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Grants to USA Healthcare Providers to Meet Broadband
and Connectivity Needs in Rural Areas

Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) - Rural Health Care (RHC) Program

Conf. Date:

03/09/22

Deadline Date:

04/01/22 11:59 PM ET

Description:

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Grants to USA nonprofit and public rural healthcare providers to improve internet connectivity and enhance the delivery of services. Funding is intended to increase the efficiency of health-related facilities that are located in rural areas by increasing broadband capabilities and upgrading network equipment, services, and facilities. Projects may include designing or constructing a new network or building upon an existing network.

The Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program provides a 65% discount on eligible broadband connectivity expenses for eligible rural health care providers (HCPs).

Broadband connections to off-site data centers and administrative offices used by a facility for healthcare purposes are eligible for funding.  Subject to certain restrictions, support may also be provided for connections used by eligible HCPs:

  1. Between eligible HCP sites and off-site data centers or off-site administrative offices,
  2. Between two off-site data centers,
  3. Between two off-site administrative offices,
  4. Between an off-site data center and the public Internet or another network, and
  5. Between an off-site administrative office and an off-site data center or the public Internet or another network.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 154159

Estimated Size of Grant:

The Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program provides a 65% discount on eligible broadband connectivity expenses.

Term of Contract:

FY2022: July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023

The invoicing Deadline (Form 463) will be October 28, 2023.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program provides a discount on eligible broadband connectivity expenses for eligible rural health care providers (HCPs). You can apply as an individual health care provider or as a consortium, i.e., a group of HCPs that can be both rural and non-rural.

To be eligible, your health care site must meet all of the following criteria:
1. Must be a public or nonprofit entity
2. Must be one of the following types of facilities:
- A post-secondary educational institution offering healthcare instruction, such as teaching hospitals or medical schools,
- A community health center or health center providing healthcare to migrants,
- A local health department or agency,
- A community mental health center,
- A not-for-profit hospital,
- A rural health clinic,
- A dedicated emergency room of a rural for-profit hospital
- A skilled nursing facility (SNF), or
- A consortium of health care providers (HCPs) that includes at least one of the facilities mentioned in (a) through (h).
3. Must be in a rural location as defined by the FCC. If your site is not located in a rural area, it still may be eligible to apply to the HCF program as part of a consortium.

Applying as part of a consortium or group:
A consortium is a group of health care sites that apply as one entity. Each consortium has one consortium leader who files the required forms on behalf of everyone in the group. Each facility in the consortium must meet the first two eligibility criteria, i.e., be public or non-profit and one of the eligible facility types. Both rural and non-rural health care facilities can receive funding as members of a consortium as long as more than 50% of the consortium’s members are rural sites. For further information about forming and applying as a consortium, see https://www.usac.org/rural-health-care/healthcare-connect-fund-program/what-is-a-consortium/.

Pre-proposal Conference:

HCF Office Hours Webinar - March 9, 2022

Join the RHC Outreach team for an Office Hours webinar. During Office Hours webinars, subject matter experts are available to answer live questions from program participants. The focus will be on the HCF Program, including program updates and information about the My Portal Platform Update for the FCC Form 462 for FY2022.

To register and for more information: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7789501541871644175

Pre-Application Information:

Funding year (FY) 2022 will take place from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023. For FY2022, applicants can begin the competitive bidding process as early as July 1, 2021. The filing window period for FY2022 will take place from December 1, 2021 – April 1, 2022. This means that you must submit your funding requests ( Form 462) as early as December 1, 2021 and no later than 11:59 p.m. ET April 1, 2022 for the initial filing window period. You are highly encouraged to submit your application forms as early as possible in the filing window period.

All Rural Health Care program forms and supporting documentation must be submitted to USAC by filing online through the application management system My Portal.

Process:

- Step 1: Determine Eligibility
Find out if you are eligible to receive HCF Program funding by completing the FCC Form 460 (Eligibility and Registration Form).
For further information, see https://www.usac.org/rural-health-care/healthcare-connect-fund-program/step-1-determine-eligibility-of-your-site/

- Step 2: Develop Evaluation Criteria and Request Services
Identify the services you need and develop the evaluation criteria that you will use to assess service provider bids with the FCC Form 461 (Request for Services Form).
See: https://www.usac.org/rural-health-care/healthcare-connect-fund-program/step-2-develop-evaluation-criteria-select-services/

- Step 3: Evaluate Bids and Select a Service Provider
Choose the most cost-effective service provider from the bids you received.
See: https://www.usac.org/rural-health-care/healthcare-connect-fund-program/step-3-evaluate-bids-select-service-provider/

- Step 4: Submit Your Funding Request
Provide USAC with information and supporting documentation about the services and service provider you selected and how much funding you are requesting with the FCC Form 462 (Funding Request Form).
See: https://www.usac.org/rural-health-care/healthcare-connect-fund-program/step-4-submit-funding-requests/

- Step 5: Review Funding Commitment Letter
Once your funding request is approved, you will receive a funding commitment letter with information about the support you will receive. Review your letter for accuracy.
See: https://www.usac.org/rural-health-care/healthcare-connect-fund-program/step-5-review-your-funding-commitment-letter-fcl/

- Step 6: Invoice
With your service provider, invoice USAC by submitting the FCC Form 463 (Invoice and Request for Disbursement Form).
See: https://www.usac.org/rural-health-care/healthcare-connect-fund-program/step-6-invoice-usac/

For application instructions and to access related forms, see: https://www.usac.org/rural-health-care/resources/my-portal/

For HCF forms, see https://www.usac.org/rural-health-care/resources/forms/.

Funding Year Overview: https://www.usac.org/rural-health-care/additional-program-guidance/funding-year-overview/

Faqs: https://www.usac.org/rural-health-care/learn/faqs/healthcare-connect-fund-program/

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online: https://forms.universalservice.org/portal/login

For assistance, contact:
RHC Help Desk
RHC-Assist@usac.org
(800) 453-1546

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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