Is your organization a Community Health Center, Community Mental Health Center, Skilled Nursing Facility, Post-Secondary Learning Institution, Local Health Department, Rural Health Clinic, Non-profit Hospital, or For-profit Hospital with a dedicated Emergency Room?
If so, then your organization may be eligible to obtain funds for your expenses related to Internet connectivity (broadband) and telecommunications from the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Healthcare Connect Fund.
What is the Healthcare Connect Fund?
The Healthcare Connect Fund provides reimbursements and in some cases advanced payments for broadband and telecommunication expenses for those who are eligible and submit proper requests before the program’s $400 million runs out each year. The Healthcare Connect Fund isn’t a loan or a grant application.
Healthcare Connect Fund reimbursements are uninhibited; organizations can use them for any business needs.
How do eligible organizations participate in the Healthcare Connect Fund?
There are usually one to two annual funding application windows for eligible healthcare provider types. During that time, the FCC-approved CommunityHealth IT Consortium (CRN# 38493) submits the eligibility documents to the FCC on behalf of the healthcare organizations for which it recoups funds.
Once the healthcare organization is officially deemed eligible, CommunityHealth IT then recoups funds for it. The recouped funds show up as credits on the SNF’s broadband or telecom provider invoices.
CommunityHealth IT ensures that the credits are provided to the organization for which CommunityHealth IT recoups funds. To help the organization’s financial department coordinate the recouped funds, CommunityHealth IT gives each organization a heads up when the funds will show up on a given invoice.
For ALL institutions or organizations that have been deemed eligible for this program through a CommunityHealth IT submission, CommunityHealth IT has been successful in recouping funds for them. CommunityHealth IT has a 100% distribution rate for the recouped funds.
How is eligibility determined?
In 1996, Congress directed the Commission to provide support to qualifying rural healthcare providers for critical communications services and limited the types of eligible healthcare providers to those listed in section 254(h)(7)(B). SNFs were not previously listed in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The new law that became effective Jan 1, 2017 amends the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to include SNFs amongst the list of eligible healthcare providers.
How does my organization start the process?
To initiate the FCC’s official eligibility determination, four brief agreements must be signed by organizations that want to receive reimbursements. CommunityHealth IT will help answer any questions that your legal team will have about the agreements and can start helping you through the Healthcare Connect Fund Program process as soon as the four agreements are signed.
The four agreements are:
- USAC-approved Letter of Agency* (required by FCC for us to start process to get you broadband/telecom reimbursements for you)
- Third party USAC-approved authorization (required by FCC for us to start process to get you broadband/telecom reimbursements for you; it allows us to communicate with your broadband and telecom providers to get the supporting documentation needed for your application to the FCC Program)
- CommunityHealth IT:G2 Agreement (short agreement that explains what the Consortium does for you)
- Standard G2 Letter of Agency (very short message that tells your broadband/telecom service providers to work with us to get documents we need for FCC)
* The USAC-approved Letter of Agency requires that each of your sites are listed (USAC is the company that the FCC commissioned to administer this federal funding program.) CommunityHealth IT can help you develop that list.
CommunityHealth IT is happy to set-up a time where we can go through a brief presentation with you and your colleagues to explain the full program.
Complete the Contact Us form, select “Recoup IT costs” and we will be in touch with you soon.