March 26, 2020
FCC Releases Order 20-345: FY2020 Filing Window Extended, Additional Relief Provided to HCPs Due to COVID-19
On March 26, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released Order 20-345, granting additional relief to Rural Health Care (RHC) Program participants to ensure that health care providers (HCPs) have the resources they need to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the Order takes following actions: (1) extends the FY2020 RHC Program application filing window until June 30, 2020; (2) eases competitive bidding requirements for HCPs with expiring evergreen contracts; and (3) provides an extension of several procedural deadlines, including information requests and the HCF Program invoicing deadline. The RHC Program will provide additional information about these actions over the next week. Read the Order here and download the Tip Sheet.
March 18, 2020
FCC Announces Waiver of the RHC Program Gift Rules
On March 18, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued Order FCC DA 20-290, waiving the RHC Program’s gift rules to provide assistance to rural health care providers (HCPs) affected by COVID-19. In the Order, the FCC acknowledges the increased demand on rural HCPs will require increased connectivity and broadband services. This waiver allows service providers to offer eligible HCPs improved capacity, such as broadband connections or equipment for telehealth, to assist during the COVID-19 outbreak without running afoul of FCC rules. These gifts could include, but are not limited to, free upgrades, equipment, and other services for RHC Program participants. In addition, the FCC waives the requirement that HCPs pay the unsupported portion of their service costs in the Healthcare Connect Fund Program and the requirement that HCPs pay the urban rate in the Telecom Program. This waiver is in effect until September 30, 2020. Read FCC Order 20-290.
March 16, 2020
USAC Remains Open for Business – DC Office Closed
At USAC, we are committed to the health and safety of our employees, contractors, and stakeholders during the COVID-19 pandemic. USAC remains fully operational.
USAC’s Washington, DC office is closed. USAC staff will work remotely and can be reached at their USAC email and telephone numbers.
While the way we work has changed, USAC will conduct the regular and ongoing work administering the Universal Service Fund. This includes processing and reviewing program applications, collecting contributions, disbursing payments, and implementing program guidance from the FCC.
All USAC customer support centers remain open. Please be patient if you experience longer than usual wait times with our customer service teams as circumstances continue to change.
To submit program documents to USAC, please use your normal submission channels or email RHAemail@example.com.
If you send other documents to USAC via mail or overnight delivery, you must also email a PDF copy to Outreach@usac.org.
USAC continues to monitor developments and will implement additional precautions if necessary. This is an evolving situation, and we will keep you informed of any changes as they arise.
March 13, 2020
FCC Announces Increase to Rural Health Care Funding for FY2019
The total Rural Health Care Program demand for FY2019 was $719.48 million, which exceeded the $677.29 million in previously available funding. The Order permits USAC to carry forward additional unused funds from prior years to cover this funding gap and waives the cap on multi-year commitments and upfront payments that would result in unnecessary reductions in support for rural health care providers and their patients absent the action the Commission took today. The FCC recognizes that COVID-19 presents serious challenges to healthcare providers, and they need enhanced connectivity to provide vital services to Americans. Read more.
March 12, 2020
FCC Announces FY2020 Funding Cap
On March 12, 2020 the FCC released Public Notice DA 20-263, announcing the RHC Program funding cap for funding year (FY) 2020. The RHC Program funding cap for FY2020 is $604,759,306. The cap for upfront payments and multi-year commitments under the Healthcare Connect Fund Program is $152,700,000. These new caps represent a 1.8% inflation-adjusted increase in the $594,066,116 RHC Program funding cap and the cap on multi-year commitments and upfront payments from funding year 2019. Read PN DA 20-263.
March 5, 2020
RHC Program News for March
View the March 2020 Newsletter.
February 6, 2020
RHC Program News for February
View the February 2020 newsletter.
January 29, 2020
Request for Services Data Set Available Now!
We are very excited to announce the posting of Request for Services Data Set to the USAC Open Data Portal. The data set contains data from the FCC Forms 461 and 465 about services requested for current and past funding years. In the open data portal you are able to filter, sort, and visualize the data in many different ways.
January 10, 2020
My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance January 17 – 18
My Portal will be undergoing January maintenance between 9:00 p.m. ET Friday, January 17 and 9:00 a.m. ET Saturday, January 18. During this time, users may be unable to access My Portal. We apologize for any inconvenience.
January 7, 2020
Submit FY2020 Request for Services (FCC Form 461 and/or Form 465) Now!
