Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

Healthcare Connect Fund Fact Sheet

Download Options

Released: February 25, 2013

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.

Funding Caps

 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:">">connect-order
 FCC website">,
 Universal Service Administrative Co. (USAC) website">,
 FCC RHC Pilot Program Map">,">program
 FCC RHC Pilot Program – Selected Participants,">

For More Information

Contact USAC at 1-800-453-1546 or at

February 2013

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.


You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.