COVID-19 Update: USAC remains open for business. Learn more about USF program responses.

Announcements

October 19, 2021
My Portal Platform Update

USAC is excited to share that the platform used to submit the FCC Form 462 (Funding Request Form) is being updated for Funding Year 2022 to improve user experience. The new platform—which is the web-based system used to host the form—will be easier to navigate and will allow RHC program reviewers to approve funding requests faster and more efficiently. This update currently applies to the FCC Form 462 ONLY, but over time will apply to all other forms in both the HCF and Telecom programs. We will reach out to program participants as the platform grows and post all updates on the affected pages on our website. For more information click here.

October 11, 2021
Certain Customer Support Centers Closed – Oct. 11

In observance of the federal holiday, the customer support centers for E-rate, High Cost, Rural Health Care, Contributors, and Service Providers will be closed Monday, October 11, 2021. The Lifeline, Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, and Emergency Connectivity Fund customer support centers will remain open during normal operating hours.

October 7, 2021
RHC Program News for October

View the October Newsletter

September 4, 2021
FCC Releases Order 21-1107 Granting Relief to RHC Participants Affected by Hurricane Ida

On September 3, 2021, the FCC issued Order DA 21-1107 waiving certain RHC rules and deadlines to assist participants and providers located in the areas affected by Hurricane Ida. This Order applies to healthcare providers and service providers located in all parishes and counties in Louisiana and Mississippi as of the date of release of this Order (September 3, 2021).

This Order grants the following waivers and extensions for all affected RHC program participants:

  • Grants a 60 day extension to the deadline for appeals and requests for waiver for all requests from August 30, 2021 through January 31, 2022
  • Waives the 14-day Information Request deadline for Information Requests related to funding requests, appeals and waivers, invoices, audits and other documentation and applies to all funding years
  • Waives the September 30, 2021 deadline for HCF program consortia annual reports
  • Program participants will not be penalized for failure to retain records destroyed by Hurricane Ida
September 3, 2021
RHC Program News for September

View the September Newsletter.

August 5, 2021
RHC Program News for August

View the August Newsletter.

July 15, 2021
Key Deadlines for Connected Care Pilot Program Participants Announced

WCB announces Connected Care Pilot Program deadlines in Public Notice DA 21-827, including filing dates for key forms for projects announced in January and June 2021. For more information on the Connected Care Pilot Program please see the CCPP USAC webpages.

July 15, 2021
RESOLVED: USAC Open Datasets Experiencing Information Delay

***Update: USAC has resolved the data refresh issue, and the datasets are up-to-date again. Thank you for your patience.

USAC is currently working to fix an issue related to the data refresh of certain Rural Health Care open datasets hosted on USAC’s Open Data website.

Users who accessed these datasets on July 15 (Thursday) may not have received up-to-date data. We recommend that users wait until this issue is resolved to resume using the affected datasets.

We apologize for this inconvenience. Please reach out to opendata@usac.org for questions about this issue.

July 1, 2021
RHC Program News for July

View the July Newsletter.

June 23, 2021
FCC Announces Availability of Unused Funds to Increase Rural Health Care Program Funding for FY2021

On June 23, 2021, the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau directed USAC to carry forward up to $379.97 million in unused funds from prior funding years to the extent necessary to satisfy funding year (FY) 2021 demand for the Rural Health Care program. Read the Public Notice.

June 22, 2021
FCC Approves Connected Care Pilot Program Report and Order

On June 17, 2021 the FCC approved a Report and Order offering further guidance on the administration of its $100 million Connected Care Pilot Program, including guidance on eligible services, competitive bidding, invoicing, and data reporting for selected participants, which will enable applicants selected for the Pilot Program to begin their projects. Read the Report and Order. Selected projects will receive information about next steps, deadlines, and training opportunities within the coming days.

June 22, 2021
FCC Announces Second Set of Projects Selected for Connected Care Pilot Program

On June 17, 2021, the FCC released PN 21-17, announcing the selection of 36 additional projects for the Connected Care Pilot Program. The newly selected Pilot projects join an initial set of 23 projects approved earlier this year, bringing the total to over $57 million in funding for 59 pilot projects serving patients in 30 states plus Washington, DC. More information about next steps for the selected projects is coming soon.

