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4/16/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, April 17


The My Portal system will be unavailable from 5:00-7:00 PM EDT Thursday, April 17, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/7/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Monday, April 7


The My Portal system will be unavailable from 6:00-9:00 PM EDT Monday, April 7, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/3/2014Certain Online Forms Unavailable Due to System Maintenance: Saturday, April 5


Certain online forms will be unavailable Saturday, April 5, from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM EDT, for system maintenance. Including forms in the:

  • High Cost Program system,
  • Lifeline Program system,
  • Rural Health Care Program My Portal system, and
  • Schools and Libraries Program Apply Online system. 

These online forms will not be accessible for eligible telecommunications carriers, service providers, or participants in the High Cost, Lifeline, Rural Health Care, and Schools and Libraries programs. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, search for certain forms online, and use online applications or tools.

The FCC Forms 499-A/Q and FCC Form 498 will still be available.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/3/2014E-File Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, April 4


The E-File system, including the Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal, will be unavailable Friday, April 4, from 9:00-11:00 PM EDT, for system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for contributors, service providers, or participants in the High Cost, Lifeline, Rural Health Care, and Schools and Libraries programs. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/3/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, April 3


The My Portal system will be unavailable from 5:00-7:00 PM EDT Thursday, April 3, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

4/1/20142013 USAC Annual Report Now Available


USAC's 2013 Annual Report highlights USAC's efforts to provide support and guidance for program participants as they navigate ongoing changes in the landscape of universal service. With responsiveness and flexibility, USAC worked in 2013 to show beneficiaries a clear path towards affordable access to telecommunications and Internet services.

3/20/2014E-File Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, March 20


The E-File system, including Rural Health Care’s My Portal, will be unavailable Thursday, March 20, from 10:00-11:59PM EDT, for system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for contributors, service providers, or participants in the High Cost, Lifeline, Rural Health Care, and Schools and Libraries programs. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

3/18/2014My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: March 18


The My Portal system will be unavailable from 5:00-6:00 PM EDT Tuesday, March 18, 2014, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

3/17/2014Progress Towards Annual Funding Cap Tracked


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 the funding cap progress report, found in the Quick Links feed on the USAC website. Estimated commitments are based on HCP funding requests, and are subject to change after USAC review of forms.

3/17/2014USAC's Washington, DC Office Closed, Monday, March 17, 2014


Due to inclement weather, USAC’s Washington, DC office is closed today, Monday, March 17, 2014. Please note that the Schools and Libraries Client Service Bureau (CSB) will remain open.

3/6/2014Application Outage Due to System Maintenance: March 7


The Rural Health Care Program's My Portal system will be unavailable from 5:00-7:00 PM EST Friday, March 7, 2014, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

3/3/2014USAC's Washington, DC Office Closed, Monday, March 3, 2014


Due to inclement weather, USAC’s Washington, DC office is closed today, Monday, March 3, 2014. Please note that the Schools and Libraries Client Service Bureau (CSB) will remain open.

2/26/2014E-File Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, February 27


USAC’s E-File system, including Rural Health Care’s My Portal, will be unavailable Thursday, February 27, from 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM EST, for system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for contributors, service providers, or participants in the High Cost, Lifeline, Rural Health Care, and Schools and Libraries programs. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online.

2/26/2014Application Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, February 28


The Rural Health Care Program's My Portal system will be unavailable from 5:00-7:00 PM EST Friday, February 28, 2014, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

2/25/2014Skilled Nursing Facility Pilot Program Deferred


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced the deferral of the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Pilot Program, originally expected to be implemented in Funding Year 2014. The SNF Pilot Program, introduced in the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Order (FCC 12-150), was intended to support broadband connections for skilled nursing facilities using telehealth applications that improve the quality and efficiency of health care delivery.

The FCC is reviewing comments solicited in the Technology Transitions Order Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) and is considering using part of the $50 million set aside for the SNF Pilot Program for consumer-oriented rural broadband experiments that would improve patient access to health care.

