Rural Health Care

9/17/2018Customer Service Operations Back to Normal


Thank you for your patience during Hurricane Florence. All of our customer service operations are back to normal. 

9/14/2018*UPDATE* Hurricane Florence Impact on Customer Service


Now that Hurricane Florence has made landfall, our call centers are feeling the effects of the weather event. If you try contacting the E-rate Client Service Bureau, the Rural Health Care Support Center, or the High Cost Support Center today, you might experience longer than normal wait times. We are working as quickly as possible to answer your calls. We appreciate your patience.


***

USAC’s customer service operations are located in the projected path of Hurricane Florence. In the coming days, we anticipate service disruptions to USAC’s phone and email support including the E-rate Client Service Bureau, the Rural Health Care Support Center and the High Cost Support Center. USAC is monitoring the storm and working to meet your customer service needs while ensuring the safety of our team.

As the storm moves inland, we are experiencing longer than normal wait times that may continue in the coming days. We appreciate your patience.

9/6/2018Newsletter for September 2018


FY2017 Consortia Annual Reports Due September 30, 2018

Per Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program rules, all consortia receiving Rural Health Care (RHC) Program funding are required to submit an annual report to USAC using an Excel template (available for download on the USAC website) to supplement information collected in RHC Program application forms. The reports for FY2017 (July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018) are due September 30, 2018.

Who Needs to Submit the Annual Report? HCF Program consortia must submit an annual report for each funding year in which the consortium received HCF support and for the life of a supported facility for which the consortium received large upfront payments. RHC Pilot Program consortia must submit an annual report for each year in which the consortium receives Pilot support.

For instructions on how to complete and submit the FY2017 Annual Report, please visit our website.

RHC Program Funding Cap Order

On June 25, 2018, the FCC issued an Order that adopted rules to: (1) increase the annual RHC Program funding cap to $571 million and apply it to FY2017; (2) annually adjust the RHC Program funding cap for inflation, beginning with FY2018; and (3) establish a process to carry-forward unused funds from past funding years for use in future funding years. The rules became effective upon publication of the Order in the Federal Register on June 29, 2018.

Watch the 2018 RHC Program Funding Cap Order Information Webinar and download the FAQ Sheet.

What this means for FY2017: Due to the increase in the RHC Program funding cap for FY2017, all previously approved FY2017 funding requests will receive 100% of their approved funding amount. The proration that was previously applied to FY2017 funding commitments has been removed, and revised Funding Commitment Letters (FCLs) have been issued via email. If you have not received your revised FY2017 FCL or have questions about it, please contact RHC-Assist@usac.org.

Please log in to My Portal and make sure you are up to date with your FY2017 invoices. If you have questions about the invoicing process, please look at our program invoicing pages for additional information: HCF Invoicing Page and Telecom Invoicing Page.

What this means for FY2018: As noted in the FCC’s 2018 RHC Program Funding Cap Order, the RHC Program funding cap for FY2018 will be $581 million, adjusted for inflation. As a reminder, the FY2018 filing window closed on Friday, June 29, 2018. Applicants are currently unable to submit funding requests for FY2018.

Access Your Revised FCL in My Portal: The Revised FY2017 FCLs you received via email are now also available in My Portal. Download the How to Find Your FCL in My Portal Tip Sheet for more information on accessing your FCL.

 

Important Reminders for FY2018

Register for RHC 101 - An Introduction to the RHC Program

Are you or a colleague interested in learning more about the RHC Program? On September 26, 2018, we will be hosting an RHC Program 101: An Introduction to the RHC Program webinar for beginners. This webinar covers the basics of the program including eligibility requirements and how to get started. Register today!

Appeal Decisions

USAC is no longer sending appeal decisions via postal mail. If you have appealed a decision made by USAC, you will receive your appeal decision via email. Applicants seeking Commission review of a decision issued by USAC must follow the Commission’s regular appeal procedures.  