June 3, 2021
RHC Program News for June 2021

View the June Newsletter.

May 6, 2021
RHC Program News for May 2021

View the May Newsletter.

April 8, 2021
FCC Releases Order 21-394: Waives Use of Rates Database for Telecom Program Applicants for FY2021 and FY2022

On April 8, 2021, the FCC released Order DA 21-394, waiving the requirement that health care providers and service providers participating in the Telecommunications (Telecom) Program use the Rates Database to calculate urban and rural rates for funding years 2021 and 2022.

In addition, the Order grants the following extensions for all RHC program applicants:

  • Grants a one-year extension of the service delivery deadline for FY2020 to June 30, 2022.
  • Grants a 120-day extension of the invoice filing deadline for FY2020.
  • Directs USAC to grant an extension of 28 days for the deadline to respond to USAC’s information request if an applicant requests the extension before the expiration of the initial 14-day deadline. This relief applies to information requests issued from April 8, 2021 through December 31, 2021.

More information for Telecom program applicants is forthcoming.

April 1, 2021
RHC Program News for April 2021

View the April Newsletter.

March 22, 2021
RHC Program Inflation-Based Cap Announced for FY2021

The RHC program funding cap for funding year 2021 is $612,016,418.
The internal cap for upfront payments and multi-year commitments under the Healthcare Connect Fund Program is $154,532,400. These new caps represent a 1.2% inflation-adjusted increase in the $604,759,306 RHC program funding cap and the $152,700,000 internal cap on multi-year commitments and upfront payments from funding year 2020. Read the announcement.

March 4, 2021
RHC Program News for March 2021

View the March Newsletter.

February 12, 2021
FCC Releases Order DA 21-168: FY2021 Filing Window Extended

On February 12, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released Order 21-168, waiving section 54.621(a)(1) of the Commission’s rules, extending the close of the funding year 2021 application filing window for the Rural Health Care (RHC) program until June 1, 2021. The FCC finds that an extension of the application filing window for funding year 2021 is necessary in light of the ongoing disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to program participants, the emergence of the more contagious new COVID-19 variants, and the overwhelming burden placed on health care providers to administer COVID-19 testing and vaccines. Additionally, FCC Order 21-168 directs USAC to file the RHC program gross demand estimate by August 1, 2021. The RHC program will provide additional information about these actions over the next week. Read the Order here.

February 4, 2021
RHC Program News for February 2021

View the February Newsletter.

February 2, 2021
FCC Releases Order 21-24: COVID-19 Telehealth Program to be Administered by USAC

On February 2, 2021, the FCC released Order FCC 21-24 taking the next step toward committing funding through the COVID-19 Telehealth Program (Program) by expanding the administrative responsibilities of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to include the Program.

The FCC directs USAC to administer the remainder of Round 1, which includes conducting an initial review of invoices, providing outreach and guidance to stakeholders about the invoicing processes, and processing post-program feedback reports. In addition, the Order directs USAC to administer all of Round 2 of the Program, which includes, but is not limited to, updating the portal that will be used by applicants, reviewing applications, conducting an initial review of invoices, providing outreach and guidance to stakeholders about the application and invoicing processes, and administering any required audit and reporting requirements. More information coming soon.

January 21, 2021
FCC Releases DA 21-83: Waives Use of Telecom Program Rural Rates Database for Alaska Applicants

On January 19, the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) released DA 21-83, waiving the requirement to use the Telecom Program Rates Database for determining rural rates for health care providers in the State of Alaska. This action will ensure that telecommunications service providers in Alaska will receive sufficient Telecom Program support for the next two funding years, thereby providing a reliable telecommunications marketplace for Alaskan health care providers, while the FCC further examines how to apply the Rates Database to Alaska in light of its unique and challenging geography.

This waiver is in place for FY2021, for which competitive bidding has already begun, and for FY2022 unless the FCC has separately addressed the pending petitions for reconsideration within the year (i.e., by January 19, 2022). Read DA 21-83.

