The FCC Federal Rural Health Care Program may be Your Solution!

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created the Rural Health Care Program to provide reduced rates for telecommunications, broadband, and internet services to eligible healthcare providers across the country. This program was updated several times by the FCC to encourage greater participation by hospitals, clinics, and community mental health centers in rural areas. Currently administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), the program requires rural healthcare providers to submit an annual application to receive funding, and the program has a cap of $400 million each fund year.

Challenges

Even though the program has an annual funding cap of $400 million, Health Care Providers like you have failed to take advantage of this program. Since the program’s inception, over 15 years ago, the $400 million cap has never been reached meaning there is money available each year for your organization to take advantage of. Often times, organizations do not have the time or the resources to navigate through the application process because they review the requirements and discover the applications to be challenging and time-consuming.

Benefits

Technology and connectivity charges continue to increase year after year making it necessary for healthcare facilities located in rural areas to take advantage of funding opportunities, including the Federal Rural Healthcare Program. Reimbursement received from this program could be used to lower your telecommunication and internet costs. Another option would be to invest in different health technology that would improve patient care in your local communities.

Eligibility Criteria

There are three initial criteria a Health Care Provider must meet to participate in the Rural Health Program:

  1. The Health Care Provider must be a non-profit entity or a public entity
  2. The Health Care Provider must be located in an FCC-approved rural location
  3. The Health Care Provider must be one of the following types of entities:
    a. Not-for-profit hospitals
    b. Rural health clinics
    c. Skilled nursing facilities
    d. Community mental health centers
    e. Local health departments or  agencies
    f.  Post-secondary educational institutions offering health care instruction, such as teaching hospitals and medical schools
    g. Community health centers or health centers that provide health care to migrants
    h. Dedicated emergency departments of rural for-profit hospitals

Eligible Services

Eligible services include, but are not limited to:

ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode)  MPLS

Centrex                                                                NRS – Network Reconfiguration Service

DSL                                                                      OC-1

Internet                                                                OC-3

Fiber                                                                     Redundant Circuits

Fractional T1                                                        Satellite Circuits

Frame Relay                                                         Telephone Service (No VoIP Service)

ISDN                                                                    T1 or DS1

Mileage-related Charges                                     T3 or DS3

Timothy Basile
Solix Inc. – Program Manager, Rural Health Care Consulting

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