Updates about the SNF Pilot Program will be announced in the Rural Health Care Program’s Latest News and the RHC Circuit newsletter.

2/18/2014RHC Circuit 1Q 2014 Issued


The RHC Circuit for 1Q 2014 is now available. Sign up to receive the newsletter via email in the Subscription Center.

2/13/2014USAC's Washington, DC Office Closed, Thursday, February 13, 2014


Due to inclement weather, USAC’s Washington, DC office is closed today, Thursday, February 13, 2014. Please note that the Schools and Libraries Client Service Bureau (CSB) will remain open.

2/12/2014February HCF Program Monthly Webinar Slides Now Available


Presentation slides for this month's webinar are now available. Learn more about the HCF Program Monthly Webinars via the Trainings & Outreach section of our website.

2/11/2014Application Outage Due to System Maintenance: Tuesday, February 11


The Rural Health Care Program's My Portal system will be unavailable from 5:00-5:30 PM EST Tuesday, February 11, 2014, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

2/6/2014Application Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, February 7


The Rural Health Care Program's My Portal system will be unavailable from 5:00-7:00 PM EST Friday, February 7, 2014, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

1/29/2014Webinar Slides Now Available: FCC Form 460 for Consortia


The presentation slides for today's webinar, FCC Form 460 for Consortia, are now available.

1/22/2014E-File Outage Due to System Maintenance: 9:00 PM EST Friday, January 24 to Noon Saturday, January 25


USAC’s E-File system, including Rural Health Care’s My Portal, will be unavailable Friday, January 24, from 9:00 PM EST through noon on Saturday, January 25, for system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for contributors, service providers, or participants in the High Cost, Lifeline, Rural Health Care, and Schools and Libraries programs. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for certain forms online.

1/21/2014USAC's Washington, DC Office Closed, Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Due to inclement weather, USAC’s Washington, DC office is closed today, Tuesday, January 21, 2014. Please note that the Schools and Libraries Client Service Bureau (CSB) will remain open.

1/20/2014Join Us For a Webinar About FCC Form 460 for HCF Program Consortia


You are invited to join the RHC Program staff for a webinar about FCC Form 460 (Eligibility and Registration Form), the first form in the application process for consortia in the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program. After the form walk-through and discussion of agenda items, the RHC Program staff will answer questions from the audience.

1/17/2014FY2014 FCC Form 465 Now Available in My Portal


The FCC Form 465 (Description of Services Requested and Certification Form) is now available in My Portal to certify health care provider (HCP) eligibility and request bids from service providers. Applicants may file the FCC Form 465 earlier than in previous funding years, allowing more time for competitive bidding and the option to submit an FCC Form 466 funding request as early as March 1, 2014.

New in FY2014: Service Type Selection for "Telecommunications Only"

Beginning in Funding Year (FY) 2014, the FCC Form 465 may only be used to request support for telecommunications services. Applicants who are seeking bids for Internet services must request those services through the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program.

What to Select in Block 30 of FCC Form 465

Currently, Block 30 of the FCC Form 465 allows applicants to select the box for "Both Telecommunications & Internet Services," "Telecommunications Service ONLY," and '"Internet Service ONLY."

Applicants applying for funding for telecommunications service should select "Telecommunications Service ONLY." Requests for Internet service through either "Internet Service ONLY" or "Both Telecommunications & Internet Services" will not be supported in the Telecommunications Program in FY2014. Future enhancements to My Portal will remove the invalid service request options. 

Next Steps
After the FCC Form 465 has been posted to the USAC website, the 28-day posting period is complete, and the HCP has selected a service provider (while following competitive bidding rules), the HCP may submit a funding request as early as March 1, 2014, as part of the initial funding request filing period. More information about the filing period can be found in the latest edition of the RHC Circuit.

For more updates, subscribe to the RHC Circuit quarterly newsletter and participate in the Telecommunications Program Monthly Webinars.

