Through participation as a consortium in the Rural Health Care Program, the Local Public Health Services Collaborative (LPHSC) can offer LHDs in Ohio, both rural and non-rural, significant cost savings for internet and phone services.
The Rural Health Care Program offers reduced rates for telecommunications services and Internet access to eligible healthcare providers. The program has been updated several times by the FCC to encourage greater participation by hospitals and clinics in rural areas. Currently administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC),the program requires rural healthcare providers to submit an annual application to receive funding and is capped at $400 million per year.
Created in December 2012 by the FCC, the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) supports wider access to broadband connectivity and broadband networks for rural healthcare providers. All eligible healthcare providers (HCPs) receive a 65% discount on broadband services, equipment, connections to research and education networks, and HCP construction and owned facilities, provided they are shown to be the most cost-effective solution.
A consortium is two or more health care providers (HCPs) that choose to request support as a single entity. Non-rural eligible HCPs may receive support as part of a consortium consisting of a majority rural HCP sites. In addition, ineligible HCP sites also may participate in a consortium and take advantage of lower contract prices often associated with consortia bulk-buying. The Local Public Health Services Collaborative is organized to serve as this legal entity for Local Health Districts in Ohio.
After organizing the consortium, the application process involves determining the eligibility of the consortium and each HCP member requesting services (competitive bidding), submitting funding requests, coordinating with the service provider(s) to submit invoice(s), and submitting annual reports. Members of the applying consortium and the requested services must both be eligible for support. There are two initial criteria a consortium member must meet to be considered eligible:
In addition, broadband connections associated with off-site data centers and off-site administrative offices that are used by eligible HCPs for their health care purposes are eligible for funding.
Both rural and non-rural entities may receive funding in the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program as members of a consortium, provided that the consortium is comprised of a majority rural (more than 50 percent) sites within three years of the filing date of its first request for funding (FCC Form 462). Find out if an HCP is located in a rural area by using the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program's Eligible Rural Areas Search Tool.
Two important benefits of joining this program through LPHSC:
By comparison, the following price structure is proposed for participation through LPHSC:
No later than March 31, 2019 – submit a 2019 Letter Of Agency, 2019 Internet Capacity Survey, Form 460, and copies of your latest internet contract and monthly bill to the Local Public Health Services Collaborative IN PDF FORMAT at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMPORTANT NOTE: To be eligible to receive funding through this LPHSC bidding process, a LHD must submit their documentation the deadline. The LOA and Form 460 will authorize LPHSC to include an LHD in an application for funding, but does not require the LHD to participate in the program once it has been established. Also,if your current vendor is on the approved list for the consortium, your existing contract can continue, and will be discounted if you choose to be part of the program. If you are a current participant in the LPHSC consortium for this program, you must resubmit the documentation, to authorize LPHSC to represent your LHD for another 3 year period, 2019-2022.