As we enjoy this holiday season, I trust this communication finds you, your family, and your colleagues healthy and safe. As you continue to support healthcare delivery in your community, the Connections Telehealth Consortium (CTC) stands with you to capture Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) subsidies to support your telehealth networks at your various facilities and clinics. In total, CTC is obtaining subsidized services and circuits for over 980 healthcare sites in 9 states across the country. Over the past three years (7/1 to 6/30, 2020, 2021, 2022) on behalf of those 980 sites, CTC has submitted several hundred applications for funding and has captured nearly $10,000,000 in subsidies!!
Jim Rogers, President of Health Connect Networks (HCN) (the managing agent for CTC) and his team have developed the expertise, knowledge, experience, and effective administrative procedures to successfully navigate the Healthcare Connect Fund rules and regulations. The technical know-how of crafting, communicating, and managing request for proposals (RFPs) takes a balance of efficiency, organization, and technical expertise. The HCN Team has crafted a suite of proprietary scoring and analytic database tools that enable CTC to find the greatest value, lowest cost, and highest return on your IT investment. The process starts with getting a healthcare site certified as eligible to participate in the HCF (Form 460). Once eligibility is confirmed, then an open, public, competitive, and rigorous bidding process must be conducted as required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which established the fund. HCN staff work with each site to determine needs, specifications, and requirements that are then integrated into an HCF required and approved RFP format (Form461), including detailed proposal scoring criteria. That RFP will be posted on the Universal Services Administrative Company (USAC, the FCC designated HCF administrator) public website for a minimum of 28 days. Once the bidding period closes, staff then assist the healthcare site in analyzing the responses and scoring them in compliance with the published criteria. Each site makes the final decision on which vendor is finally selected. Once a vendor has been selected, a contract for services, equipment, and/or circuits can be executed. With a contract in hand, a detailed funding application (Form 462) can be prepared and submitted to USAC for review. That submission must include all responses to the RFP, an analysis of the responses, and a report documenting the scoring criteria results. Once submitted, it can take several months for USAC to complete its review. During that time, it is common for USAC to issue information requests, often several for each submission. The requests are known as “14-day letters since a response to the request must be filed within 14 calendar days!
After all of that activity, the reward is the receipt of a Funding Commitment Letter (FCL) notifying CTC which services, equipment or circuits have been approved for funding and the amount of that funding. The CTC/HCN staff have an impressive record that exceeds 99% of submitted applications being approved!! That is no small accomplishment and is the direct result of their expertise in technology and telecommunications, extensive knowledge of the FCC/USAC regulations, and deep experience in executing all aspects of the administrative processes. For the uninitiated, the process can be an administrative nightmare. CTC and HCN are very proud and pleased to play a small part in helping healthcare providers obtain cost-effective telecommunications services, equipment, and circuits.
On a positive note, eighty-three (83) FY2022 (July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023) funding applications were approved. Those approved applications captured $2,140,910 in subsidies for health care providers. To date, 53 FY2023 (July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024) funding applications have been approved. We are awaiting approval on an additional 41.
Finally, I would note that the CTC Board members continue to be very involved. Please be sure to thank them for their expertise, guidance, and service; Red Hutchinson, retired, LRG Healthcare, NH; David Valcik, retired, Northern Light Health, ME; Rick Cowan, Northern Light Health, ME; and Tim Smith, retired, ME. They continue to dedicate their time and energy to CTC, to secure and maintain subsidized services and equipment for healthcare sites.
My thanks to all of you who have continued to support our efforts. Please don’t hesitate to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-941-1040) or any member of the Board of Directors should you have questions.