Rural Health Care Program
The Rural Health Care Program is made up of the Healthcare Connect Fund, the Telecommunications Program, and the Rural Health Care Pilot Program.
For the first time, demand for funds in the RHC Program met or exceeded its $400 million cap in fiscal year 2016. On January 13, 2017, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) announced that the third filing window for FY2016 was cancelled due to insufficient funds. This lack of funding could cause some healthcare providers to lose broadband connections, harming patients who rely on telemedicine services.
To address the RHC Program’s short-term fiscal emergency, the SHLB Coalition (along with several telehealth networks identified below) filed a letter with the FCC on November 30, 2016 proposing that the FCC roll over unused RHC funds from prior years, as it does in the E-rate program. Re-allocating unused RHC funds from prior years could address the short-term funding shortfall without increasing the fees paid by consumers to support the Universal Service Fund.
Over one year ago, the SHLB Coalition also filed a broader Petition for Rulemaking urging the FCC to reform the RHC program. Most of the comments filed on this Petition supported moving forward with the rulemaking proceeding, but the previous FCC did not act on the Petition.
Documents on Rural Health Care Program
|Apr. 10, 2017||SHLB Press Release Encouraging RHC Reform|
|Apr. 10, 2017||USAC Announces Decrease in FY2016 RHC Funding [webinar]|
|Feb. 27, 2016||Senators' Letter Calling on FCC To Protect Broadband Funding for Rural Healthcare Clinics|
|Dec. 1, 2016||SHLB Petition re Interim Rural Healthcare Cap Relief|
|Jan. 29, 2016||SHLB Healthcare Reform Petition Reply Comments|
|Dec. 8, 2015||SHLB Announces Filing Petition for Rulemaking to Modernize the Rural Health Care Program|
|Dec. 7, 2015||Petition for Rulemaking to Modernize the Rural Health Care Program|
|Sept. 1, 2014||SHLB Summary of HCF Working Group|
|May 20, 2013||SHLB RHC Dark Fiber Reply Comments|
Sign Up to Receive Our Mailing List!
Subscribe to receive the latest updates on our policies, events, and latest activies.