1/9/2014Application Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, January 10


The Rural Health Care Program's My Portal system will be unavailable from 5:00-7:00 PM EST Friday, January 10, 2014, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

12/27/2013Information about Urban Health Clinics


USAC has been getting questions about HCP eligibility, including questions about "urban health clinics." Participants in the HCF Program must fall into one of these eligible entity types (see 47 CFR Section 54.600(a)):

  • Post-secondary educational institutions offering health care instruction, including teaching hospitals or medical schools;
  • Community health centers or health centers providing health care to migrants;
  • Local health departments or agencies;
  • Community mental health centers;
  • Not-for-profit hospitals;
  • Rural health clinics, including mobile clinics; and
  • Dedicated emergency rooms of for-profit hospitals.
Common eligible entity types include "rural health clinics," which are exclusively located in rural areas, and "community health centers," found in both rural and urban areas.

A health clinic in an urban area that is not a "community health center" (defined by the Public Health Services Act, Section 330) and cannot be classified as one of the other eligible entity types listed above is not eligible to receive funding through the HCF Program.

RHC Pilot Program project participants that were eligible as the “urban health clinic” entity type for the Pilot Program are grandfathered eligible for the HCF Program. To qualify for grandfathered eligible status, the health care provider (HCP) must have received a funding commitment through the Pilot Program on or before the December 12, 2012 adoption date of the Healthcare Connect Fund Order. The HCP’s grandfathered eligible status for the HCF Program is based on the HCP’s continued participation in the Pilot Program project for which it received a commitment under the Pilot Program. If the HCP chooses to participate in another consortium in the HCF Program, it will need to qualify as eligible as one of the HCF Program eligible entity types.

12/26/2013Application Outage Due to Scheduled System Maintenance: December 27


The Rural Health Care Program’s My Portal will be unavailable from 5:00 – 8:00 PM ET Friday, December 27, 2013, due to scheduled maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

12/19/2013December HCF Program Monthly Webinar Slides Now Available


Visit the HCF Program Monthly Webinars page to view presentation slides from the December webinars (Parts I and II), and register for the webinar in January.

12/12/2013RHC Circuit Special Edition Issued


A Special Edition of the RHC Circuit is now available.

12/10/2013USAC's Washington, DC Office Closed, Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Due to inclement weather, USAC’s Washington, DC office is closed today, Tuesday, December 10, 2013. Please note that the Schools and Libraries Client Service Bureau (CSB) will remain open.

12/9/2013Registration Open for HCF Program Monthly Webinar on December 11


Join USAC on the second Wednesday of each month for a webinar about the Healthcare Connect Fund.

12/5/2013HCF Bulletin Issued


The HCF Bulletin provides monthly updates as news unfolds for the Healthcare Connect Fund. Sign up in the Subscription Center to receive the HCF Bulletin via email every month.

This issue contained:

  • Funding Request Filing Period Established for Funding Year 2014 - The initial filing period to submit funding requests for FY2014 is March 1, 2014, through May 30, 2014. This applies to both the Telecommunications Program and the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program. Funding requests received on or between these dates will be considered as received simultaneously. From May 30, 2014, through June 30, 2015 funding requests will be processed on a rolling first-come, first-served basis.
  • Urban Health Clinic Eligibility - USAC has been getting questions about eligibility for "urban health clinics." Participants in the HCF Program must fall into one of these eligible entity types: post-secondary educational institutions offering health care instruction, including teaching hospitals or medical schools, community health centers or health centers providing health care to migrants, local health departments or agencies, community mental health centers, not-for-profit hospitals, rural health clinics, including mobile clinics, and dedicated emergency rooms of for-profit hospitals. Common eligible entity types include "rural health clinics," which are exclusively located in rural areas, and "community health centers," found in both rural and urban areas. A health clinic in an urban area that is not a "community health center" (defined by the Public Health Services Act, Section 330) and cannot be classified as one of the other eligible entity types listed above is not eligible to receive funding through the HCF Program.
  • Visit the New Posted Services Page - Visit the HCF Program's Search Posted Services page to find links to posted services for consortia and individual HCPs. The HCF Program recently converted the posted services RSS feed into two RSS feeds: one specifically for posted services from consortia applicants and one specifically for posted services from individual HCP applicants.
  • Questions about the HCF Program - For questions about the HCF Program, email the HCF Help Desk at RHC-assist@usac.org, or call us at (800) 453-1546.or call us at (800) 453-1546.

