Rural Health Care

Competitive Bidding

Competitive bidding rules require that health care providers (HCPs) select the most cost-effective offer available by giving all service providers an opportunity to provide services. It is important to conduct a fair and open competitive bidding process that complies with program rules. Failure to comply with competitive bidding rules will result in denied funding.

Describe Your Needs

On the FCC Form 465, Block 4, Line 29, state your service needs, the dates for service, and when you will evaluate bids so service providers can submit a relevant offer in time for you to consider it.

  • Example: Need to be able to transmit data and medical images beginning on July 1, 2012. We will evaluate bids from April 1 - May 27, 2012.
  • Example: Under evergreen contract until March 31, 2013. We will evaluate bids for telecommunications for MRI imaging beginning December 1, 2012.

Remember to describe your needs in general terms. Requesting a specific service or bandwidth restricts bids because another technology may be able to meet your needs at a lower cost.

Multi-Year Contracts

A multi-year contract may achieve evergreen status from USAC. This means that HCPs do not need to re-engage in competitive bidding for the life of the contract. If a multi-year contract is not deemed evergreen by USAC, HCPs must accept and evaluate bids each year. To learn more, see the Evergreen Contracts page.

Allow at Least 28 Days

Do not enter an agreement to purchase services until at least 29 calendar days after the FCC Form 465 is posted. Health care providers may discuss requirements, rates, and conditions with service providers during the 28-day period, but may not agree to or sign a contract. The first day you are allowed to select a service provider and sign a contract is the Allowable Contract Selection Date (ACSD), which is 29 calendar days after the posting date indicated on the FCC Form 465 Receipt Acknowledgment Letter. You can also find the the ACSD using the Search Service Requests tool.

Service Provider Involvement

Service providers submitting bids are prohibited from any involvement in setting bid evaluation criteria; from participating in the bid evaluation or vendor selection process (except in their role as potential vendors); or from preparing, signing, or submitting an HCP's FCC Form 465 documents.