Rural Health Care

Step 2 Determine Eligibility

The applying health care provider (HCP) and the requested services must both be eligible for support. There are three initial criteria an HCP must meet to be considered eligible:

  1. The HCP must be a public or nonprofit entity.
  2. The HCP must be one of the following types of entities:
    1. A post-secondary educational institution offering health care instruction, such as teaching hospitals or medical schools,
    2. A community health center or health center providing health care to migrants,
    3. A local health department or agency,
    4. A community mental health center,
    5. A not-for-profit hospital,
    6. A rural health clinic, including mobile clinics,
    7. A dedicated emergency room of a rural for-profit hospital, or
    8. Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) (effective January 1, 2017).
  3. The HCP site must be in a rural location as defined by the FCC. HCPs that were deemed rural prior to July 1, 2005, and received a funding commitment from the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program are considered grandfathered. HCPs can determine the rurality of their location by using the Eligible Rural Areas search tool. Not located in a rural area? You may be eligible to apply to the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program as part of a consortium.

In addition, broadband connections associated with off-site data centers and off-site administrative offices that are used by eligible health care providers for their health care purposes are eligible for funding.

Each HCP site or location is considered an individual HCP for purposes of calculating support under the RHC Program. Each site must thus demonstrate that by itself, it is an eligible entity.

FCC Form 460

Each applicant must submit an FCC Form 460 (Eligibility and Registration Form) even if it has been deemed eligible to participate in another component of the RHC Program (Telecommunications Program or Pilot Program). The FCC Form 460 may be submitted at any time during the funding year, and only needs to be filed once to establish eligibility. Third party authorizations (TPAs) must be submitted with the FCC Form 460. For more information about requirements, see the Third Party Authorization page.

The FCC Form 460 must be filed prior to filing FCC Forms 461, 462, or 463. If any information on the FCC Form 460 changes, such as the applicant's physical location, statistical information, or eligible entity type, a new FCC Form 460 must be filed within 30 days.

All FCC forms and supporting documentation must be submitted through My Portal, the RHC Program application management system.

Eligible Services

Once an applicant has been approved as eligible, they should ensure that the services being requested are eligible for support. The applicant must follow all posting for services and competitive bidding requirements before entering into a contract with a service provider.