Healthcare Connect Fund
On December 12, 2012 the FCC created the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCCF) to
expand access by health care providers to robust broadband networks. Building on
lessons learned from 50 Pilot projects testing how to most effectively use broadband to
improve the quality and reduce costs of health care in rural areas, the HCCF reforms
modernize the FCC’s existing universal service Rural Health Care Program to expand
the benefits of telemedicine nationwide.
Goals of Healthcare Connect Fund
Increase access to broadband for health care providers (HCPs), especially those
serving rural areas
Foster development and deployment of broadband health care networks
Maximize cost-effectiveness of the FCC’s universal service health care program
Health Care Benefits for Consumers
Access by rural HCPs to medical specialists at larger HCPs through telemedicine
Enhanced exchange of electronic health records and coordination of patient care
Remote training of medical personnel
Improved quality and lower cost of health care
Key Features of New Healthcare Connect Fund
Supports broadband connectivity and broadband networks for HCPs
Encourages use of consortium to save costs, expand access to health care resources
Provides 65% discount on broadband services, equipment, connections to research
and education networks, HCP-constructed and owned facilities if shown to be the
most cost-effective option
Requires a 35% HCP contribution
Funding begins January 1, 2014 (July 1, 2013, for existing Pilot projects)
Who is eligible to participate?
Public or not-for-profit hospitals, rural health clinics, community health centers,
health centers serving migrants, community mental health centers, local health
departments or agencies, post-secondary educational institutions/teaching
hospitals/medical schools, or a consortia of the above
Non-rural HCPs may participate in Healthcare Connect Fund if they belong to a
consortium that has a majority rural HCPs
The largest HCPs (400 + patient beds) are eligible, but support is capped if non-rural.
Skilled Nursing Facilities Pilot Program
New Pilot will test how to support broadband connections for skilled nursing facilities.
Pilot will get underway in 2014.
Funding will be up to $50 million total over a three-year period.
Cap on total funding for FCC Rural Health Care Programs, including Healthcare
Connect Fund and Skilled Nursing Facilities Pilot, is $400 million annually.
Cap for upfront payments in Healthcare Connect Fund is $150 million annually.
Healthcare Connect Fund order: http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-releases-healthcare-connect-order
Universal Service Administrative Co. (USAC) websitehttp://www.usac.org/rhc
FCC RHC Pilot Program Maphttp://www.fcc.gov/maps/rural-health-care-pilot-program
FCC RHC Pilot Program – Selected Participants,
For More Information
Contact USAC at 1-800-453-1546 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.