New Extended RHC Help Desk Hours!

As of August 1st, the RHC Help Desk hours were extended from 8:00 a.m. ET – 5:00 p.m. ET to 8:00 a.m. ET – 8:00 p.m. ET. We hope these longer operational hours will help meet the needs of our stakeholders on both coasts, and, in an effort to provide more one-on-one guidance, we are increasing the number of dedicated staff responding to phone calls and emails. Our goal with this expansion is to deliver thorough, helpful answers and guidance to you, faster.

What to Do if You Receive an Information Request

As you submit your FCC Form 462 or 466, please upload all required documentation with your forms. FCC Forms submitted with incomplete or missing documentation will not be reviewed, and RHC reviewers will reach out to all account holders (the primary and all secondary and tertiary account holders associated with that HCP) with a request for additional information (“Information Request”). Information Requests are sent to collect any missing documentation, address deficiencies, or to ask clarifying questions about the FCC Form. If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. Once you respond, the RHC reviewers will work with you, to the extent they can, to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation to complete their review. Failure to respond within the 14 calendar day timeframe will result in an automatic denial, so be sure to meet that deadline! 

LOA/TPAs Must Be Up to Date

In order to be considered eligible for funding in FY2018, Letters of Agency (LOA) and Third Party Authorizations (TPA) must be up to date through a minimum of FY2018. Be especially mindful if you are an HCP using a consultant, a consortium leader, or a consultant filing on behalf of a consortium leader. Before submitting a form, please check to ensure your authorization documents are up to date.

FCC Forms 462 and 466 submitted with expired LOAs or TPAs will result in applicants receiving Information Requests.

8/31/2018FY2017 Annual Report for HCF & Pilot Program Consortia Due September 30


Per Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program rules, all consortia receiving Rural Health Care (RHC) Program funding are required to submit an annual report to USAC using an Excel template (available for download on the USAC website) to supplement information collected in RHC Program application forms. The reports for funding year (FY) 2017 (July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018) are due September 30, 2018.

Who Needs to Submit the Annual report?
HCF Program consortia must submit an annual report for each funding year in which the consortium received HCF support and for the life of a supported facility for which the consortium received large upfront payments.

Pilot Program consortia must submit an annual report for each year in which the consortium receives Pilot support.

How to Submit the Annual Report
HCF consortia annual report instructions:

  1. Open the annual report template hyperlinked under “Excel template” on the HCF consortia annual report page.
  2. Review the telehealth applications in column A of the “Telehealth Services” tab. Select “Yes” using the dropdown in column B for each telehealth application for which the consortium received funding in FY2017.
  3. Save the template with the consortium name and HCP number in the file name to your computer.
  4. Email the completed template to RHC-assist@usac.org by September 30, 2018.

Pilot Program consortia annual report instructions:

  1. Open the annual report template hyperlinked under “Excel template” on the Pilot Program consortia annual report page.
  2. Review the telehealth applications in column A of the “Telehealth Services” tab. Select “Yes” using the dropdown in column B for each telehealth application for which the consortium received funding in FY2017.
  3. If the Pilot Program consortium bid for services in FY2016, the consortium must complete both the “Telehealth Services” tab and “Competitive Bidding Information” tab. To complete the “Competitive weight, and the evaluation criteria using the dropdown in column F.
  4. Save the template with the consortium name and HCP number in the file name to your computer.
  5. Email the completed template to RHC-assist@usac.org by September 30, 2018.

Failure to submit the required annual report(s) by the deadline may result in the denial of program funding.

8/27/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance Wednesday, August 29


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 7:00 - 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, August 29, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

8/15/2018My Portal System Update Regarding Draft Forms


RHC will be updating My Portal with FY2017 Funding Cap information during August. Once the system updates are complete, applicants will see updated commitment information for FY2017 funding request numbers (FRNs), as well as the non-prorated amounts when submitting the FCC Form 463 (HCF Program Invoice and Disbursement Form) and both the FCC Form 467 (Telecom Program Connection and Certification Form) and Telecom Program Invoice. 