    11/22/2013Application Outage Due to System Maintenance: November 22


    Rural Health Care’s My Portal will be unavailable from 5:00 to 7:00 PM EST Friday, November 22, 2013, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

    11/13/2013RHC Circuit 4Q 2013 Issued


    The RHC Circuit for 4Q 2013 is now available.

    10/31/2013Application Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, November 1


    My Portal will be intermittently unavailable from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT on Friday, November 1, 2013, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

    10/30/2013HCF Bulletin Issued


    The HCF Bulletin provides monthly updates as news unfolds for the Healthcare Connect Fund Program. Sign up in the Subscription Center to receive the HCF Bulletin via email every month.

    This issue contained:

    • Complete the FCC Form 461 in My Portal - All forms should be submitted through My Portal; paper forms are no longer accepted. When filing the FCC Form 461, be sure that the form and supporting documentation provide information sufficient to promote an effective competitive bidding process. Applicants using a Request for Proposal (RFP) for competitive bidding, whether voluntarily or due to requirements, are required to submit the RFP with their FCC Form 461. USAC recommends that all consortium applicants use an RFP to better facilitate the process of requesting a future site or service substitution. Consortium leaders must obtain a Letter of Agency (LOA) from a participating HCP prior to filling out a form on behalf of a participating HCP. Sample RFPs and LOAs are available on the HCF Program Sample Documents page on the USAC website.
    • Processing Times for the FCC Form 461 - To speed up processing, be sure to respond as soon as possible to USAC information requests. Time frames for approval and posting of an FCC Form 461 submitted with an RFP will be dependent upon the RFP's complexity and the applicant's responsiveness to information requests. An FCC Form 461 without an RFP for an individual applicant will likely be approved and posted within two to three business days. An FCC Form 461 submitted with an RFP by an individual applicant or consortium applicant will require additional review.
    • How to Submit Third-Party Authorizations - If the person filing an FCC form is not an officer, director, or authorized employee of the HCP or consortium, then the applicant must first submit a third-party authorization (TPA) agreement to USAC. Before submitting the agreement, we recommend that you contact the HCF Help Desk at (800) 453-1546, to determine whether the proposed TPA is compliant with USAC requirements. Submit finalized TPAs to USAC via email. Future enhancements to My Portal will allow applicants to upload TPAs as part of the FCC Form 461 submission.
    • New Webinar Series Coming Soon - In the coming weeks, you'll be able to visit the HCF Program's Trainings and Outreach page for information about a series of webinars that will offer an overview of FCC Forms 460 and 461, and teach you how to file online through My Portal. Stay tuned for email updates about the webinar series. USAC also plans to announce a monthly webinar for HCF Program participants that will offer live access to educational tutorials and other resources.
    • Questions about the HCF Program - For questions about the HCF Program, email the HCF Help Desk at RHC-assist@usac.org, or call us at (800) 453-1546.

    9/30/2013Join Us for a Webinar About E-File Roles and Responsibilities


    Join USAC on Tuesday, October 8, at 3:00 PM EDT for a webinar on E-File roles and responsibilities. All who use E-File or who establish/manage E-File users (Company Officers, General Contacts, authorized users, and RHC Invoice users) are invited to attend. Registration is complimentary.