January 19, 2021
FCC Announces Initial Projects Selected for Connected Care Pilot Program

As part of its ongoing efforts to promote and support connected care technologies and services, the FCC has announced an initial set of pilot projects that have been selected for the Connected Care Pilot Program. These projects will support the goals of the Pilot Program and will help inform the Commission on the role of the Fund in supporting connected care into the future. Read the Public Notice and list of selected pilot projects.

Please keep in mind that the selections announced in PN 21-12 are only an initial set of projects. The Commission’s review of applications for the Pilot Program is ongoing, and the Commission expects to announce the selection of the remainder of projects in the coming months. The Commission is committed to selecting a broad array of applicants and projects.

Applicants who have been selected will receive more information about further instructions, including next steps within the coming weeks. Learn more about the Connected Care Pilot Program.

January 8, 2021
RHC Program News for January 2021

View the January Newsletter.

January 7, 2021
RESOLVED: Intermittent USAC Email Connectivity Issues

***Update: The USAC email system is operational again. Thank you for your patience during this outage.

USAC is experiencing internal, intermittent connectivity issues with email access. While USAC actively works to resolve this issue, stakeholders may experience delays in receiving responses to emails sent to USAC inboxes, which includes USAC’s customer service support.

At this time, the USAC telephone system is operational for customer service support.

We apologize for the inconvenience, and we will respond to your email inquiry as soon as the issue is resolved.

January 7, 2021
Additional $249.95 Million Appropriated for FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program

On December 27, 2020 the Consolidated Appropriations Act was signed into law and provided an additional $249.95 million for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. This additional funding will allow the Commission to continue its efforts to expand connected care throughout the country and enable patients to access necessary health care services while helping slow the spread of the disease.


In addition, the Act requires the Commission to seek comment on “the metrics the Commission should use to evaluate applications for funding” and “how the Commission should treat applications filed during the funding rounds for awards from the COVID-19 Telehealth Program using amounts appropriated under the CARES Act.” Through this Public Notice, the FCC seeks comment on these matters, as well as how to meet the Act’s other requirements for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. Comments are due January 19, 2021. Read the PN.

January 4, 2021
FY2021 Filing Window Open Now

The FY2021 Filing Window opened today, January 4, 2021. You can now submit your funding requests (FCC Forms 462 for the HCF Program or FCC Forms 466 for the Telecom Program) in My Portal. The filing window closes at 11:59 p.m. ET on April 1, 2021. We encourage all applicants to submit their funding requests as early as possible during the filing window.

Here are some resources that can assist you during the submission process:

New for FY2021: Applicants should be aware of recent changes from FCC Report and Order 19-78 impacting FY2021. For a summary of the upcoming changes, view the Report and Order web page

More Information

Read more about funding requests, which you must submit to USAC between January 4 and April 1, 2021 in order to be considered eligible for funding:

December 21, 2020
RHC Help Desk Holiday Hours

Please note the following holiday hours for the RHC Help Desk:

  • Thursday, December 24 (Christmas Eve): Closed
  • Friday, December 25 (Christmas Day): Closed
  • Thursday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve): 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Friday, January 1 (New Year’s Day): Closed

December 14, 2020
FCC Releases Order DA 20-1479: Gift Rule Waiver Extended to June 30, 2021

The FCC extends through June 30, 2021, the temporary waiver of the RHC program gift rule to enable health care providers to receive free upgraded services from service providers. Extending the gift rule waiver will enable these health care providers to continue to receive, on a temporary basis, free telecommunication services and equipment that would otherwise be prohibited, thereby enhancing the delivery of quality medical care across the country. The gift rule waiver is limited to health care providers involved in the screening and treatment of patients for COVID-19 and in providing service to other patients in an effort to both help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and devote limited on-site medical resources towards treatment of COVID-19.  Read the Order.

December 3, 2020
RHC Program News for December 2020

View the December newsletter.