This update will temporarily impact the submission of FY2017 FCC Form 463, FCC Form 467, and the Telecom Program Invoice. FCC Forms 463, 467, and Telecom Program Invoices will not be accepted between August 22nd and September 4th. Please make sure to submit these forms prior to August 22nd, or after September 4th. 

Applicants should also refrain from creating any FY2017 FCC Forms 463, FCC Forms 467, and Telecom Program Invoice drafts during this time, as they will no longer be valid after system updates are made.

FY2017 applicants can begin submitting FCC Form 463, FCC Form 467, and Telecom Program Invoice again on September 5th.

More Information about Invoicing

8/7/2018Newsletter for August 2018


RHC Program Funding Cap Order

On June 25, 2018, the FCC issued an Order that adopted rules to: (1) increase the annual RHC Program funding cap to $571 million and apply it to FY2017; (2) annually adjust the RHC Program funding cap for inflation, beginning with FY2018; and (3) establish a process to carry-forward unused funds from past funding years for use in future funding years. The rules became effective upon publication of the Order in the Federal Register on June 29, 2018.

Watch the 2018 RHC Program Funding Cap Order Information Webinar and download the FAQ Sheet.

What this means for FY2017: Due to the increase in the RHC Program funding cap for FY2017, all previously approved FY2017 funding requests will receive 100% of their approved funding amount. The proration that was previously applied to FY2017 funding commitments has been removed, and revised Funding Commitment Letters (FCLs) have been issued via email.

If you have not received your revised FY2017 FCL or have questions about it, please contact RHC-Assist@usac.org.

Impact on Invoicing for FY2017: Applicants and service providers have received their revised FCLs via email over the past few weeks and all applicants may now continue invoicing. While the commitment amount in My Portal will continue to reflect the proration at this time, you may continue the invoicing process as normal. USAC will adjust the disbursement amount of approved invoices to ensure that service providers receive the full, non-prorated commitment amount. If you have fully or partially invoiced, no further action is needed on previously submitted invoices. Please look to our program invoicing pages for information on the invoicing process: HCF Invoicing Page and Telecom Invoicing Page.

Service Provider FY2017 Remittance Statements: As stated above, if you have fully or partially invoiced, no further action is required on previously submitted invoices. The service provider will automatically receive the difference in the upcoming payment disbursement and the payment will be reflected on the remittance statement as “True Up” with the associated invoice number. Download the Remittance Statement Tip Sheet for more information.

What this means for FY2018: As noted in the FCC’s 2018 RHC Program Funding Cap Order, the RHC Program funding cap for FY2018 will be $581 million, adjusted for inflation. As a reminder, the FY2018 filing window closed on Friday, June 29, 2018. Applicants are unable to submit funding requests at this time.

My Portal Updates: FY2017 Site and Service Substitutions, FCC Forms 463 and 467, and Telecom Program Invoice

RHC will be updating My Portal with FY2017 Funding Cap information during August. Once the system updates are complete, applicants will see updated commitment information, as well as the non-prorated amounts when submitting the FCC Form 463 (HCF Program Invoice and Disbursement Form) and both the FCC Form 467 (Telecom Program Connection and Certification Form) and Telecom Program Invoice. This system update will allow applicants to access updated commitment information for FY2017 funding request numbers (FRNs).

FY2017 Site and Service Substitutions: Due to the My Portal system updates, FY2017 site and service substitutions will not be accepted between August 1st and September 4th. Additionally, site and service substitutions for FY2017 in draft status will no longer be valid after system updates are made. Applicants therefore should refrain from creating any FY2017 draft site and service substitutions between August 1st and September 4th, as they will not be valid due to system updates. These changes will not impact site and service substitutions for prior funding years. Applicants may continue to submit prior year site and service substitutions as usual during this time.

