On June 6, 2018, Chairman Pai circulated a draft Order proposing an increase in funding for the Rural Health Care Program by $171M, bringing total annual funding to $571M. Yesterday, the FCC announced that the draft Order received majority support by the other Commissioners.
Karen Lee, the current VP of the Rural Healthcare Program will be departing USAC to pursue other opportuntities. Mark Sweeney, the current Chief Administrative Offier at USAC will be stepping into that role, effective Monday, June 18, 2018.
The slow-motion crisis in the FCC’s Rural Health Care Universal Service Support Program (RHC) has continued to unfold this Spring. With funding requests for Funding Year 2018 due by June 29, 2018, healthcare providers are down to the last few days when it is even theoretically possible to file a Form 461 or 465 request for supported services.
After almost two decades of operating outside of the U.S. Treasury, FCC Chairman Pai is turning the Universal Service Fund (“USF”) funds collected and administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (“USAC”) over to the U.S. Treasury, thereby, cementing the universal service fees collected on American’s phone bills as federal funds.
On April 12, 2018, Representatives Cramer and Peterson introduced HR 5497 directing the Federal Communications Commission to establish an Office of Rural Telecommunications at the FCC to collect data and provide resources to rural communities across America.