SHLB Encourages Rural Health Care Reform April 10, 2017
For Immediate Release:
April 10, 2017
Communications Manager, SHLB Coalition
SHLB Encourages Rural Health Care Reform
Washington, DC (April 10, 2017) - The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) announced earlier today that qualifying applicants in the Rural Health Care Program who submitted requests for funding during the September – November 2016 filing window period will not be fully funded. Qualifying applicants for the FY2016 September – November filing window period will receive a pro-rata percentage of 92.5% of their requested funding (a reduction of 7.5%).
The following statement can be attributed to John Windhausen, Jr., Executive Director of SHLB:
“The SHLB Coalition appreciates the difficult position faced by USAC, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and applicants in the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program. For the first time, demand for RHC program funding in FY 2016 has exceeded the $400 Million cap, and as a result, several rural telehealth providers will suffer reductions in funding. Unfortunately, this will mean that many rural health centers will be forced to pay more to maintain their existing telemedicine connections, and some of these clinics may be forced off the network altogether, which jeopardizes the quality of health care delivered to rural America. This funding crisis points to the need for comprehensive reform of the RHC program, which the SHLB Coalition requested in its Petition for Rulemaking filed in December 2015. The RHC program is the only one of the four Universal Service Fund programs that has not been fully reformed, and we urge the FCC to move forward to upgrade this program as soon as possible.”