After the “equitable distribution” step (i.e., after ensuring that funding is committed to the highest scoring applications from states and territories that did not receive funding during Round 1 and ensuring that funding is committed to the highest-scoring applications from all states and territories), funding will next be committed to the highest scoring applications until at least $150 million has been committed. This is the “initial commitment phase.”
This will result in funding for at least two applications, if such applications exists, with lead health care providers in each state, territory, or the District of Columbia across both rounds of the Program. To put another way, during the Initial Commitment Phase, funds will be committed in the following order:
- Highest-Scoring Applications from States without Round 1 Funding Recipients
- Highest-Scoring Applications from States with Round 1 Funding Recipients
- Second-Highest-Scoring Applications from States without Round 1 Funding Recipients
- Remaining Applications, regardless of state, in descending order of score, until funds are exhausted
Applications will be scored based off of the evaluation metrics listed in the below matrix. These objective metrics will allow the FCC to award funding to the providers that need it most. Each metric is assigned an amount of prioritization points based on insights from Round 1, public comment, and extensive consideration from the FCC.
Each application will receive a score based on their evaluation metric submission from 0 to 95. To receive points for a metric, the applicant must provide the requested information and any supporting documentation needed to demonstrate that they qualify for that metric. The information provided will be evaluated by the USAC review team. The USAC review team will only award points to applications that contain the requested information and/or supporting documentation needed to confirm that the entity qualifies for each metric. As noted above, the FCC will award funding to the highest-scoring applications.
The applicant may list additional health care providers (HCPs) in the evaluation metrics section; the applicant certifies to, by penalty of perjury, the eligibility of all HCPs that will receive the funding requested on the application.
Prioritization points may be assessed on any of the HCPs on behalf of which the application is filed.
Multiple providers may be listed on the application, but applicants should only list one provider for each evaluation metric.
The applicant may list a different eligible HCP site for each evaluation metric, but the application will only be awarded prioritization points for a specific metric once (e.g., an application that lists three HCP sites that are located in rural areas will still only be provided five points).
|“Hardest Hit” Area
|Is the applicant located in a “hotspot” or “sustained hotspot” as defined by HHS?
|7 pts: Hotspot
|15 pts: Sustained Hotspot
Note: Points will be calculated during the application review process based on the information provided.
|Is the applicant located in a county or census tract above the median poverty rate?
|7 pts: Poverty rate is between the 50th and 75th percentile
|15 pts: Poverty rate is in the 75th percentile or greater
|Unfunded in Round 1
|Did the applicant apply for, but did not receive, funding in Round 1?
15 pts: Applied for and did not receive Round 1 funding
|Is the applicant located on Tribal lands, operated by the Indian Health Service (IHS), or otherwise affiliated with a Tribe?
|15 pts: Located on Tribal lands, operated by the IHS, or otherwise affiliated with a Tribe
|Critical Access Hospital (CAH)
|Is the applicant a CAH as designated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)?
|10 pts: Critical Access Hospital
|Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), FQHC Look-Alike, or Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH)
|Is the applicant designated as a FQHC, FQHC Look-Alike, or a DSH as qualified by the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA)?
|10 pts: FQHC, FQHC Look-Alike, or DSH
|Healthcare Provider Shortage Area (HPSA)
|Is the applicant located in a primary care HPSA, and if so, what is the primary care HPSA score for the institution or location as designated by HRSA?
|5 pts: HPSA score between 1 and 12
|10 pts: HPSA score between 13 and 25
|Round 2 New Applicant
|Did the applicant apply for funding for the first time in Round 2?
|5 pts: Round 2 first-time applicant
|Is the applicant located in a rural area based on USAC’s Rural Area categorization?
|5 pts: Located in a rural area
Evaluation Metric Descriptions
“Hardest Hit” Area
- Metric: The HCP is located in a county designated as a COVID-19 hotspot or sustained hotspot by the
- Description: This metric is awarded if the HCP’s county is designated as either a “sustained hotspot” or a “hotspot” on the COVID-19 Community Profile Report, Area of Concern Continuum by County dataset provided by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
- Resources: HHS Community Profile Report Area of Concern Continuum by County, county tab
- Submission: Site Name and Address, including county
Low Income Area
- Metric: The HCP is located in a county or census tract with a poverty rate that is at or above the 50th percentile (median).
- Description: Round 2 funding prioritizes providers in low-income areas, as these areas contain underserved and at-risk populations. USAC will use Census Bureau data to make the determination on which HCPs are located in low-income areas.
- Resources: S. Census Bureau, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates and American Community Survey: Poverty Status in the Past Twelve Months
- Submission: Site Name and physical address, including county
- Note: The points for this metric will be calculated during the review process.
Unfunded in Round 1
- Metric: The HCP applied for, but did not receive, COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding in Round 1.
- Description: During Round 1, the program awarded 539 funding commitments out of thousands of applications, leaving a substantial number of Round 1 applicants unfunded. These unfunded applicants from Round 1 will be prioritized.
- Resources: USAC Round 1 Awardee list
- Submission: Application Number (GRA00XXXX) or PDF submission
- Metric: The HCP is located on Tribal lands, operated by the Indian Health Service (HIS), or is otherwise affiliated with a Tribe.
- Description: Round 2 funding aims to prioritize applications to serve sites located in Tribal areas, given the obstacles to broadband deployment that Tribal lands face and the significantly higher risk from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Resources: USAC Enhanced Tribal Benefit, Eligible Tribal Lands Map and Shapefile
- Submission: Site name and address or supporting Tribal documentation
Critical Access Hospital (CAH)
- Metric: The HCP is a Critical Access Hospital (CAH) as designated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
- Description: CAH designations are given to eligible rural hospitals in participating states by the CMS. CAHs have <25 acute care inpatient beds and provide 24/7 emergency care services.
- Resources: CMS Critical Access Hospitals and state-specific reference materials where available
- Submission: Site name and physical address, including county
Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), FQHC Look-Alike, or Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH)
- Metric: The HCP is a FQHC, FQHC Look-Alike (LAL), or DSH as designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) or CMS.
- Description: FQHCs are community-based HCPs that receive funds from the HRSA. FQHC LALs and DSHs are also prioritized.
- Resources: Applicant-provided FQHC ID number or HCMISID/UDS numbers; HRSA FQHSs and LALs by State: Federally Qualified Health Centers and Look-Alikes
- Submission: FQHC, BHCMSID, or CCN Number for a Disproportionate Share Hospital
Healthcare Provider Shortage Area (HPSA)
- Metric: The HCP is located within a primary care Healthcare Provider Shortage Area as designated by HRSA.
- Description: HRSA uses an HCP’s geographic area and the medical services it provides to award a Primary Care HPSA score. HPSAs do not have enough healthcare professionals to adequately serve their community.
- Resources: HRSA Find Shortage Area
- Submission: Primary Care HPSA ID and the associated point value or qualifying site’s name and physical address, including county
Round 2 New Applicant
- Metric: The HCP did not apply for COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding in Round 1 and is a new applicant in Round 2.
- Description: Because equitable and widespread distribution of program funds is essential, USAC will prioritize applicants that are new to the program over applicants who were awarded Round 1 funding.
- Metric: The HCP is in a rural area as defined by the USAC Rural Health Care (RHC) program.
- Description: “Rural” will be defined by the RHC program’s statutory categories. While HCPs in non-rural areas are eligible, rural HCPs will be prioritized.
- Resources: USAC Eligible Rural Areas Search
- Submission: Site name and physical address, including county