December 3, 2020
Submit FCC Forms 460 for Connected Care Pilot Program Consideration by 5:00 p.m. December 4

If you intend to apply for the Connected Care Pilot Program please note that Friday, December 4 at 5:00 p.m. ET is the last recommended time to submit an FCC Form 460 to USAC for the purposes of Connected Care Pilot Program consideration. Submission of an FCC Form 460 does not guarantee approval. FCC Forms 460 must be fully submitted in My Portal, and those in draft status will not be considered for review.

December 1, 2020
FCC Releases Order DA 20-1420: Certain Rule Changes to be Implemented in FY2020

On November 30, the FCC released Order DA 20-1420, implementing certain rule changes in funding year (FY) 2020 that were slated for FY2021. The Order accelerates the effective date of the following rules:

  • Site and service substitutions for the Telecom Program
  • Amending the SPIN change process to allow for corrective and operational changes across both the HCF and Telecom Programs
  • Establishing a service delivery deadline of June 30 while permitting a one-year extension of the service delivery deadline
  • Permitting a one-time 120-day invoice filing extension

While the December 2019 Public Notice pushed back the effective dates for all rule changes requiring PRA approval to FY2021, the PRA approval has now been obtained and in light of the COVID-19 emergency, the FCC recognizes that making these rules effective for FY2020 could provide helpful flexibility to health care providers during the current funding year. Accordingly, earlier action is amended in the December 2019 Public Notice so that the updated site and service substitution rules, corrective and operational SPIN change rules, and service delivery deadline and invoicing deadline extension rules will become effective for the remainder of FY2020, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Read the Order.

November 20, 2020
RHC Help Desk Thanksgiving Hours

Please note the RHC Help Desk will be closed on Thursday, November 26 and Friday, November 27 in observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday.

November 13, 2020
Connected Care Pilot Program Application Maintenance on Sunday, November 15

Please be aware the the Connected Care Pilot Program application will be unavailable Sunday, November 15th from 7:00 p.m. ET to 1:00 a.m. ET Monday, November 16 due to system maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

November 5, 2020
RHC Program News for November 2020

View the November Newsletter.

November 5, 2020
Connected Care Pilot Program Application Filing Window Opens Friday, November 6

On November 5, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released Public Notice DA 20-1315 providing guidance on the Connected Care Pilot Program application process timeline. The application filing window opens Friday, November 6, 2020, at 12:00 p.m. ET and will close on Monday, December 7, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The application is available at the My Portal login page. To access the Pilot Program application, eligible health care providers will use their My Portal login credentials that were provided when their FCC Form 460 (Eligibility and Registration Form) was approved for their eligible site.

Join the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) Rural Health Care Outreach team on Thursday November 12, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. ET for a webinar about the Connected Care Pilot application process and best practice. Register today!

November 4, 2020
Update to My Portal Multi-Factor Authentication Email

As a reminder, My Portal uses multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure the security of its users information. MFA helps safeguard access to data and applications, and provides additional security by requiring a second form of user authentication by having users enter a code sent to their email address. Starting the evening of November 4, these emails will now come from noreply@okta.com instead of noreply@usac.org. Please make sure your email account is able to receive emails from noreply@okta.com so that you can log into My Portal.

October 21, 2020
Connected Care Pilot Program Resources Available Now

Visit the new Connected Care Pilot Program web page for information on the application process and resources for those interested in applying.

October 19, 2020
FCC Releases Order DA 20-1233: All Qualifying FY2020 Funding Requests to be Funded in Full

On October 19, 2020, the FCC released Order DA 20-1233, waiving section 54.619(a) of the Commission’s rules to eliminate the cap on upfront payments and multi-year commitments for FY2020 to ensure that all RHC program requests for support can be funded in full. This waiver responds to the unique set of circumstances presented by COVID-19. The far-reaching effects of the pandemic lead the FCC to conclude that funding all RHC program requests in full will promote the public interest by enabling the widespread delivery of vital communications-based health care during the pandemic.

October 2, 2020
USAC Phone Outage

The USAC telephone system is currently down. The outage includes individual USAC employee phones as well as the Contributor Support Center. We are working to resolve the issue and apologize for the inconvenience. 
 ***Update: The USAC telephone system may be down intermittently. The outage includes individual USAC employee phones as well as the Contributor Support Center. Please email your questions by visiting the Contact USAC web page as we work to resolve this issue. We apologize for the inconvenience.

