The purpose of the consortium is for the benefit of both rural and urban non-profit healthcare sites to receive the subsidy. In 2012, the FCC started allowing consortiums as long as 50% plus one sites in the consortium are rural. Rural healthcare naturally has connectivity to urban sites for the sharing of knowledge and services.
Completion of all federal forms, on average, takes 3-4 months. The actual length of time the process takes depends on many factors to include:
the size of your healthcare organization,
the involvement of the healthcare site staff in getting us the information needed to file the various paperwork with the FCC/ USAC,
the time it takes for the FCC/ USAC to approve the necessary paperwork,
the responsiveness of vendors to the Request For Proposal (RFP), and
the Filing Windows imposed by the FCC/ USAC.
Yes, in a Consortium it is necessary; however, we have experts on staff who will write the RFP for the healthcare site. Once complete, the healthcare site reviews and approves the RFP. It then goes out to bid for a minimum of 28 days. RFPs are necessary for either services (WAN, Internet, Voice) or edge network equipment (routers, switches, firewalls).
No, we cannot. It is the sole responsibility of the healthcare site, through the RFP process, to choose the vendor or vendors of their choice based on five criteria. We simply manage the RFP process for the healthcare site. Once the RFP process is complete, the healthcare site continues to manage the relationship with the vendor or vendors.
You are correct—you could do it yourself. That being said, we hear time and time again from healthcare sites that they tried and were unsuccessful. It is not an easy process for just anyone to succeed at. We are experts at the process and have a proven track record of applying for and receiving subsidy for healthcare sites across the country. Additionally, we not only apply for the subsidy, but we also continue to get the subsidy monthly for the healthcare site, which is a lengthy and challenging process in itself.
Yes. We have references from across the country and are happy to share them with you.