FY2017 applicants can begin submitting site and service substitutions again on September 5th.

FY2017 FCC Form 463, FCC Form 467, and the Telecom Program Invoice: The My Portal updates in August will also impact the submission of FY2017 FCC Form 463, FCC Form 467, and the Telecom Program Invoice. Please keep in mind that FCC Forms 463, 467, and Telecom Program Invoices will not be accepted between August 22nd and September 4th. Please make sure to submit these forms prior to August 22nd, or after September 4th. Applicants should also refrain from creating any FY2017 FCC Forms 463, FCC Forms 467, and Telecom Program Invoice drafts during this time, as they will no longer be valid after system updates are made.

FY2017 applicants can begin submitting FCC Form 463, FCC Form 467, and Telecom Program Invoice again on September 5th.

 

Important Reminders for FY2018

New Extended RHC Help Desk Hours!

Starting August 1st, the RHC Help Desk hours will be extended from 8:00 a.m. ET – 5:00 p.m. ET to 8:00 a.m. ET – 8:00 p.m. ET. We hope these longer operational hours will help meet the needs of our stakeholders on both coasts, and, in an effort to provide more one-on-one guidance, we are increasing the number of dedicated staff responding to phone calls and emails. Our goal with this expansion is to deliver thorough, helpful answers and guidance to you, faster.

What to Do if You Receive an Information Request

As you submit your FCC Form 462 or 466, please upload all required documentation with your forms. FCC Forms submitted with incomplete or missing documentation will not be reviewed, and RHC reviewers will reach out to all account holders (the primary and all secondary and tertiary account holders associated with that HCP) with a request for additional information (“Information Request”). Information Requests are sent to collect any missing documentation, address deficiencies, or to ask clarifying questions about the FCC Form. If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. Once you respond, the RHC reviewers will work with you, to the extent they can, to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation to complete their review. Failure to respond within the 14 calendar day timeframe will result in an automatic denial, so be sure to meet that deadline! 

LOA/TPAs Must Be Up to Date

In order to be considered eligible for funding in FY2018, Letters of Agency (LOA) and Third Party Authorizations (TPA) must be up to date through a minimum of FY2018. Be especially mindful if you are an HCP using a consultant, a consortium leader, or a consultant filing on behalf of a consortium leader. Before submitting a form, please check to ensure your authorization documents are up to date.

FCC Forms 462 and 466 submitted with expired LOAs or TPAs will result in applicants receiving Information Requests.

For more information about submitting LOAs, please see the submission guide

7/25/2018My Portal System Updates Regarding FY2017 Site and Service Substitutions


The RHC Program will be updating My Portal with FY2017 Funding Cap information during August 2018. Once the system updates are complete, applicants will see updated commitment information, as well as the non-prorated amounts when submitting the FCC Form 463 (Invoice and Disbursement Form) and both the FCC Form 467 (Connection and Certification Form) and Telecom Invoice. This system update will allow applicants to access updated and accurate commitment information for FY2017 funding request numbers (FRNs).

The necessary My Portal system updates will mean that FY2017 site and service substitutions will not be accepted during August. Additionally, site and service substitutions that are in draft status will no longer be valid after system updates are made. We ask that FY2017 applicants submit all site and service substitutions by Tuesday, July 31st, and refrain from submitting any in the month of August. Please also refrain from creating any draft site and service substitutions in August, as they will not be valid due to system updates. These changes will not impact site and service substitutions for prior years, which will continue to be accepted during August; applicants may continue to submit prior year site and service substitutions as usual during this time.

FY2017 applicants can begin submitting site and service substitutions again in September.

7/25/2018My Portal Outage Due To System Maintenance Thursday, August 2


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 8:00 - 10:00 p.m. Thursday, August 2, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

7/18/2018Watch the 2018 Funding Cap Order Informational Webinar Today!