October 1, 2020
RHC Program News for October 2020

View the October Newsletter.

September 30, 2020
USAC Phone Outage

The USAC telephone system is currently down. The outage includes individual USAC employee phones as well as the Contributor Support Center. We are working to resolve the issue and apologize for the inconvenience.  

***Update: The USAC Phone System is operational again. Thank you for your patience during this outage.

September 29, 2020
USAC Phone Outage

The USAC telephone system is currently down. The outage includes individual USAC employee phones as well as the Contributor Support Center. We are working to resolve the issue and apologize for the inconvenience.  

***Update: The USAC Phone System is operational again. Thank you for your patience during this outage.

September 21, 2020
New HCF Program FCC Form 460 Feature

When completing the Site Information section on the FCC Form 460, HCF Program applicants will now be prompted to select which active program(s) they are seeking eligibility determinations for: Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program, Connected Care Pilot Program, COVID-19 Telehealth Program (not currently active).

September 17, 2020
FCC Releases Order DA 20-1092: Certain FY2019 Invoice Deadlines Waived

On September 16, 2020, the FCC released Order DA 20-1092 to provide relief to applicants and service providers who received funding year (FY) 2019 funding commitment letters (FCLs) after or within 180 days of the invoice filing deadline. The Order allows these entities to submit invoices to USAC within 180 days from the later of the release date of this Order or the issuance of an FCL by USAC.

The Order includes an appendix identifying applicants that USAC already knows fall into this waiver category.  These, plus any other applicants and service providers subsequently identified by USAC that fall into this category, may benefit from this waiver.

Applicants and service providers who miss invoice deadlines that fall within these parameters do not need to submit individual requests for a waiver.

September 16, 2020
My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance Monday, September 21 from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. ET

My Portal will be unavailable on Monday, September 21 from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. ET for maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

September 4, 2020
FCC Releases PN DA 20-1021: Certain COVID-19 Relief Waivers Further Extended

On September 3, 2020, the FCC released PN DA 20-1021, further extending some waivers granted in March for COVID-19 relief. Due to ongoing disruptions caused by COVID-19 to program participants and the need for robust connectivity, the FCC has extended the gift rule waiver and information request deadline to December 31, 2020. These waivers were originally set to expire on September 30, 2020.

September 3, 2020
FCC Releases PN DA 20-1019: Additional Information About the Connected Care Pilot Program

On September 3, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Public Notice providing additional information and guidance for potential applicants interested in applying for its Connected Care Pilot Program. The Pilot Program will provide up to $100 million from the Universal Service Fund over a three-year period to support the provision of connected care services, with an emphasis on supporting these services for low income Americans and veterans. The FCC will release a subsequent Public Notice with details regarding application procedures, including the timing of the application window. Read the Public Notice and News Release.

September 3, 2020
RHC Program News for September 2020

View the September Newsletter.

September 1, 2020
My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance Tuesday, September 1 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET

My Portal will be unavailable on Tuesday, September 1 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. ET for maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

August 10, 2020
RHC Program News for August 2020

View the August Newsletter.

August 4, 2020
RHC Assist Experiencing Phone Outages due to Inclement Weather

Due to Tropical Storm Isaias, power outages have impacted the RHC Help Desk’s ability to accept applicant phone calls today, August 4. Please email RHC-Assist@usac.org with your questions as we work to resolve this issue.

July 8, 2020
FCC Approves Final Set of COVID-19 Telehealth Program Applications

On July 8, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau approved the final round of funding applications for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. Health care providers will use this $10.73 million to provide telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic. Since the beginning of the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program, the agency has approved 539 funding applications in 47 states plus Washington, D.C. and Guam for a total of $200 million in funding—the amount of money provided by Congress in the CARES Act. No further applications will be accepted. Read more.

