filling out the consortium FCC Form 460.

New Email Notification Features for FCC Form 462
If an applicant selects a Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) on the FCC Form 462 for a service provider that has not checked the HCF Program certification in Block 15 of their FCC Form 498, an email will be send to the contact email address for that service provider, alerting them to revise their SPIN to elect to participate in the HCF Program.

FRN Added to Subject and Body Text of FCC Form 463 Notification Emails
The FRN will be included in the subject line and in the top portion of the body of all FCC Form 463 notification emails to ensure accuracy.

Applicants Able to Delete FCC Form 463 Drafts
Applicants are now able to delete a draft of an FCC Form 463, even after they have submitted it to the service provider for review. An email will be sent to the account holder who deleted the draft confirming the deletion. Once the service provider certifies and submits the form to USAC, applicants can no longer delete the FCC Form 463.

New Features for Consultants to Manage Third Party Authorizations (TPAs)
Consultant applicants will now see the list of all of their FCC Forms 460 that are in status “Pending TPA” on their dashboard. Consultants can upload a single TPA document, and choose to which FCC Forms 460 it applies. Once the TPA is uploaded, start and end dates entered, and associated with one or more HCPs, those FCC Forms 460 will show as “Submitted” status.

Firefox® Number Fields Bug Fixed 
When using Firefox® browser, a bug that caused the cursor to jump to the next field when a number was entered has been fixed.


Learn More, Receive Assistance
Stay in touch with the RHC Program to learn about future enhancements to My Portal and other information.

For immediate assistance with the HCF Program, submit questions via email or phone at (800) 453-1546.

12/30/2014USAC Closed from December 31 at 2:00 PM EST through January 1


In observance of the upcoming holiday, USAC will close at 2:00 PM EST on Wednesday, December 31, and remain closed on Thursday January 1, 2015.

This closure includes the Schools and Libraries Program’s Client Service Bureau (CSB), and the Rural Health Care Program's RHC Help Desk.

USAC will re-open on Friday, January  2, 2015 and respond to all inquiries at that time.

12/23/2014Fourth Quarter 2014 RHC Circuit Issued


The 4Q 2014 RHC Circuit has been issued. To subscribe, please visit our subscription center.

12/22/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Monday, December 29


The Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal will be unavailable Monday, December 29, from 5:00-7:00 PM EST, for system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

12/9/2014Invitation to Webinar: FCC Form 463 Invoicing for Service Providers


FCC Form 463 is due for Funding Year (FY) 2013 single-year funding commitments with an end date of June 30, 2014, by December 31, 2014. Join us for a webinar to review FCC Form 463 requirements for service providers and tips for completing invoices on time.

Register here: FCC Form 463 Invoicing Webinar for Service Providers
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
2:00 to 3:00 PM EST

We encourage participants to submit questions in advance using the webinar registration form. If you think of a question after you register, please send it to RHC Program Outreach.

Webinar Topics
USAC will present best practices and answer your questions about the FCC Form 463. Service providers participating will learn about:

  • FCC Form 463 invoicing process
  • The roles of the HCP and service provider in the FCC Form 463 submission
  • FCC Form 463 best practices
  • Reviewing and certifying an FCC Form 463
  • Updating an FCC Form 498
  • Disbursement cycle
  • Where to find help

After the discussion of agenda items, staff will answer questions from the audience. We welcome suggestions for additional topics to RHC Program Outreach.

Need Help?
More information about HCF Program events is available on the Trainings & Outreach page of the RHC Program website.

If you have difficulty connecting to the webinar on December 17, contact USAC Outreach. For questions about the HCF Program, contact the HCF Program Help Desk via email or by phone at (800) 453-1546.

12/3/2014Resolved: Rural Health Care Help Desk Phone Line Down


The Rural Health Care Help Desk line (800) 453-1546 is currently down.  Calls placed to this number are being directed to a message from USAC’s Customer Operations. We apologize for the inconvenience and ask that until the issue is resolved, please send all inquiries via email to RHC Assist. This message will be updated when the phone issue has been resolved.

