Rural Health Care

Consortia 101

What is a consortium?

A consortium is two or more health care providers (HCPs) that choose to request support as a single entity. Non-rural eligible HCPs may receive support as part of a consortium consisting of a majority rural HCP sites. In addition, ineligible HCP sites also may participate in a consortium and take advantage of lower contract prices often associated with consortia bulk-buying, but they will not receive universal service funding support.

When is a consortium a legal entity?

A consortium is a legal entity if it has been legally created with its own taxpayer identification number (TIN). Although not required, the consortium may wish to constitute itself as a legally recognized entity to simplify contracting with service providers (i.e., if the consortium is not a legal entity, each consortium member may need to sign an individual contract with the service provider, or one of the consortium members may need to enter into a master contract on behalf of all of the other members).

Differences between Consortium Leader and Project Coordinator

A consortium leader serves as the lead entity for the consortium, and is legally and financially responsible for activities supported by the Healthcare Connect Fund Program. The consortium and the consortium leader can be the same entity (if the consortium is a legal entity), but are not required to be the same entity. The consortium leader must be a legal entity.

The project coordinator is the person who serves as the point of contact with the FCC and USAC for all matters related to the consortium. The project coordinator must be an officer, director, or other authorized employee of the consortium leader. They are responsible for responding to FCC and USAC inquiries on behalf of the consortium members through the application, funding, invoicing, and post-invoicing period.

Application Process

After organizing the consortium, the application process involves determining the eligibility of the consortium and each HCP member requesting services (competitive bidding), submitting funding requests, coordinating with the service provider(s) to submit invoice(s), and submitting annual reports. To learn more about the application process for consortia, view Step 1: Before You Apply.