July 2, 2020
RHC Call Center Closed July 3, 2020

The Rural Health Care Customer Call Center will be closed on Friday, July 3 to observe the Independence Day holiday. It will re-open on Monday, July 6 at  8 am ET. 

July 1, 2020
RHC Program News for July 2020

View the July Newsletter.

July 1, 2020
Rurality Tier Search Tool and Rates Database Available Now!

As a reminder, FCC Report and Order 19-78 implemented RHC program changes that promote transparency, predictability, and further the efficient allocation of limited program resources while guarding against waste, fraud, and abuse. Two major changes included establishing rurality tiers for Telecom Program support and implementing a rates database for Telecom Program applicants. You can now access these two new tools which make program participation and form submission more efficient.

  • Rurality Tier Search Tool – This tool can be used to search, by health care provider (HCP) site location, the applicable rurality tier for your HCP site. The rurality tier is used to calculate the “rural rate” for determining the amount of support for eligible telecommunications services in the Telecom Program. In addition to helping determine your HCP site’s rural rate, the rurality tier is also a factor (together with degree of medical service availability) in determining the prioritization of funding in the event eligible funding requests exceed the amount of available funding for a particular funding year.
  • Telecom Program Rates Database – Beginning in FY2021, the rural and urban rates used to calculate the amount of eligible support for an HCP site location will be the median of available rates as identified in the Rates Database. Telecom Program applicants will use the median rural and urban rates from the Rates Database for the requested telecommunications services when submitting Telecom Funding Requests FCC Form(s) 466.

If there are relevant rates that are not already in the database, the public may submit these rates to USAC for inclusion in the database by emailing RHC-Assist@usac.org with the subject line “Urban and Rural Rate Database” by August 31, 2020.

June 30, 2020
FCC Announces Increase in Rural Health Care Program Funds for FY2020

On June 30, 2020, the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau directed USAC to carry forward up to $197.98 million in unused funds from prior funding years to the extent necessary to satisfy funding year (FY) 2020 demand for the Rural Health Care program. The total amount of support available to eligible health care providers for FY2020 will be $802.74 million, the most in the Program’s history. Read Public Notice DA 20-688 and News Release.

June 25, 2020
FCC No Longer Accepting Applications for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program

On June 25, 2020 the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) released Public Notice DA 20-667, announcing that it will no longer accept new applications for funding from the COVID-19 Telehealth Program (Program). Based on the applications received to date, demand for funding exceeds available Program funds and, as a result, the public interest is not served by imposing burdens on health care providers who may prepare new applications that cannot be funded under the current appropriation. Read the Public Notice.

June 4, 2020
RHC Program News for June 2020

View the June Newsletter.

May 7, 2020
RHC Program News for May 2020

View the May Newsletter.

April 21, 2020
FCC Releases PN DA 20-436

On April 21, 2020, the FCC released Public Notice DA 20-436, suspending the red light rule for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program to facilitate prompt review and processing of the maximum number of applications. Pursuant to the Commission’s rules, action on applications and requests by any entity found to be delinquent in its debt to the Commission may be withheld under the Commission’s “red light” rule, until full payment or resolution of such debt. The Office of the Managing Director and the Wireline Competition Bureau issued this waiver to ensure that otherwise worthy telehealth projects are not unnecessarily turned away due to the “red light” rule during this health crisis.

April 17, 2020
FCC Releases Public Notice DA 20-425

On April 17, 2020, the FCC released Public Notice DA 20-425 giving further guidance to funding recipients on how to invoice the FCC for the services and/or connected devices funded through the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, established under Report and Order FCC 20-44. Under this program, disbursements will be issued directly to the participating health care provider (HCP) rather than to the service providers that have provided the eligible services or equipment to the HCP. HCPs may begin to submit invoices for the eligible services and/or connected devices to the FCC on a monthly basis against the amount indicated in their funding commitment notification. Read the Public Notice.

April 14, 2020
My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance Tuesday, April 14 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET

My Portal will be undergoing January maintenance between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. During this time, users will be unable to access My Portal. We apologize for any inconvenience.