12/3/2014Monthly Updates on Progress Towards Annual Funding Cap


The Rural Health Care Program has an annual cap of $400 million in total support available for telecommunications and broadband funding for the Telecommunications and Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) programs. As part of the total funding cap, there is also a $150 million cap for upfront payments and multi-year commitments. Requests for funding for both the Telecommunications and HCF programs may be submitted beginning during the initial funding request filing period, March 1 – May 30 prior to the beginning of the funding year, and through the end of funding year. USAC will process all requests until funding is exhausted.

In order to keep you informed about progress towards reaching the funding caps for Funding Year (FY) 2013 and FY2014, RHC Program staff will continue to update this funding cap progress report. Estimated commitments are based on HCP funding requests, and are subject to change after USAC review of forms.

$400 million Cap for Total RHC Program Funding

FY2013

FY2014

Total Commitment Requests Received

$192,951,927

$100,844,308

Total Commitment Made

$168,167,049

$19,667,036


Commitment Requests Received (Telecom Program)

$147,545,751

$50,218,653


Commitments Made (Telecom Program)

$118,978,139

$4,624,668


Commitment Requests Received (HCF Program – Consortia)

$34,779,193

$27,287,348


Commitments Made (HCF Program – Consortia)

$32,941,565

$13,667,640


Commitment Requests Received (HCF Program – Individual HCPs)

$17,056,076

$10,600,624


Commitments Made (HCF Program – Individual HCPs)

$16,247,345

$1,374,828


$150 million Cap for Upfront Payments and Multi-year Commitments

FY2013

FY2014

Total Commitment Requests Received

$42,748,798

$31,418,468

Total Commitment Made

$40,222,050

$13,184,828


Total Commitment Requests Received (Consortia)

$33,204,975

$26,288,117


Total Commitment Made (Consortia)

$31,353,695

$13,087,457


Total Commitment Requests Received (Individual HCPs)

$9,543,823

$5,130,351


Total Commitment Made (Individual HCPs)

$8,868,356

$97,371


HCF Program Disbursements

FY2013

FY2014

Total Disbursements Made

$6,543,066

$273,711


Total Disbursements Made (Consortia)

$4,031,525

$256,464


Total Disbursements Made (Individual HCPs)

$2,511,542

$17,247


HCF Program Funding Requests

FY2013

FY2014

Total Funding Requests Made

2,839

867


Total Funding Requests Made (Consortia)

55

54


Total Funding Requests Made (Individual HCPs)

2,784

813


Note: All data for estimated commitments and disbursements made are through November 30, 2014.

12/2/2014Reminder: HCF Program Deadline for FCC Form 463 for FY2013


Per the FCC Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Order, Paragraph 305,* all FCC Forms 463 must be submitted to USAC within six months of the end date of the funding commitment. For funding year (FY) 2013 single year funding commitments ending June 30, 2014, the FCC Form 463 must be approved by both the applicant and service provider and submitted to USAC by December 31, 2014.

To ensure service provider payment by submitting an FCC Form 463 to USAC:

  • An applicant must have an approved FCC Form 462 funding commitment from USAC.
  • An applicant must submit its FCC Form 463 associated with the funding commitment.
  • The service provider will be notified and will approve or reject the form. If the service provider rejects the form, it is sent back to the health care provider (HCP) for corrections.
  • After the form has been approved by the service provider, USAC will review it.
  • Payments are made upon USAC review and approval.

Note: This deadline is for the HCF Program only and does not apply to the Telecommunications Program.

More Information for HCPs

More Information for Service Providers
  • FCC Form 463 Service Provider Guide

Additional Assistance
  • If you are experiencing any issues in submitting your FCC Form 463, please do not hesitate to contact the RHC Help Desk by email or by phone at (800) 453-1546.
  • We also recommend subscribing to the RHC Circuit quarterly newsletter and joining us for quarterly webinars for the most up-to-date information about the RHC Program and assistance with program rules.