Applicants applying for funding in FY2020 who are going through the competitive bidding process can now submit their FCC Form 461 (HCF Program) and/or FCC Form 465 (Telecom Program). The first day to submit these forms was January 1, 2020—six months before the start of the funding year, which begins July 1, 2020. Prepare to submit your Request for Services form with the following resources:
January 2, 2020
RHC Program News for January 2020
View the January 2020 Newsletter.
December 16, 2019
RHC Assist Holiday Hours
Please be aware the the RHC Program Help Desk will be closed December 24, 25, and January 1. On December 31, the hours will be 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET.
December 13, 2019
My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance December 13-14
My Portal will be undergoing December maintenance between 9:00 p.m. ET Friday, December 13 and 10:00 a.m. Saturday, December 14. During this time, users may be unable to access My Portal. We apologize for any inconvenience.
December 13, 2019
PQA Requests for Information Are Going Out
The 2020 Payment Quality Assurance (PQA) assessment program is underway. PQA is a program that assesses RHC Program payments made on invoices submitted during the past 12 months to verify that the payments were properly made – in other words, that all program rules were followed correctly when the payment was authorized and disbursed.
For disbursements made each month, a certain number of payments will be chosen, and applicants will be asked to provide specific documentation – for example, customer bills that support invoices submitted to USAC – to verify that those payments were made correctly. It is important that you maintain proper documentation in order to be able to respond correctly and completely to PQA requests.
The email request notifying applicants whose payments have been selected for PQA are being sent the third week of December from the domain name PQA@USACcms.i-sight.com. Please check your email and respond promptly if you receive an email from USAC’s PQA Program. Also check your spam folder or junk email folder to see if it contains an email from this domain. This will help expedite your review.
- Do not hesitate to contact your reviewer if you have questions. Contact information is provided in the email.
- Also, contact your PQA reviewer if you are unable to respond by the deadline
December 12, 2019
FCC Releases Public Notice DA 19-1253
On December 10, 2019, the FCC released Public Notice DA 19-1253, providing guidance on the implementation schedule for reforms set forth by FCC Report and Order 19-78. Read DA 19-1253 for more information.
December 10, 2019
My Portal Outage Thursday, December 12 from 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. ET
My Portal will be unavailable Thursday, December 12 from 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. ET due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.
December 6, 2019
RHC Program News for December 2019
View the December Newsletter.
December 2, 2019
My Portal Outage Tuesday, December 3 from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. ET
My Portal will be unavailable Tuesday, December 3 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.
December 2, 2019
My Portal Security Updates Coming Soon
Beginning Wednesday, December 4, USAC will add multi-factor authentication (MFA) to increase the security of most Universal Service Fund (USF) IT applications. MFA helps safeguard access to data and applications, and provides additional security by requiring a second form of user authentication. This complies with both Federal and FCC information security guidelines. Read more about MFA.
November 22, 2019
FY2020 Filing Window Dates Announced
The FY2020 filing window period will take place from February 1 – April 30, 2020. This means that you must submit your funding requests (FCC Forms 462 or 466) as early as February 1 and no later than 11:59 p.m. ET April 30, 2020, for the initial filing window period. We highly encourage you to submit your application forms as early as possible in the filing window period. Other application forms for FY2020 (FCC Forms 460, 461, or 465) are accepted prior to February 1 to begin the application process. Learn more about filing window periods.
November 12, 2019
RHC Program News for November 2019
View the November newsletter.
November 11, 2019
My Portal Outage Wednesday, November 13 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET
My Portal will be unavailable Wednesday, November 13 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.
October 7, 2019
RHC Program News for October 2019
|View the October Newsletter.|
September 9, 2019
RHC Program News for September 2019
View the September Newsletter.
September 9, 2019
HCF Program Annual Reports 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 FY2018 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019) are due September 30, 2019.
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.
August 30, 2019
FCC Releases Report and Order 19-78: Promoting Telehealth in Rural America
On August 20, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Report and Order reforming the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program to promote transparency and predictability, and to further the efficient allocation of limited program resources while guarding against waste, fraud, and abuse. More information available on the USAC website and you can read the Report and Order here.
For a summary of the upcoming changes, watch the recording of the Report and Order 19-78 Summary Webinar held on September 4, view the Report and Order 19-78 web page or download the Report and Order 19-78 Tip Sheet.