Rural Health Care News

May 14, 2014
MiCTA Rural Health Care
Dear Health Care Members,
On January 12, 2013 Chin Yoo 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
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 was
competitively 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”
Individual Eligible HCPs
400 Million Annual Funding Cap
Up to $5,000 (undiscounted cost) for customary installation charges
A flat 65% discount rate on eligible NRC/MRC costs
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
All services listed on one Form 462 (If services provided by same vendor)
Consortium Additional Benefits (at least 51% Eligible HCP’s)
Can include Non-Rural HCPs (limited funding) and Ineligible HCPs (able to purchase at Consortium cost) HCPs
Upfront multi-year payments for IRU’s, leases, equipment (MRC)
Upfront charges for deployment of new or upgraded Facilities (NRC)
HCP Constructed and Owned facilities
Equipment necessary to manage, control, or maintain broadband service or dedicated healthcare health care broadband network
All Consortium participants can be listed on one Form 462 as well as services


We will update this page once we have more information to contribute.
Gary L. Green
MiCTA Consultant
USF E-Rate/Rural Health Care
National Programs
Cell 231-881-6612



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