USAC Announces that Qualifying Rural Health Care Program Applicants Will Not Receive Full Funding
After a comprehensive review of funding request forms (FCC Forms 462 and 466) received during the second filing window period for FY2016 (i.e., September 1 – November 30, 2016), USAC will begin issuing funding commitment letters (FCLs) on April 10, based on the total dollar value of all qualifying funding requests received during the September – November 2016 filing window period. The total dollar value of all qualifying funding requests received during this filing window period was $274,725,249. Because this amount exceeds the RHC Program funding available of $254,255,017 at the beginning of the September – November filing window period, funding requests submitted during the September – November filing window period will receive a pro-rated percentage of the qualifying funding requested. The pro-rata percentage for the FY2016 September – November filing window period is 92.5% (reduction of 7.5%) for the qualifying funding requests. The exact amount of funding each qualifying funding request will receive will be detailed in the FCLs.
John Windhausen, the Executive Director of the Schools, Healthcare and Libraries Broadband Coalition, said, “The SHLB Coalition appreciates the difficult position faced by USAC, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and applicants in the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program. For the first time, demand for RHC program funding in FY 2016 has exceeded the $400 Million cap, and as a result, several rural telehealth providers will suffer reductions in funding. Unfortunately, this will mean that many rural health centers will be forced to pay more to maintain their existing telemedicine connections, and some of these clinics may be forced off the network altogether, which jeopardizes the quality of health care delivered to rural America. This funding crisis points to the need for comprehensive reform of the RHC program, which the SHLB Coalition requested in its Petition for Rulemaking filed in December 2015. The RHC program is the only one of the four Universal Service Fund programs that has not been fully reformed, and we urge the FCC to move forward to upgrade this program as soon as possible.”
USAC Announces that Qualifying Rural Health Care Program Applicants Will Not Receive Full Funding Statement (SHLB)