FCC Rural Health Care Programs
- Comprised of two programs: The Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) and the Telecommunications Program. The HCF was established in 2012 to provide high-capacity broadband support to eligible healthcare providers and promote the establishment of regional and state broadband healthcare provider networks. HCF provides a 65% discount on broadband services, equipment, connections to research and education network and requires a 35% healthcare provider contribution. The Telecommunications program was established in 1977 to subsidize the difference between urban and rural rates for telecom services.
- Eligible participants:
- 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 consortia of the above
- Non-rural HCPs may participate in Healthcare Connect Fund if they belong to a consortium that has a majority of rural HCPs, however, only those non-rural HCPs that fit into one of the eligible categories listed above can receive support from the HCFF. Other non-rural HCPs may participate in HCFF-consortia and benefit from consortia rates that offered by service providers or equipment vendors, but such HCPs are not eligible for HCFF support
- The largest HCPs (400 + patient beds) are eligible, but support is capped if non-rural
- Funding Cap
- Cap on total funding for FCC Rural Health Care Programs, including Healthcare Connect Fund, is $400 million annually.
- Cap for upfront payments in Healthcare Connect Fund is $150 million annually.