*FCC Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Order (FCC 12-150), Paragraph 305: "This invoicing procedure is different from the Primary Program in two principal ways. In the Healthcare Connect Fund, as in the Pilot Program, (1) a HCP or Consortium Leader must certify to USAC that it has paid its contribution to the service provider before the invoice can be sent to USAC and the service provider can be paid, and (2) before any invoice is sent to USAC, both the HCP and service provider must certify that they have reviewed the document and that it is accurate. We believe the adoption of these requirements in the new program will help eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse by making sure that HCPs have made their required contribution to the cost of the services they receive and that the invoice accurately reflects the services an HCP is receiving and the support due to the service provider. It is permissible to certify that these steps have been taken via electronic signature of an officer, director, or other authorized employee of the Consortium Leader or HCP. All invoices must be received by the Administrator within six months of the end date of the funding commitment."

11/20/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, November 20


The Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal will be unavailable Thursday, November 20, from 5:00-7:00 PM EST, for system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

11/14/2014Telecommunications Program My Portal Software Update


The Rural Health Care (RHC) Program deploys software updates to improve usability and functionality in My Portal, the RHC Program's online application management system.

These updates include features that will expedite the application review process and help applicants maintain Rural Health Care (RHC) Program compliance. Many of the enhancements are based on feedback from applicants.

The following updates are only applicable to the Telecommunications Program.

New FCC Form 465 Enhancement for Community Mental Health Centers

On Block 4 of FCC Form 465 (Eligibility), if an applicant checks the "Community mental health center" category, two new upload buttons will appear to allow the applicant to attach the Community Mental Health Center checklist and HCP operating license/certification. My Portal will not allow the applicant to submit the form unless both of these supporting documents have been uploaded.

New Pop-up Text Added to FCC Form 466 Recall Button

If an error is discovered after an applicant submits an FCC Form 466, My Portal allows the applicant to recall the form and make required changes using a recall button that has been added to the My Forms page. Now, when an applicant clicks this button, a pop-up text box will appear informing the applicant that this action is not reversible and that recalling the form will remove it from the USAC review queue. The applicant should click "OK" to recall the form, or "Cancel" to keep the form in the review queue and return to the My Forms page.

11/6/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, November 7


The Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal will be unavailable Friday, November 7, from 5:00-8:00 PM ET, for system maintenance. This outage applies to FY2012-2014 only. We apologize for any inconvenience.

10/21/2014My Portal Software Updates


The Rural Health Care (RHC) Program deploys software updates to improve usability and functionality in My Portal, the RHC Program's online application management system. These updates include features that will expedite the application review process and help applicants maintain RHC Program compliance. Many of the enhancements are based on feedback from applicants.

The following updates are only applicable to the RHC Telecommunications Program.

New FCC Form 466 Recall Function
If an error is discovered after an applicant submits an FCC Form 466, My Portal now allows the applicant to recall the form and make required changes using a recall button that has been added to the "My Forms" page. When the applicant clicks this button, My Portal will recall the form from USAC and return it to the applicant in draft status. The applicant can then make corrections, re-attach supporting documentation, re-certify and re-submit the form to USAC.

About the Recall Function:
  • The recall function is not reversible; once used, the form will come out of the review queue. The applicant will then need to re-certify and re-submit the form for USAC to review.
  • Recalling a form will not change the original submission date of the form, even if it is after the close of the funding year.
  • The recall function is only available until the form has been assigned to a reviewer. Once the form has been assigned to a reviewer, applicants will see a pop-up message stating that the function is no longer available.
  • The recall function is located under the "Action Required" column but is an optional feature. This button should be used only when changes are required to a submitted form. Use the PDF button to review a previously submitted form.

