Rural Health Care

News Archive

USAC's News Archive gives you access to all announcements related to the Rural Health Care Program as they were made throughout the years. The archives will be updated as new announcements are made.


  

3/19/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance March 21, 2018


Rural Health Care’s My Portal will be unavailable from 9:00 PM through 11:00 PM ET on Wednesday, March 21, 208 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience. 

3/15/2018FY2017 Funding and Proration Information Available Now


The FY2017 Funding and Proration information is available here. USAC will begin distributing funding commitment letters on Friday, March 16, 2018.

3/15/2018Consortia Rurality Percentage - New Tip Sheet Available


According to HCF Program rules, a consortium must be greater than 50% rural three years after the submission of the consortium's first FCC Form 462 (funding request form). To make sure you are in compliance with program rules as your consortium's three year deadline approaches, download this tip sheet.

3/8/2018Newsletter for March 2018


FY2017 Funding Requests: Update Coming Soon

In upcoming weeks, you will receive an update about your FY2017 funding commitment from the RHC Program. To ensure you receive all communications regarding your FY2017 funding request, please check your spam folders and make sure that your email inbox allows messages from the RHC Program. RHC will communicate any updates via the email addresses the applicant has submitted in My Portal. FY2017 funding commitment decisions and letters have not yet been released; funding requests are still in review. This page will be updated when more information is available.

 

Recommended Submission Milestones Approaching

To ensure that you stay on track with your forms and are able to submit your funding request before the FY2018 filing window closes, USAC has developed recommended submission milestones for all HCF and Telecom program forms. These milestones account for both the minimum competitive bidding time required under RHC Program rules and time for USAC review:

  • For individual HCPs and consortia in the HCF Program using an RFP: we recommend submitting your FCC Form 460 by March 14 and your FCC Form 461 by April 1.
  • For individual HCPs and consortia in the HCF Program NOT using an RFP: we recommend submitting your FCC Form 460 by March 14 and your FCC Form 461 by April 15. 
  • For HCPs in the Telecom Program: we recommend submitting your FCC Form 465 by April 15.

Please note that these are suggested submission dates and not deadlines enforced by RHC Program rules. View all the recommended submission milestones for FY2018.

 

FY2018 Filing Window Closes May 31, 2018

The FY2018 filing window opened February 1, 2018. To be considered eligible for funding, you must submit your funding requests (FCC Forms 462 for the HCF Program and FCC Forms 466 in the Telecom Program) by the close of the window on May 31, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Funding requests submitted after May 31, 2018 will be automatically denied. View our how-to guides and tip sheets to assist you during the submission process:

Read more about funding requests:

Important Reminders for FY2018

 

New to the program? Watch RHC 101: Are you a new applicant getting ready to apply to the RHC Program? Watch our webinar “RHC 101: An Introduction to the Rural Health Care Program” to learn the basics of the HCF and Telecom programs, eligibility requirements, and how to get started. 

New Tip Sheet! Consortium Rurality Percentage Compliance: According to HCF Program rules, a consortium must be greater than 50% rural three years after the submission of the consortium’s first FCC Form 462 (funding request form). To make sure you are in compliance with program rules as your consortium’s three year deadline approaches, download this tip sheet.

 

What to Do If You Receive and Information Request: As you submit your FCC Form 462 or 466, please upload all required documentation with your forms. Forms submitted with incomplete or missing documentation cannot be reviewed, and RHC analysts will reach out to account holders with a request for additional information (an “Information Request”). RHC will also reach out with Information Requests to clarify specific items related to an application. If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. Once you respond, the analysts will be happy to work with you to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation to complete their review. Failure to respond in some fashion within the 14 calendar day time frame results 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 Funding Year 2018. 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

2/28/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance Monday, March 5 2018


Due to maintenance being performed on Rural Health Care's My Portal system, some functionality may be unavailable from 8:00 a.m. through 10:00 a.m. ET Friday, March 2, 2018. We apologize for any inconvenience. 

2/28/2018USAC Website Outage for Scheduled Maintenance on Friday, March 2


USAC’s website (www.USAC.org) will be unavailable due to scheduled website maintenance on Friday, March 2 from 9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET. During this outage, the entire site will be converted to Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).          

After the deployment, users will notice that all www.USAC.org web pages are preceded by “HTTPS” in their URLs. Existing bookmarks to non-HTTPS addresses will continue to work but will automatically be redirected to the HTTPS address.        

Please note, some USAC applications may not be available during the outage. We apologize for the inconvenience.        

Why are we making this change?