    This webinar will cover definitions for E-File terms you should know, the roles of Company Officers and General Contacts, the responsibility of establishing and managing authorized users, and the roles of authorized users for each form (FCC Forms 498, 499, 497, 525, 472, 481) as well as for Rural Health Care Program users.

    For more information, please email USAC Outreach.

    9/25/2013HCF Bulletin Issued


    The HCF Bulletin provides monthly updates as news unfolds for the Healthcare Connect Fund. Sign up in the Subscription Center to receive the HCF Bulletin via email every month.

    This issue contained: 

    • Look for HCF Program Training Materials on USAC's Website - The Rural Health Care Program recently held two trainings in Washington, DC, for individual health care providers and consortium leaders. Visit the Healthcare Connect Fund Program’s Trainings & Outreach page on the USAC website to view the handouts and presentations from these trainings.
    • HCPs Can Complete FCC Form 460 in My Portal - All individual HCPs, consortia, and consortium members must fill out this form so that USAC can determine their eligibility to participate in the HCF Program. One FCC Form 460 must be completed for each entity, including each eligible HCP site, ineligible site, off-site data center, and off-site administrative office. Consortium leaders can file the FCC Form 460 on behalf of a participating HCP member after obtaining a Letter of Agency (LOA). Eligibility must be determined prior to the start of the competitive bidding process. Complete FCC Form 460 instructions and My Portal filing instructions are now available.
    • HCPs Can Complete FCC Form 461 in My Portal - Once the FCC Form 460 is submitted and approved, applicants can initiate the competitive bidding process by submitting the FCC Form 461. All applicants are required to file the FCC Form 461 unless their request for services meets one or more of the competitive bidding exemptions, which are listed in the complete FCC Form 461 instructions. All applicants should review the complete instructions before filing the form in My Portal.
    • FCC Form 498 Changes Affect Service Providers - The FCC released Public Notice DA-13-1777 on August 19 that explains the new changes to the FCC Form 498. All prior years’ forms are no longer accepted. Changes to the form affect service providers participating in the RHC Program. By default, current service providers will automatically receive reimbursement as an offset to their universal service contribution requirement unless they change their method of reimbursement by unchecking Box 122, Block 14. Service providers newly participating in the RHC Program can choose their method of reimbursement. Additionally, service providers that plan on participating in the HCF Program must indicate their intention by checking the box in Block 15, “Certification to Assist Health Care Providers.” To learn more, watch the video, Changes to FCC Form 498 as of August 2013.
    • Contact the RHC Program About the HCF - The RHC Program has dedicated an email address, RHC-assist@usac.org, and phone number, (800) 453-1546, for questions and comments regarding the HCF.

    9/19/2013Application Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, September 20


    My Portal will be intermittently unavailable from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT on Friday, September 20, 2013, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

    9/11/2013HCF Program FCC Form 460 Is Now Available


    The FCC Form 460 (Eligibility and Registration Form) is now available in My Portal for use by health care providers (HCPs) to certify their eligibility to participate in the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program.

    One form must be completed for each site. This includes each eligible HCP site, ineligible site, off-site data center, and off-site administrative office. All individual HCPs, consortia, and consortium members must obtain an eligibility determination using FCC Form 460 in order to participate in the HCF Program.

    The FCC Form 460 and supporting documentation may be submitted at any time during the funding year, but eligibility must be determined prior to the start of the competitive bidding process, which is initiated through the submission of the FCC Form 461 (Request for Services Form).

    For instructions for filing the form online through My Portal, read the FCC Form 460 Online Filing Instructions (available soon!). These instructions outline steps required for individual HCP applicants (those who have already registered in My Portal and those who have not) and consortium applicants (steps the consortium leads and participating entities must take).

    Other HCF Program forms will be available for applicants to submit online on a rolling basis, and will be announced in the HCF Program Latest News section of the USAC website and in the HCF Bulletin.

    9/9/2013Application Outage Due to System Maintenance: Monday, September 9


    My Portal will be intermittently unavailable from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT on Monday, September 9, 2013, due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.