New FCC Form 467 Pop-up Text Added

On Block 3 of the FCC Form 467, new pop-up boxes have been added to confirm the appropriate selection has been made. Applicants are encouraged to review the Funding Commitment Letter (FCL) with the service provider before submitting the FCC Form 467. Making the wrong selection in Block 3 may reduce or cancel the commitment amount on the FCL. 
  • Selecting the first option (confirming connection) will generate a pop-up box explaining that the selection will confirm all the information on the FCL.
  • The second option (notifying USAC of the disconnection of a discounted service) will generate a pop-up box explaining that this selection will change, and possibly reduce the FCL.
  • The third option (informing USAC that the service was not (or will not be) turned on during the funding year) will generate a pop-up box alerting the applicant that this option will cancel the funding commitment, resulting in zero funding for this service.
  • If an applicant selects any option in error, the applicant can select “Close” in the pop-up box to return and select the proper option.

New FCC Form 466 Circuit Start/End Locations Population Feature

The circuit start and end locations on the FCC Form 466 Lines 26 and 27 are now available in radio buttons. The HCP location, as documented on the FCC Form 465, can be selected for either the circuit start or the circuit end location. The opposing address must be typed manually into the form. This function works with multi-bill circuits, as well.

Changes to BAN Labels on Invoice Template and Support Schedule Language
While the correct Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) is required in order for a service provider to receive payment, the Billing Account Number (BAN) is not required for invoicing or remittance. Changes to the BAN will not impact invoicing or payment. The column headers on the invoice template and the language in the support schedule have been changed to indicate that the BAN is provided by the HCP.

HCPs Now Available to Be Claimed after the FCC Form 465 is Withdrawn
HCPs will now appear as "Available" in the "Search by Zip Code" results, and can be claimed by the account holder after the FCC Form 465 was withdrawn.

Tips for Known Issues
  • Users may be experiencing technical difficulties when attempting to use My Portal in a Chrome browser due to a recent Chrome browser updates. We will deploy a fix to this in coming months. In the meantime, we suggest using a different browser.
  • Some funding denial letters are missing content in the section of the letter that describes the reason for the denial. If an applicant receives a denial letter without this text, email us.
  • On Block 4 of the FCC Form 466, when “Other” is selected from the "Circuit Bandwidth" drop down menu, the applicant will get an error message if any characters except numbers are entered on the line. To avoid an error message, be sure to enter the speed with numbers only and no letters, e.g. “10” instead of “10 Mbps.”

Learn More, Receive Assistance

Stay in touch with the RHC Program. Subscribe to the RHC Circuit quarterly newsletter to receive updates about My Portal and other RHC Program news. For immediate assistance about the Telecommunications Program, submit questions via email.

10/17/2014Invitation to FCC-USAC HCF Program Webinar


Join USAC and the FCC for a webinar about the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program. Topics include a first year retrospective of the HCF Program, updates that USAC is implementing, and a question and answer session.

Register here
: FCC-USAC HCF Program Webinar 
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
2:00 to 3:00 PM EDT

We encourage participants to submit questions in advance using the webinar registration form. If you think of a question after you register, please send it to RHC Program Outreach.

Webinar Topics
USAC and the FCC will present updates and best practices for the HCF Program. Webinar participants will learn about:
  • HCF Program first year retrospective overview
  • Best practices
  • My Portal update
  • Customer service

After the discussion of agenda items, staff will answer questions from the audience. We welcome suggestions for additional topics to RHC Program Outreach.

Need Help?
More information about HCF Program events is available on the Trainings & Outreach page of the RHC Program website.

If you have difficulty connecting to the webinar on October 28, contact USAC Outreach. For questions about the HCF Program, contact HCF staff via email or call the HCF Program Help Desk at (800) 453-1546.

10/3/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, October 9


The Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal will be unavailable due to system maintenance on Thursday, October 9, from 5:00-7:00 PM EDT. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

7/16/2014Submit Comments on HCF Program Annual Reporting Requirement


The FCC seeks comment on the annual report data collection proposals to measure the progress of consortia participating in the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program and on how to best obtain information for measuring performance goals:

Performance Goal

Proposed Data Collection

Increase access to broadband for health care providers

  • Extent to which program participants subscribe to higher levels of broadband over time;
  • Participation in the HCF Program, relative to the universe of eligible participants; and
  • Bandwidths obtained by different types of health care providers (HCPs) and whether those bandwidths are sufficient for their needs.