HTTPS protects the integrity of the website by preventing intruders from tampering with communications between the website and users. It guards both visitors and websites by encrypting and securing the information being sent and received while improving performance through faster load times.      

Questions?

If you have any questions about this, please contact us at Outreach@usac.org.

 

2/26/2018My Portal Outage Due To System Maintenance Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 9:00 p.p. through 11:00 p.m. ET Tuesday February 27, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

2/22/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Friday, February 23 through Saturday, February 24 2018


Rural Health Care's My Portal will be unavailable from 6:00 PM ET on Friday, February 23rd, 2018 through 12:00 p.m. ET Saturday, February 24, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

2/6/2018My Portal Outage Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, February 22, 2018


Rural Health Care’s My Portal will be unavailable from 9:00 PM through 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, February 22nd, 2018 due to system maintenance. Online forms will not be accessible for health care providers or service providers. We apologize for any inconvenience

2/1/2018Newsletter for February 2018


Update on FY2017 Commitments

FY2017 funding commitment decisions and letters have not yet been released; funding requests are still in review. This page will be updated when more information is available. Note: Any applicants seeking funding in FY2018 must submit funding requests. Be sure to submit during the FY2018 filing window (February 1 - May 31, 2018). 

 

FY2018 Filing Window Open Now!

The FY2018 filing window opens today, February 1, 2018. To be considered eligible for funding, you must submit your funding requests (FCC Forms 462 for the HCF Program and FCC Forms 466 in the Telecom Program) by the close of the window on May 31, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Funding requests submitted after May 31, 2018 will be automatically denied. View our latest how-to guides and tip sheets to assist you during the submission process:

Were these resources helpful? Let us know what you think by completing this short survey.

Read more about funding requests:

Important Reminders for FY2018

 

Rural Rate Documentation in the Telecom Program

We have received some questions surrounding who can provide documentation to USAC regarding the rural rate calculation. Please keep in mind, HCPs are ultimately responsible for ensuring that all required information in support of their applications is included in the funding request submission. USAC strongly advises that all required documentation, including information in support of the rural rate calculation, accompany an application when filed to USAC. However, if the service provider deems such information proprietary or confidential, and therefore cannot provide this required documentation to the HCP for filing with USAC, the service provider can submit those documents directly to USAC. Please see further down for instructions.

If the HCP does not submit the rural rate documentation to USAC, USAC will issue an Information Request to the HCP. More details on Information Requests are below in the next section. The HCP then has the responsibility to forward that Information Request to their service provider, at which point the service provider can then reply to the Information Request directly to USAC with the relevant documents, making sure to include the funding request number (FRN) for which they are submitting.

When submitting Information Request responses to USAC, the service provider must

  • Inform the HCP and USAC that they are submitting on behalf of the applicant,
  • Clearly communicate which FRN the submitted documentation corresponds to, and
  • Ensure the submitted documentation addresses all portions of the rural rate question.

Information Requests

As we move into FY2018, the RHC Program staff wants to provide you with the resources and information necessary to submit complete and accurate forms successfully. An important reminder as you submit your FCC Form 462 or 466, please upload all required documentation with your forms. Forms submitted with incomplete or missing documentation cannot be reviewed, and RHC reviewers will reach out to account holders with a request for additional information (an “Information Request”). RHC will also reach out with Information Requests to clarify specific items related to an application. 

If you receive an Information Request, you must respond to it within 14 calendar days. An acceptable response is either (1) the information requested or (2) a request for an extension. If the information requested is submitted to USAC by the service provider please follow the previously stated guidance above. Once you respond, the reviewers will be happy to work with you to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation to complete their review. Failure to respond in some fashion within the 14 calendar day timeframe results in an automatic denial, so be sure to respond in a timely manner! Note: If the service provider submits the information requested to USAC, please follow the previously stated guidance above.)

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 Funding Year 2018. 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.

Have an expired TPA and have questions on what to do?

Have an expired LOA and have questions on what to do?

  • Please upload the updated LOA within My Portal. Please see this submission guide for instructions. 

 

FY2018 Contracts

For either the HCF or Telecom programs--as you go through the competitive bidding process and select your service provider, make sure that you are meeting the appropriate contract requirements for the type of funding you are seeking (i.e., single year, multi-year, evergreen contract), and that the contract is signed by both the HCP/consortium and service provider.

FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making Comment Period Ends February 2

The FCC published their proposed rule in the Federal Register on January 3, 2018. Anyone can submit a comment to the FCC on this proposed rule. The comment period ends February 2, 2018, with reply comments due March 5, 2018. Please see this link for more information.

Contract & Consortia Resources Coming Soon!