April 14, 2020
RHC Assist Update

While the phone system is back up and running, we are currently experiencing a high volume of inquiries to RHC-Assist@usac.org due to the outages caused by yesterday’s inclement weather. We continue to process emails as quickly as possible in the order in which they were received, but please allow additional time for a response. For inquiries regarding the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, you can visit our COVID-19 Response web page for general information and direct all questions to EmergencyTelehealthSupport@fcc.gov. Thank you for your patience.

April 13, 2020
RHC Assist Phone Outages due to Inclement Weather

Due to severe storms, power outrages have impacted our ability to accept applicant phone calls today, April 13, 2020. Please email RHC-Assist@usac.org with your questions as we work to resolve this issue.

April 10, 2020
FCC Announces COVID-19 Telehealth Program Application Portal Will Open Monday, April 13

The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau will begin accepting applications for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program beginning Monday, April 13, 2020 at 12:00 PM ET at https://www.fcc.gov/covid-19-telehealth-program. The COVID-19 Telehealth Program will provide $200 million in funding, appropriated by Congress as part of the CARES Act, to help health care providers furnish connected care services to patients at their homes or mobile locations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To assist applicants in preparing their applications, an explainer video will also be posted on Monday on the FCC’s website. Questions specific to the application process should be directed to EmergencyTelehealthSupport@fcc.gov.

April 10, 2020
RHC’s COVID-19 Response Page Available Now

Find all of the information about the FCC and USAC’s response to COVID-19 here. We will continue to update this page with more resources and information.

April 9, 2020
FCC Public Notice DA 20-394: Application Guidance for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program

On April 8, 2020 the FCC released Public Notice DA 20-394, providing guidance on actions applicants can take to prepare themselves for filing an application for COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding, established in Report and Order 20-44.

There are three steps interested health care providers can take immediately to prepare to apply for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program: (1) obtain an eligibility determination from USAC with an FCC Form 460 (2) obtain an FCC Registration Number (FCC RN); and (3) register with System for Award Management.

It is recommended that you complete these steps now so you’re prepared to submit for program funding as soon as applications can be accepted by the Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB). The WCB will release a subsequent Public Notice announcing the application acceptance date immediately following the effective date of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program information collection requirements.

USAC will provide additional guidance over the next few days. Read the Public Notice here.

April 3, 2020
FCC Adopts $200 Million COVID-19 Telehealth Program

On April 2, 2020 the Federal Communications Commission adopted Report and Order 20-44. Recognizing that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic represents extraordinary and unprecedented public health challenges, the FCC took necessary steps to adopt a new $200 Million COVID-19 program that will provide immediate support to health care providers and patients across the country. The COVID-19 Telehealth Program, funded through a recent Congressional appropriation, will immediately support health care providers responding to the pandemic by providing funding for telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to enable the provision of telehealth services, on a temporary basis. A separate Connected Care Pilot Program will provide up to $100 million of support from the Universal Service Fund (USF) to help defray health care providers’ costs of providing connected care services and to help assess how the USF can be used in the long-term to support telehealth. Read the Report and Order here. USAC will provide additional information in the upcoming days.

April 2, 2020
RHC Program News for April 2020

View the April Newsletter.

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 FCC issued Order DA 20-290, waiving the RHC program’s gift rules to provide assistance to rural health care providers (HCPs) responding to COVID-19. In the Order, the FCC recognizes that the pandemic will increase the need for connectivity and broadband services. The gift rules waiver removes regulatory obstacles that would otherwise prevent a service provider from voluntarily offering equipment or services to HCPs to help them improve connectivity and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic more effectively.  Specifically, the Order:

  • Allows service providers to offer, and for HCPs to solicit or accept, free upgrades, connected devices, networking equipment, services and other things of value.
  • Waives the requirement that prohibits a service provider from reducing the unsubsidized portion of charges for services paid by HCPs.
  • Waives the requirement that HCPs pay the urban rate for services provided in the Telecom Program.

These waivers are limited to HCPs involved in the screening and treatment of patients for COVID-19 and for providing services to other patients in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The waivers are in effect through September 30, 2020.

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 RHA-assist@usac.org.

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.