Specific data points include:

  • Anticipated increases in bandwidth or service level upgrades for HCPs on their networks and whether service agreements allow for such increases;
  • The average bandwidth obtained per HCP site and price paid per megabyte, categorized by HCP type;
  • Potential growth of the network categorized by number and type of HCPs;
  • The number of outages and duration of time when service in unavailable, to the extent that data is already being collected; and
  • The types of technologies consortia use to receive service (e.g., fiber, coaxial cable, copper, wireless, or satellite.

Foster the development and deployment of broadband health care networks

  • The extent to which eligible HCPs participating the HCF Program are connected to other HCPs through broadband health care networks;
  • The reach of broadband health care networks supported by the RHC Program, including connections to those networks by eligible and non-eligible HCP sites; and
  • How program participants use their broadband connections to deliver health care, including whether and to what extend HCPs are engaging in telemedicine, exchanging electronic health records (EHRs), or participating in health information exchanges, remote training, and other telehealth applications.

Maximize the cost-effectiveness of the HCF Program

  • The cost of administering the program as compared to funds disbursed to program participants;
  • The prices and speeds of the broadband connections supported by the HCF Program; and
  • The number and nature of all responsive bids received through the competitive bidding process, as well as an explanation of how each winning bid was chosen.

In addition to the proposed collections listed above, the FCC welcomes comments on other data points that would be most useful in measuring performance goals for the HCF Program, especially quantitative data that can be collected through My Portal. The FCC is also interested in hearing about how easily HCPs or consortium leaders can provide the proposed data, and how to minimize any burden imposed on filers.

To read the complete public notice and submit comments, view Public Notice DA 14-853 for comments regarding the HCF Program consortium annual report. Follow the instructions on page 3, or view the Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) Guide to submit your comments.

7/16/2014My Portal Monthly Software Update


The Rural Health Care (RHC) Program deploys software updates to improve usability and functionality in My Portal, the RHC Program's online application management system.

These updates include features that will expedite the application review process and help applicants maintain Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program compliance. Many enhancements are based on feedback from applicants.

Telecommunications Program Updates

Document Tree Bug Resolved
All folders in the document tree are now expandable.

Contract Expiration Date
Funding Commitment Letters (FCL) associated with a contract will now show the contract expiration date.

View Information Requests in New Tab
A new tab called, “All Information Requests” shows all information requests for the HCPs for which a user has access. Use the “Status” dropdown to sort information requests by status. There are three status options: “Replied,” “Expired,” and “Pending.” Pending information requests are listed first, in ascending order of the response deadline.

Select Buttons to Populate HCP Circuit Start and End Location Addresses
The Circuit Start Location and Circuit Termination Location are located on FCC Form 466, Lines 26 and 27.

The HCP location as shown on Block 1 of the FCC Form 465 (Description of Services Requested and Certification Form) will populate with either the circuit start (FCC Form 466, Line 26) or the circuit termination location (FCC Form 466, Line 27) by selecting the appropriate radio button. The corresponding address is also required, and must be typed into the form.

Find Urban Rate Information
Urban rate information for Funding Year 2014, which is required for Line 41 of the FCC Form 466 (Monthly Urban Rate), is now available on the Urban Rates Search page of the USAC website.

Service Providers Updates
All invoicing screens will now consistently display the correct amount available for invoicing.

6/30/2014Update - My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Tuesday, July 1


Update: The My Portal system will be unavailable from 5:00-7:00 PM EDT Tuesday, July 1, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

6/30/2014Last Chance to Submit FY2013 Funding Requests


The deadline to submit a funding request for Funding Year (FY) 2013 of the Rural Health Care Program is Monday, June 30, 2014, by 11:59 PM EDT. You must submit a funding request form by this time to receive funding for FY2013 (July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014).

