SHLB Encouraged by FCC Actions to Improve Rural Health Care Program
January 26, 2023


For Immediate Release

John Windhausen, Jr.
Executive Director
(202) 256-9616


Washington, D.C. (January 26, 2023) - The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, a broad-based  membership organization that includes health providers and telehealth networks, is encouraged by the FCC’s  decision today to adopt an Order on Reconsideration, Second Report and Order, Order, and Second Further Notice  of Proposed Rulemaking (Order and Further Notice).  

The Order and Further Notice, among other changes, moves away from the unsuccessful rates database for the  Telecom Program, proposes to allow new health care providers to receive program funding as soon as they become  eligible, and seeks comment on a variety of other issues.  

“Better broadband is essential to providing quality and affordable access to rural healthcare that helps millions of  families living in Americas heartland. Over half of all rural healthcare applicants are members of SHLB, so we have a  strong interest in promoting the success of this program to promote rural telemedicine,” said John Windhausen, Jr.,  Executive Director of the SHLB Coalition. “The FCC listened to many of our suggestions, and we are especially  pleased that the Commission extended the use of existing rates for an additional year to provide applicants more  certainty. While the RHC application processing has improved over the past two years, the program is not yet  operating as efficiently as the E-rate program, which is a top priority for SHLB, our members and families in need.  There are many more steps the FCC can take to improve the program’s effectiveness, and we are pleased that the  FCC will seek further comment on these additional ideas to serve more rural healthcare providers and patients."  

The SHLB Coalition previously filed comments, reply comments, and Ex Parte summaries in the FCC’s WC Docket No.  17-310 regarding its suggestions for improvements to the RHC Program. Visit Health-Care to learn more about SHLB’s advocacy to improve our nation’s telehealth. 

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