Rural Healthcare

2024 Co-chairs 

Marci White

Redbud Telecom Consulting

Leslie LaFile

Independent Health Network

SHLB Staff Contact: Kristen Corra

The purpose of the SHLB Rural Health Care (RHC) Policy Group is to support the underlying goals, administration, and implementation of the Rural Health Care Program (which includes HCF and the Telecom Program).  

As the country advances its goal to connect people remotely (at home and wherever they are), the Group will explore ways to learn, educate, and advocate for broadband policies that advance equitable access to healthcare.

The SHLB RHC Policy Group aims to develop new and influence existing Federal policies that impact the RHC Program and the healthcare sector generally. Group members engage with each other and with others in the field to develop the expertise required to advocate for these policies (through filings, meetings with policymakers, etc.).

The SHLB RHC Policy Group provides a forum to exchange information to educate members about the RHC Program, advances in healthcare, and the intersection between healthcare, broadband, and the work of community anchor institutions.

June Meeting Summaries

June 11, 2024: On June 11 we discussed the current status of RHC program funding demand for 2024, the Rural Emergency Hospital Model, and updates concerning funding for cybersecurity resources.

Full meeting notes for this and prior meetings are available to members here.

2024 Suggested Workstreams

RHC Program (Policy)

  • Track the implementation of FCC-related Orders to ensure the Program achieves its underlying goals. Examples include:
    • Monitoring recent changes in FCC’s Third Report and Order
  • Ensure the advancement of the Program by advocating for open issues. Examples include:
    • Changes in HCF/Telecom Program equipment funding
    • Telecom Program rural/urban rates
    • Annual caps on recurring/non-recurring charges
  • Ensure to provide an educational forum for members to track and understand RHC Program-related topics. Examples include:
    • Developments related to the USF
    • Audit-related procedures and issues

RHC Program (Systems/Usability)

  • Ensure usability of the RHC Program systems by collecting user data, conducting productive USAC meetings, and tracking systems developments. 

Healthcare generally

Ensure the development of future public policies that address broadband-related healthcare issues. Examples include:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Ensure the advancement of equitable access to healthcare, by developing educational opportunities related to:
    • Access and funding opportunities for telehealth services
    • School-based clinics and mental health
    • Tribal access to healthcare
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March 2020
Promoting Telehealth for Low-Income Consumers / COVID-19 Telehealth Program

October 2019
Promoting Telehealth in Rural America

Join the Group