The following funding request forms are available for the RHC Program:
After the deadline, all draft forms of FY2013 funding requests will be deleted from My Portal.

How to Submit
All FCC forms and supporting documentation must be submitted in My Portal, the Rural Health Care Program's online application management system.

Funding request forms and instructions are available online on the Telecom Program Forms page and the HCF Program Forms page.

Contact Us
If you have any questions or encounter problems in My Portal, contact us:
  • Email the RHC Help Desk, or
  • Call the RHC Help Desk at (800) 453-1546 between 9:30 AM and 4:30 PM ET.

A new Contact Us link is now available in the left-hand navigation menu of every page of the RHC Program website providing specific contact information for the Telecom, HCF, and Pilot programs.

To learn more about the RHC Program, visit our website.

6/26/2014Changes to the RHC Program Contact Information


In order to better serve you, the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program has centralized our channels of communication into a single, enhanced RHC Help Desk for the Healthcare Connect Fund, Telecommunications, and Pilot programs.

This streamlined system of communication eliminates several email addresses and phone numbers for different RHC programs, and helps ensure that your questions are answered directly by the staff member who has both the knowledge and immediate availability to assist you.

How to Contact the RHC Program
All RHC Program participants should use this information to contact the RHC Help Desk:
  • Email us at rhc-assist@usac.org, or
  • Call us at (800) 453-1546 between 9:30 AM and 4:30 PM ET.

The following email addresses and phone numbers for the RHC Help Desk will be discontinued in the near future: rhc-admin@usac.org, rhc-outreach@usac.org, and (800) 229-5476.

For more information on how to navigate the new Help Desk phone system, please visit the Rural Health Care Program Contact Us page.

6/20/2014Technical Difficulties in My Portal


Applicants may be experiencing technical difficulties when attempting to submit Healthcare Connect Fund Program application forms through My Portal.

Under the "Certifications" tab, after selecting "Certify," applicants may receive an "Incorrect Signature" error message, which will prevent form submission. To certify and submit a form, you will need to clear the auto-populated text in the "Signature" field and enter the password you use to sign into My Portal.

We are working to correct the certification function and hope it will be updated soon.

6/20/2014June Software Update for My Portal


The Rural Health Care (RHC) Program deploys software updates to improve usability and functionality in My Portal, the RHC Program's online application management system.

These updates include features that will expedite the application review process and help applicants maintain Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program compliance. Many of the enhancements are based on feedback from applicants.

Continue reading below to learn about the recent My Portal updates.

Updates for Individual HCP and Consortium Account Holders
The following updates were made to accounts with individual health care provider (HCP) or consortium leader permissions:

New FCC Form 463 Tab Added
In the "forms" tabs, account holders will see the new "463" tab and will be able to submit the form for approved funding requests. The "total invoice amount" column will be blank if there is $0.00 available for invoicing.

More Drop-Down Options Added
More drop-down options for FCC Form 462 supporting documentation were added. Account holders can now select "Cost Allocation," "Cost-effectiveness Evaluation," and "Eligible Usage Calculation" supporting documentation options from the drop-down menu. In addition to these options, consortium leader account holders can select "Network Plan" and "Sustainability Plan."

Versions of the Network Cost Worksheet Now Viewable
Account holders with multiple expenses can now view submitted or approved versions of the Network Cost Worksheet (NCW) in the "462" tab. After the NCW is approved, only the approved version will be available to view in the "Download" column for each form.

PDF Versions of Submitted or Approved Forms Now Viewable
Account holders can now view PDF versions of all submitted or approved FCC forms. Once USAC approves the form, the submitted version will be replaced and the approved version will be available to view in the "Download" column for each form. Withdrawn, duplicate, or denied forms will not be available to view.

Learn More, Receive Assistance
Stay in touch with the HCF Program to learn about future enhancements to My Portal and other information.

For immediate assistance about the HCF Program, submit questions via email.

6/9/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Wednesday, June 11


The My Portal system will be unavailable from 5:00-7:00 PM EDT Wednesday, June 11, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.