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Rural Health Care

 

Rural Health Care News

 

February 14, 2013
 

MiCTA Rural Health Care
 

Dear Health Care Members,

On January 12, 2013 Chin You and Linda Oliver from the FCC presented an overview of the new Health Care Connect Fund. During the presentation it was stated that “The Fund would begin accepting applications for funding on January 1, 2014.” It should be noted that the “Spirit” of this fund is to encourage the use of creative broadband healthcare Telemedicine applications, enhance the level and quality of rural health care services, stimulation of the growth of consortium interaction between urban and multiple rural health care providers, as well as promoting the exchange of health care diagnostic and informational data between rural and urban HCPs on several levels.

After years of meetings and conversations with program administrators, as well as multiple filings with the FCC, MiCTA is pleased that many aspects of this new “Fund” reflect changes MiCTA has encouraged the FCC make to the “Program”. One of the most significant changes made can be found below in an excerpt from the Order:
 

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 12-150

.677 “MiCTA, a consultant for non-profit entities, requests that its HCP members be allowed to use the Master Service Agreements (MSAs) that MiCTA holds for its E-rate members instead of engaging in the RHC competitive bidding process.678 MiCTA argues that exempting its HCP members from competitive bidding and allowing them to use existing E-rate MSAs will encourage more MiCTA HCP members to participate in the RHC program.”679
267.
Discussion. “Consistent with section 54.501(c)(1) of our rules, we conclude that an HCP entering into a consortium with E-rate participants and becoming a party to the consortium’s existing contract should be exempt from the RHC competitive bidding requirements, so long as the contract wascompetitively bid consistent with E-rate rules, approved for use in the E-rate program as a master contract, and the Healthcare Connect Fund applicant (i.e. the individual HCP or consortium) otherwise complies with all Healthcare Connect Fund rules and procedures.680 An applicant utilizing this exemption must submit documentation with its request for funding that demonstrates that (1) the applicant is eligible to take services under the consortium contract; and (2) the consortium contract was approved as a master contract in the E-rate program. We agree with MiCTA that such an exemption will reduce HCPs’ individual administrative burdens and encourage consortia, and likely will save universal service funds due to the lower contract prices often associated with consortia bulk-buying.681 We thus find that a competitive bidding exemption for HCPs entering into contracts negotiated under the E-rate program will further our program goals to streamline the application process, facilitate consortium applications, and promote fiscal responsibility and cost-effectiveness.682 We note that an HCP in a consortium with E-rate participants may receive support only for services eligible for support under the RHC programs.”

Please find below an overview of the “Fund”

150 Million Annual Funding Cap
A flat 65% discount rate
Funds any supported services, equipment or infrastructure used for Health Care purposes
Funds any level or type of Broadband used for health care network connectivity
Allows for multi-year commitments
Percentage of Rural Health Care participating in a consortium must be higher than 51% (Opens the door for Urban Health Care funding)
Creates a new 50 million Pilot Program to test how Universal Service could be used to authorize care
for patients in skilled nursing facilities (scheduled for implementation in 2014)

We will update this page once we have more information to contribute.
 
Regards,

Gary L. Green
MiCTA Consultant
USF E-Rate/Rural Health Care
National Programs
Cell 231-881-6612
gary.green@mictatech.org
 




Rural Health Care

 


 

 

Recent MiCTA FCC Rural Health Care Filings

Rural Health Care Newsletter

 
 
   

Rural Health Care Monthly Conference Call Minutes

 
 

2011 Monthly Conference Call Minutes

 
   

Rural Health Care Tools

 
 
   

New Rural Health Care Portal

 
 

 www.usac.org