Rural Health Care Provider Reimbursement Method Election-FCC Form 498
Federal Communications Commission
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500445 12th St., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
Released: August 19, 2013
WIRELINE COMPETITION BUREAU ANNOUNCES THAT RURAL HEALTH CARE
PROGRAM SERVICE PROVIDERS MAY ELECT THEIR PREFERRED METHOD OF
WC Docket No. 02-60The Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) announces the availability of the revised FCC Form
498, which enables service providers in any of the Commission's Rural Health Care (RHC) universal
service support programs to choose their preferred method of reimbursement for services they provide to
health care providers ("HCPs"). Service providers may now select their preferred method of
reimbursement using the new FCC Form 498.
In December 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) created the newest
RHC program, the Healthcare Connect Fund.1 The Commission also amended reimbursement rules for
service providers participating in any RHC program (including the existing Telecommunications and
Internet Access programs) to allow such providers to elect on the FCC Form 498 whether they want to
receive reimbursement directly or as an offset to their federal universal service fund (USF) contribution
requirement.2 The FCC Form 498 is the form by which service providers obtain a service provider
identification number (SPIN), and by which service providers can now elect their method of
reimbursement in the RHC program. In amending the RHC reimbursement rules, the Commission
acknowledged that Form 498 would have to be revised, and such revision approved by the Office of
Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act, before service providers could
make their reimbursement elections.3
FCC Form 498 has been approved by OMB and is now available on the website of the USF
Administrator, the Universal Service Administrative Company, located at
1 Rural Health Care Support Mechanism, WC Docket No. 02-60, Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 16678 (2012)
("Healthcare Connect Fund Order").
2 Id. at 16824-26, paras. 369-74; 47 C.F.R. 54.679 (2013). Prior to this rule amendment, service providers were
required to receive reimbursement for services they provided to HCPs in the RHC program as an offset to their
universal service obligation. See Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, CC Docket No. 96-45, Report and
Order, 12 FCC Rcd 8776, 9154-55, para. 734 (1997); 47 C.F.R. 54.611 (2012). In amending this RHC program
reimbursement rule, the Commission recognized a few shortcomings of the offset requirement, including its effect
on some small, rural HCPs and their service providers. Healthcare Connect Fund Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16825-26,
3 Healthcare Connect Fund Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 16826, para. 374.
http://www.usac.org/cont/tools/forms/default.aspx.4 By default, current service providers will
automatically receive reimbursement as an offset to their USF contribution requirement unless they
change their method of reimbursement by unchecking Box 122, Block 14 on the FCC Form 498. Service
providers newly participating in the RHC program can choose their method of reimbursement when they
file their FCC Form 498 for the first time. By default, new service providers will automatically receive
direct reimbursement unless they have elected on the FCC Form 498 to receive reimbursement as an
offset to their USF obligation.
For further information, please contact Christianna Barnhart, Telecommunications Access Policy
Division, Wireline Competition Bureau at (202) 418-1372, TTY (202) 418-0484, or
4 Rural Health Care Support Mechanism, 78 Fed. Reg. 38,606, 38,607 (Jun. 27, 2013).