The Rural Healthcare Program supports healthcare facilities in bringing world class medical care to rural areas through increased telecommunication connectivity.
The Rural Health Care Program, provides funding to eligible health care providers for telecommunications and broadband services necessary for the provision of health care. Eligible health care providers include: (1) post-secondary educational institutions offering health care instruction, teaching hospitals, and medical schools; (2) community health centers or health centers providing health care to migrants; (3) local health departments or agencies; (4) community mental health centers; (5) not-for-profit hospitals; (6) rural health clinics; (7) skilled nursing facilities (as defined in section 395i–3(a) of title 42 and (8) consortium of health care providers consisting of one or more entities falling into the first seven categories. In addition, eligible health care providers must be non-profit or public. The goal of the program is to improve the quality of health care available to patients in rural communities by ensuring that eligible health care providers have access to telecommunications and broadband services. As of funding year 2017 (which ran from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018), funding for the Rural Health Care Program is capped at $571 million annually, adjusted for inflation.
The Rural Health Care Program is currently made up of two programs: the Healthcare Connect Fund Program and the Telecommunications Program. The Healthcare Connect Fund Program, established in 2012, provides support for high-capacity broadband connectivity to eligible health care providers and encourages the formation of state and regional broadband health care provider networks. Under the Rural Health Care Program, eligible rural health care providers, and those eligible non-rural health care providers that are members of a consortium that has more than 50 percent rural health care provider sites, receive a 65 percent flat discount on an array of communications services. These services include internet access, dark fiber, business data, traditional digital service line (DSL), and private carriage services.
The RHP funds two types of services:
- Voice and Data – If you need voice and other telecommunications services, you may be eligible for funding through the telecommunications program.
- Broadband – If you need broadband services, network equipments, etc, you may be eligible for funding through the healthcare connect fund (HCF) Program. Healthcare providers (HCPs) can receive a flat rate discount of 65% on eligible expenses.
SpectraCorp’s expert consultant services focuses on the RHP’s Broadband services available through the Healthcare Connect Fund.