The recording of the July 10 webinar is available here

7/10/2018My Portal Outage Due To System Maintenance Thursday, July 12


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 7:00 - 9:00 a.m. Thursday, July 12, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

7/9/2018Newsletter for July 2018


FCC 2018 RHC Program Funding Cap Order

June 25, 2018 - The FCC has issued an Order that adopts rules to: (1) increase the annual RHC Program funding cap to $571 million and apply it to FY2017; (2) annually adjust the RHC Program funding cap for inflation, beginning with FY2018; and (3) establish a process to carry-forward unused funds from past funding years for use in future funding years. The rules became effective immediately upon publication of the Order in the Federal Register on June 29, 2018.

Read and download the FCC’s RHC 2018 Funding Cap Order and FAQ sheet.

Informational Webinar on the FCC 2018 RHC Program Funding Cap Order

Join us on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Register Here!

Can’t make it? Webinar recording and an FAQ fact sheet will be posted on our website.

Please note that the webinar will focus exclusively on USAC's implementation of the Order and no FCC representatives will be participating.

Additional information about what the RHC 2018 Funding Cap Order means for program participants is forthcoming. General guidance for FY2017 and FY2018 funding requests (FCC Form 462 for the HCF Program and FCC Form 466 in the Telecom Program) is below. 

What this means for FY2017Due to the increase in the RHC Program funding cap for FY2017, all previously approved FY2017 funding requests will receive 100% of their approved funding amount. The proration that was previously applied to FY2017 funding commitments will be removed, and revised Funding Commitment Letters (FCLs) will be issued. Please discontinue invoicing against the previously issued FY2017 FCLs showing prorated commitments at this time. As noted above, we will share additional information about the issuance of revised FY2017 FCLs shortly, including updated invoicing instructions.

What this means for FY2018: As noted in the FCC’s RHC 2018 Funding Cap Order, the RHC Program funding cap for FY2018 will be $581 million, adjusted for inflation. As a reminder, the FY2018 filing window closed on Friday, June 29, 2018. Applicants are unable to submit funding requests at this time.

 

Important Reminders for FY2018

What to Do if You Receive an Information Request

As you submit your FCC Form 462 or 466, please upload all required documentation with your forms. FCC Forms submitted with incomplete or missing documentation will not be reviewed, and RHC reviewers will reach out to all account holders (the primary and all secondary and tertiary account holders associated with that HCP) with a request for additional information (“Information Request”). Information Requests are sent to collect any missing documentation, address deficiencies, or to ask clarifying questions about the FCC Form. If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. Once you respond, the RHC reviewers will work with you, to the extent they can, to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation to complete their review. Failure to respond within the 14 calendar day timeframe will result in an automatic denial, so be sure to meet that deadline! 

LOA/TPAs Must Be Up to Date

In order to be considered eligible for funding in FY2018, Letters of Agency (LOA) and Third Party Authorizations (TPA) must be up to date through a minimum of FY2018. Be especially mindful if you are an HCP using a consultant, a consortium leader, or a consultant filing on behalf of a consortium leader. Before submitting a form, please check to ensure your authorization documents are up to date.

FCC Forms 462 and 466 submitted with expired LOAs or TPAs will result in applicants receiving Information Requests.

For more information about submitting LOAs, please see the submission guide

6/25/2018FCC RHC 2018 Funding Cap Order


June 25, 2018 - The FCC has issued an Order that adopts rules to: (1) increase the annual RHC Program funding cap to $571 million and apply it to FY2017; (2) annually adjust the RHC Program funding cap for inflation, beginning with FY2018; and (3) establish a process to carry-forward unused funds from past funding years for use in future funding years. The rules shall become effective immediately upon publication of the Order in the Federal Register.

You can read and download the FCC’s RHC 2018 Funding Cap Order HERE.

Join us for an informational webinar on the FCC 2018 RHC Funding Cap Order
When: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 2:00 p.m.

