Rural Health Care

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7/27/2015FCC Clarifies Scope of Evergreen Contract Exemption


The FCC released a Public Notice (DA 15-809) on July 10, 2015, clarifying the scope of the evergreen contract exemption for the Rural Health Care Program.

The Healthcare Connect Fund Order states that "if a health care provider (HCP) has a contract designated as evergreen under the Telecommunications Program or Internet Access Program before January 1, 2014, it may choose to seek support for the services provided under the evergreen contract from the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program without undergoing additional competitive bidding, so long as the services are eligible for support under the HCF Program and the HCP complies with all other HCF Program rules and procedures.”

The FCC has clarified that if a contract is deemed as evergreen by USAC under the Telecommunications Program even after January 1, 2014, the contract will be deemed as evergreen for the HCF Program, and vice versa.

With questions about this clarification, contact us.  

7/22/2015E-File Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, July 23


USAC's E-File system, including Rural Health Care’s My Portal, will be unavailable Thursday, July 23, from 9:00-11:59 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.

6/16/2015Second Quarter 2015 RHC Circuit Issued


The 2Q2015 RHC Circuit has been issued. To subscribe, please visit our subscription center.

6/11/2015Monthly 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. 


To view the most current funding information as of May 31, 2015, check out the funding information pages for the Telecommunications Program and HCF Program.

In order to keep you informed about progress towards reaching the funding caps for FY2013 and FY2014, RHC Program staff will continue to update these funding cap progress web pages. Estimated commitments are based on health care provider funding requests, and are subject to change after USAC's review of forms. 

6/5/2015Important Deadline! FY2014 Funding Request Forms Due June 30


The deadline to submit a funding request for Funding Year 2014 of the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program is Tuesday, June 30, 2015, by 11:59 PM EDT

Health care providers are required to submit these forms and all supporting documentation by June 30, 2015 to receive funding for FY2014 (July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015). Health care providers that do not submit a funding request form are not eligible for funding for FY2014. 

Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program
Use FCC Form 462 (Funding Request Form) to request HCF Program funding. The health care provider must submit one form per service provider and all supporting documentation by the deadline.

Learn more on the Submit Funding Requests - Individual HCPs and Submit Funding Requests - Consortia web pages. The form, instructions, and best practices are available on the HCF Program Forms page. 

Telecommunications Program
Use FCC Form 466 (Funding Request and Certification Form) to request Telecom Program funding. The health care provider must submit one form per circuit, and all supporting documentation by the deadline.

Learn more on the Submit Funding Requests web page. The form and instructions are available on the Telecom Program Forms page. 

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

6/1/2015My 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 program compliance. The features are also intended to make form submission faster and easier for applicants. Many enhancements are based on feedback.

To view recent software updates, check out the HCF Program Applicant Updates, Telecom Program Applicant Updates, and Service Provider Updates pages.

 

4/9/2015HCF 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 RHC Program compliance. Many enhancements are based on feedback from applicants.


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

New Site and Service Substitution Functionality
Site and service substitutions allow applicants to reallocate un-invoiced funds within commitments, subject to the terms of their contract and the Request for Proposal (RFP) associated with the commitment. Substitutions allow the flexibility to ensure that all of the committed funds on an approved FCC Form 462 can be spent, even though USAC-supported services may change over the course of a commitment.


Applicants can now perform site and service substitutions within My Portal by clicking the “Substitution” button on the “Form 462” tab. Through My Portal, applicants can modify the expense items on approved FCC Forms 462, including the eligible expense information on existing line items for service upgrades or changes and the financial information. Substitution modifications cannot change the overall funding disposition (i.e. exceed approved funding amount or de-commit money that has already been disbursed).


New HCF Program Funding Commitments Search Tool
A funding commitments search tool has been added to the HCF Program Search Tools web page that provides the estimated support amount for all HCF Program commitments. Funding commitments can be searched and sorted by funding year, applicant name, city, state, or ZIP code, Funding Commitment Letter (FCL) issue date, service provider name, or Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN).


New Consortium FCC Form 460 Bulk Load Enhancement
Consortium applicants can select multiple HCPs to upload to Line 2a and 2b of the consortium FCC Form 460 instead of selecting each HCP one at a time. Allowing batches of HCPs to be added at once reduces the amount of time necessary to select large numbers of HCPs.


In addition, consortium applicants can now add member HCPs to the consortium FCC Form 460 after a member HCP FCC Form 460 has been submitted but before it has been approved by USAC. This enhancement will allow for more accurate initial lists of member HCPs and will reduce the amount of revisions needed for the consortium FCC Form 460 to include all member HCPs.


New Email Notification Feature for Consortium FCC Form 460 Revisions
Consortium applicants will now receive an email notification when a revision to the consortium’s FCC Form 460 has been approved.


Existing HCPs Search Function Enhancement for New FCC Forms 460
When creating a new FCC Form 460, applicants can now search for existing HCPs using their HCP numbers in addition to searching by the ZIP code.


Consortium Search Function Enhancement
Consortium project coordinators can now search and sort member HCPs by HCP number and HCP name on the “My Consortium” tab.


FCC Form 462 Contract Enhancement
On the FCC Form 462, the contract ID for a contract added to the form will now display next to the contract on the “Competitive Bidding” and “Expense Items” tabs. 


Validation Correction on FCC Form 460, Line 49
Applicants are now able to enter “0” on Line 49 of the FCC Form 460 for the number of licensed patient beds that are at a non-profit hospital.


Search Posted Services Bug Fixed
A bug that was preventing service providers from downloading PDFs from the Search Posted Services tool 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.

4/3/2015Telecommunications 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 RHC Program compliance. The features are also intended to make form submission faster and easier for applicants. Many enhancements are based on applicant feedback.


Telecommunications Program Updates:


Service Provider Invoicing Search Screen Enhancement
The processing speed has increased for the funding requests search on the FRNs tab. Service providers who are invoicing for multiple FRNs can now search and add FRNs to their invoices without excessive lag time. See update

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


- Join us for the Telecommunications Program Webinars
Subscribe to the RHC Circuit quarterly newsletter to receive updates about My Portal and other RHC Program news. 
Email us with suggestions and feedback about My Portal.


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

3/30/20152014 USAC Annual Report Now Available


USAC's 2014 Annual Report  highlights the many ways USAC continued on the journey towards helping connect Americans to each other and the world through broadband and Internet access. By keeping a sharp focus on the needs of program participants and through collaboration with stakeholders, USAC implemented program and policy changes in efficient and streamlined ways.