Rural Health Care

3/1/2017FY2017 Filing Window Open

The initial Filing Window Period for FY2017 opens 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, but we encourage applicants to submit their funding requests early.

Funding request forms (FCC Form 462 in the HCF Program and FCC Form 466 in the Telecom Program) provide information about the services selected through the FCC Form 461 and 465 competitive bidding processes and certify that those services were the most cost-effective option of the offers received. USAC uses information provided 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.

2/10/2017FCC Waives Bidding Rules for Certain HCPs Served by Network Services Solutions for FY2016

On February 10, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued an order (DA 17-164) waiving sections 54.603; 54.615; and 54.642 of the FCC competitive bidding rules governing the Rural Health Care (RHC) Telecommunications and Healthcare Connect Fund Programs (collectively, RHC Programs) for certain health care providers (HCPs).

Pursuant to the waiver, affected HCPs have the option of receiving funding for a new service provider from the date a new funding request was submitted through the end of FY2016 (June 30, 2017). These HCPs will not need to submit a new request for services (FCC Form 465 or FCC Form 461) to seek competitive bids for the most cost-effective service provider, but will need to submit a new funding request (FCC Form 466 or FCC Form 462) and any documentation required for the relevant FCC Forms.  

To see if you are covered by the FCC’s waiver order, please check the Appendix attached to the order.  Only those HCPs and funding request numbers contained in the Appendix are covered.

Questions? Contact us!

For questions or more information about the waiver, contact:

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.