Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC)
Rural Health Care (RHC) Program
Due date
June 1, 2022
Broadband Healthcare Information Technologies Infrastructure
Project funding
Program provides a 65% discount on eligible expenses related to broadband connectivity to both individual rural health care providers (HCPs) and consortia;
Program funding
Funding for the Rural Health Care Program is capped at $400 million annually.
Funding size
$5M to $25M Project Dependent

Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF)

RFP Summary provided by the agency

The Rural Health Care (RHC) Program supports health care facilities in bringing world class medical care to rural areas through increased connectivity. It supports reduced rates for broadband and telecom services. There are two subprograms in the RHC Program: the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program and the Telecommunications (Telecom) Program.

The Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program is a component program of the FCC’s Rural Health Care Program. It provides funding to eligible healthcare providers for eligible expenses related to advanced telecommunications and information services necessary for the provision of healthcare. An eligible healthcare provider can apply individually or through a consortium.

Examples of eligible products and services include broadband services, network equipment, and HCP-constructed and owned network facilities.

What is the mission and focus of the program: research, social, economic or others?

Healthcare IT and connectivity

The Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program provides a 65% discount on eligible broadband connectivity expenses for eligible rural health care providers (HCPs). You can apply as an individual health care provider or as a consortium, i.e., a group of HCPs that can be both rural and non-rural.

How do you submit to this opportunity?

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

Find out if you are eligible to receive HCF Program funding by completing the FCC Form 460 (Eligibility and Registration Form).

Step 2: Develop Evaluation Criteria and Request Services

Identify the services you need and develop the evaluation criteria that you will use to assess service provider bids with the FCC Form 461 (Request for Services Form).

Step 3: Evaluate Bids and Select a Service Provider

Choose the most cost-effective service provider from the bids you received.

Step 4: Submit Your Funding Request

Provide USAC with information and supporting documentation about the services and service provider you selected and how much funding you are requesting with the FCC Form 462 (Funding Request Form).

Step 5: Review Funding Commitment Letter

Once your funding request is approved, you will receive a funding commitment letter with information about the support you will receive. Review your letter for accuracy.

Step 6: Invoice

With your service provider, invoice USAC by submitting the FCC Form 463 (Invoice and Request for Disbursement Form).

All forms can be accessed by logging in to My Portal, the RHC Program’s online application management system.

Who are the target applicants: cities, universities, companies, small business, nonprofits, or others?

A healthcare provider must meet the following criteria to be eligible:

  1. Must fall under one of the healthcare provider categories listed below:
    • Post-secondary educational institutions offering healthcare instruction, including teaching hospitals and medical schools
    • Community health centers and health centers providing healthcare to migrants
    • Local health departments and agencies
    • Community mental health centers
    • Nonprofit hospitals
    • Rural health clinics, including mobile clinics and dedicated emergency departments in rural for-profit hospitals
    • Skilled nursing facilities
    • A consortium of healthcare providers consisting of one or more entities described above
  2. Must be a public or nonprofit entity
  3. Must be located in a rural area if applying as an individual healthcare provider. A healthcare provider located in a non-rural area may apply only if it participates in a majority-rural consortium

Example project(s) summaries from past RFPs:

Adirondack-Champlain Telemedicine Information Network (New York)
A new fiber optic telemedicine network, connected to Internet2, will connect approximately eight health care facilities in Northeastern New York. The new network will enable real-time consultations, sharing of medical image files, and distance education. Maximum support: $7,648,304.

(ii) Example project(s) summaries from past RFPs:

Alabama Pediatric Health Access Network
A new network, connected to Internet2 at speeds ranging from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps, will connect a specialized pediatric emergency department to emergency departments at rural hospitals, as an initial step toward linking all emergency departments statewide. Four facilities were connected initially. Maximum support: $420,316.

(iii) Example project(s) summaries from past RFPs:

Albemarle Network Telemedicine Initiative (North Carolina)
A new network will provide secured information exchange across approximately 65 facilities, enabling computerized physician orders for medical procedures, discharges, transfers, and referrals. Maximum support: $1,583,076.

(iv) Example project(s) summaries from past RFPs:

Palmetto State Providers Network (South Carolina)
Four rural and underserved regions are connected to a fiber optic backbone being developed in the state and Internet2. The network will connect approximately 58 facilities at speeds ranging from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps. Maximum support: $7,944,950.

Other required documents/forms

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