Rurality Tier Search Tool
The rural tier is a factor in the prioritization of funding in the event eligible funding requests exceed the amount of available funding for a particular funding year. Accordingly, in addition to the rural tier, this tool will also display whether or not the site is located in a Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/P), which is another factor related to funding prioritization, and the funding priority level for the HCP site location.
Note: This tool is for information purposes only. Rurality tiers are formally assigned during the review and approval of the FCC Form 460 in the HCF Program and FCC Form 465 in the Telecom Program. Please check your approved forms for your assigned rurality tier.
The rural tiers are based on the RHC program definition of “rural area” under the Commission’s rules.* Each eligible health care provider (HCP) site or location is considered an individual HCP for purposes of calculating support under the RHC program. Under the RHC Telecom Program, each HCP site must fall within a rural tier to be eligible for support.
USAC will assign each HCP with a rurality tier based on the following criteria:
- Extremely Rural: areas entirely outside of a Core Based Statistical Area.
- Rural: areas within a Core Based Statistical Area that do not have an urban area with a population of 25,000 or greater.
- Less Rural: areas in a Core Based Statistical Area that contain an urban area with a population of 25,000 or greater, but are within a specific census tract that itself does not contain any part of an urban cluster or urban area with a population of 25,000 or greater.
- Non-Rural: all other non-rural areas.
In the event eligible funding requests exceed the amount of available support for a particular funding year, the FCC’s rules provide for the prioritization of support based on the rurality tier of the HCP site and whether the site is located in a Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/P) area as designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration. Sites located in more rural areas that are designated MUA/P are given a higher priority than sites in less rural and non-MUA/P areas.
The following table shows the different prioritization tiers and can be found in 47 C.F.R. § 54.621(b):
|Health Care Provider (HCP) Site is Located in:||MUA/P||Not in MUA/P|
|Extremely Rural Tier||Priority 1||Priority 4|
|Rural Tier||Priority 2||Priority 5|
|Less Rural Tier||Priority 3||Priority 6|
|Non-Rural Area||Priority 7||Priority 8|
More information on the methods and procedures used to identify geographic areas for the rurality tiers and MUA/Ps.
With the Rurality Tier Search Tool You Can:
Determine the rurality tier of your HCP site location using the site address.
Resources: How to Use the Rurality Tier Search Tool