Register today!
Can't make it? The webinar recording and an FAQ sheet will be posted to our website.

Additional information about what the 2018 Funding Cap Order means for program participants is forthcoming. General guidance for FY2017 and FY2018 funding requests (FCC Form 462 for the HCF Program and FCC Form 466 in the Telecom Program) is below. 

What this means for FY2017: Due to the increase in the RHC Program funding cap for FY2017, all previously approved FY2017 funding requests will receive 100% of their approved funding amount.  The proration that was previously applied to FY2017 funding commitments will be removed, and revised Funding Commitment Letters (FCLs) will be issued.  Please discontinue invoicing against the previously issued FY2017 FCLs showing prorated commitments at this time.  As noted above, we will share additional information about the issuance of revised FY2017 FCLs shortly, including updated invoicing instructions.  Program participants are also invited to join an informational webinar on July 10, 2018.

What this means for FY2018: As noted in the FCC’s RHC 2018 Funding Cap Order, the RHC Program funding cap for FY2018 will be $581 million, adjusted for inflation. As a reminder, the FY2018 filing window closes on Friday, June 29, 2018. To be considered eligible for funding, you must submit your funding requests (FCC Form 462 for the HCF Program and FCC Form 466 in the Telecom Program) by the close of the FY2018 filing window on June 29, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Funding requests submitted after the close of the FY2018 filing window will not be accepted. Submit your funding requests as soon as possible to avoid experiencing any last-minute challenges.

6/14/2018Newsletter for June 2018


Upcoming Deadline Reminder: FY2018 Filing Window Closes June 29, 2018

The FY2018 filing window closes in two weeks, on Friday, June 29, 2018. To be considered eligible for funding, you must submit your funding requests (FCC Forms 462 for the HCF Program and FCC Forms 466 for the Telecom Program) by the close of the filing window on June 29, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Funding requests submitted after June 29, 2018 will not be accepted.

We would like to remind applicants to submit their funding request forms as soon as possible, so as to avoid running into any last minute challenges, such as system issues or password resets.

 

View our how-to guides and tip sheets to assist you during the submission process:

For more information on submitting funding requests:

Important Reminders for FY2018

What to Do if You Receive an Information Request

As you submit your FCC Form 462 or 466, please upload all required documentation with your forms. FCC Forms submitted with incomplete or missing documentation will not be reviewed, and RHC reviewers will reach out to all account holders (the primary and all secondary and tertiary account holders associated with that HCP) with a request for additional information (“Information Request”). Information Requests are sent to collect any missing documentation, address deficiencies, or to ask clarifying questions about the FCC Form. If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. Once you respond, the RHC reviewers will work with you, to the extent they can, to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation to complete their review. Failure to respond within the 14 calendar day timeframe will result in an automatic denial, so be sure to meet that deadline! 

LOA/TPAs Must Be Up to Date

In order to be considered eligible for funding in FY2018, Letters of Agency (LOA) and Third Party Authorizations (TPA) must be up to date through a minimum of FY2018. Be especially mindful if you are an HCP using a consultant, a consortium leader, or a consultant filing on behalf of a consortium leader. Before submitting a form, please check to ensure your authorization documents are up to date.

FCC Forms 462 and 466 submitted with expired LOAs or TPAs will result in applicants receiving Information Requests.

FY2017 Information

FY2017 Funding Information Available Now

FY2017 funding information was announced on March 16, 2018 and is available on our website here. Following the announcement, the RHC Program hosted a webinar further explaining the funding breakdown. The recording and slides are available on our website here: FY2017 Funding Information Webinar

 

Did you receive your FY2017 Funding Commitment Letter (FCL)? Download our How to Read your FY2017 FCL tip sheet. 

Let us know what you think about the information and resources provided by the RHC team for FY2017 by taking this survey

5/30/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance Thursday, May 31


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 7:00 - 9:00 a.m. Thursday May 31, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.