The RHC Program team is working to create helpful guides regarding the contract submission process and how-to sheets for HCF Program consortia. Do you have a particular topic you’d like more information on? Let us know!

1/25/2018Funding Request Guides Available Now!


Did you know that the funding request filing window for Funding Year 2018 opens February 1, 2018? Submit your funding requests (FCC Forms 462 for the HCF Program and FCC Forms 466 in the Telecom Program) by the close of the window on May 31, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Here are some how-to guides and tip sheets that can assist you during the submission process:

  • Funding requests summary two pager: What is a funding request? How do I submit it? (Also includes a submission checklist.)
  • Funding Request Best Practices Webinar (held Jan. 10th): webinar recording, slides, and FAQs.
  • Quick guide for FY2017 applicants: Did you apply for funding in FY2017 but are unsure which forms to submit for FY2018? Our quick look-up chart tells you what forms you need to submit based on your situation. Applicable for both HCF and Telecom programs.
  • Your urban/rural rate: a guide on aceptable supporting documentation (for Telecom Program only). 

Read more about funding requests, which applicants must submit to USAC between February 1 and May 31, 2018 in order to be considered eligible for funding:


1/12/2018Watch the FY2018 Funding Request Best Practices Webinar now!


Did you know that the funding request filing window period for FY2018 opens February 1, 2018? Prepare to submit your funding request by the close of the filing window period (11:59 p.m. ET May 31, 2018) by watching our one hour training where we discussed helpful tips, resources, what you can expect from USAC’s review process, and best practices when submitting these forms.

Download the slides and watch now

1/8/2018Newsletter for January 2018


FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making Published January 3, 2018
The FCC published their proposed rule in the Federal Register on January 3, 2018. Anyone can submit a comment to the FCC on this proposed rule. The comment period ends February 2, 2018. Please see this link for more information. 

Update on FY2017 Commitments
FY2017 funding commitment decisions and letters have not yet been released; funding requests are still in review. This page will be updated when more information is available. Note: Any applicants seeking funding in FY2018 must submit funding requests. Be sure to submit during the FY2018 filing window (February 1 – May 31, 2018).

FY2018 Filing Window Period Update
The filing window period for FY2018 has been extended one month. The filing window period will now last February 1, 2018 through May 31, 2018, giving applicants more time to submit their FY2018 funding request forms. For more information please see our FY2018 Filing Window page here.

Submit FY2018 Request for Services Forms Now!
Applicants applying for funding for FY2018 who are going through the competitive bidding process can submit their FCC Form 461 (HCF Program) and FCC Form 465 (Telecom Program) now! The first day to submit these forms is January 1, 2018-- six months before the start of the funding year, which begins July 1, 2018.

Prepare to submit your Request for Services form with the following resources:
      • December 2017 Request for Services Best Practices Webinar recording and slides 
      • RFP Checklist (HCF Program only)
      • Network Plan Checklist (HCF Program only)
      • Search Posted Services tool: HCF Program and Telecom Program 

Rollover of FY2017 HCF Program FCC Forms 461
This year’s rollover functionality is a courtesy extended to HCF applicants who completed the Request for Services process, but did not meet the deadline to submit Funding Request forms. 

This is a one-time courtesy that, as of now, has not been extended for future funding years. To take advantage of this, those requesting the FCC Form 461 from FY2017 rollover functionality must meet the below requirements. The FCC Form 461 must meet both criteria:
      • HAVE been submitted for FY2017, and previously reviewed and approved by RHC in FY2017, and
      • NOT have been used to generate an FCC Form 462 in FY2017

The rollover process will only be applied to the FCC Form 461, and not the FCC Form 462. If applying for HCF Program funding in FY2018, applicants will need to submit a new FCC Form 462 and will have to go through the RHC Program review process.

How to submit your request:
      • Send email to: rhc-assist@usac.org 
      • Subject line of email: FCC Form 461 Rollover Request App #
      • Include within the email body: HCP #, FCC Form 461 application #
      • Once emailed, the rollover request may take 5-8 business days to review and process.
      • If approved, your request will be confirmed via email from an RHC staff member.

Upcoming Trainings
We highly recommend attending the next installment of our online training series, specifically designed to prepare applicants for the FY2018 filing window. These trainings are filled with resources, useful information, best practices, what to expect from the USAC review process.
• Funding Request Webinar: Wednesday January 10, 2018 at 2 p.m. ET. Did you know that the first day to submit FY2018 funding request forms is February 1, 2018? Join us in preparation for the FY2018 filing window period. This webinar will focus on the FCC Forms 462 and 466: Register here.