Rural Health Care

HCF Program Applicant Updates

The Rural Health Care (RHC) Program periodically deploys software updates to improve usability and functionality of My Portal, the RHC Program's online application management system.

These updates include features that will expedite the application review process and make form submission faster and easier. Many of the enhancements are based on feedback.

The following updates are applicable to HCF Program account holders.

June 2017

FCC Form 465 Address Validation
The health care provider (HCP) address entered on the first tab of the FCC Form 465 will now be run through address validation software for standardization. If the system finds a potential match to the address entered, a pop up will present this match. The applicant can choose to accept the proposed address, or keep the address that they have entered.

March 2017

FCC Form 463 Pro-Rata Factor
For funding requests submitted in a filing window period where pro-ration has been applied, the pro-rata percentage will display as a column on the FCC Form 463.

Funding Commitment Letter (FCL) Enhancements
Funding Commitment Letters will now be automatically sent when funding requests are committed. Applicants can also now download a copy of their FCLs from the "My Documents" tab within My Portal. In addition, the FCL has been updated to show information about the filing window period and pro-rata factor, if applicable.

January 2017

Forms Enhancements live January 1, 2017
On January 1, 2017, the RHC Program Forms, which expired on December 31, 2016, will be replaced with new OMB-approved forms. These changes will be reflected in My Portal and you will notice minor changes. These new fields promote alignment between the programs, ensuring that the same data is collected, such as a new entry field for your organization’s website and enhanced document uploading capabilities.

These changes will apply to both FY2016 and FY2017 forms. If you started a form in calendar year 2016, the system will automatically pre-populate the new forms with your saved information on January 1, 2017, but you may have to enter additional information for new mandatory fields before submitting.

Please note that we continue to update forms instructions to better align the HCF and Telecom Programs, and will update instructions on both the Forms page on the USAC website and My Portal accordingly. Form instructions or PDF versions of forms that are generated in My Portal to enable applicants to view the data they have entered are for applicants’ reference only, and are not OMB-approved versions of application forms. Forms and instructions posted on the USAC website will be updated in early January to reflect the new forms.

For additional information about specific forms updates for the Telecom and HCF Programs, see the 2017 forms enhancements list.

December 2016

Log-in/Landing Screen: Display Warning to Applicants
A warning with the details about the filing window dates will be displayed in a table format on the landing page. This will help applicants understand why they cannot submit the funding request forms (FCC Form 462s) once the filing window closes.

Pop-up message upon creating an FCC Form 462 (both exempt and non-exempt)
Applicants will see a pop-up message when creating an FCC Form 462 at all times (when a filing window is open as well as closed). This will alert the applicant to be cognizant about the filing window dates and additional details.

Static red text on the "Signature" page when the filing window is closed
Static red text will be displayed on the Signature page of an FCC Form 462 when the filing window is closed, so that it is clear why the form cannot be submitted.

Prevent submission when the filing window is closed
Applicants are prevented from submitting an FCC form 462 when the filing window is closed. They can only submit an FCC Form 462 when a filing window is open. The applicant is allowed to create an FCC Form 462 but will not be allowed to submit it until the filing window opens.

Email Communication Update
All outgoing email messages related to an FCC Form 462 have been enhanced to include more detail in regards to the filing window changes.

August 2016

FCC Form 461 Friendly Name Editable
Applicants are able to modify the friendly name of an FCC Form 461 (Request for Services Form) so that they can more easily keep track of forms. To edit the friendly name, type a new name in the "Friendly Name" column on the "Form 461" tab, and then select the green check mark to save.

Third Party Authorization Upload Enhancement
When a primary account holder adds a tertiary account holder on the "My Account Holders" tab, and selects "Upload" to upload a Third Party Authorization (TPA), a new pop-up will require the primary account holder to enter the effective start and end dates using a calendar date feature. Recording the effective dates will allow applicants and consultants to better manage expiring TPAs.

Improved Validation on FCC Form 462 for Consortia
Consortium applicants that have less than two eligible health care provider (HCP) members will not be able to create an FCC Form 462 (Funding Request Form). The "Create 462" button will be disabled, and a hover-over text will appear explaining that a minimum of two eligible HCPs is required to create a consortium funding request.

Consortium Ineligible Entity Types Displayed
For consortium applicants, the "Entity Type" column for ineligible entities on the "My Consortium" tab will specify whether the HCP is an off-site data center, off-site administrative office, or ineligible site.

Clearer Notifications for FCC Form 461 and Site and Service Substitution Requests
If USAC denies an FCC Form 461 or a site and service substitution request, the denial email notification will display the list of reasons and a note with further explanation.

Network Cost Worksheet for Partial De-Commitment
When USAC processes a partial de-commitment request (e.g., in the case where a service was disconnected mid-funding year), a revised Network Cost Worksheet will be available for download on the "Form 462" tab with the updated information.

New Warning Notifications for Pending Authorizations
New email notifications allow applicants to more easily keep track of deadlines:

  • A third-party consultant may submit an FCC Form 460 (Eligibility and Registration Form) without a Third Party Authorization (TPA) and choose instead to upload a TPA within 15 days. The form submitter will now receive email notifications seven days and two days before the deadline, warning them that the FCC Form 460 will be withdrawn if the TPA is not uploaded in time.
  • When a consortium applicant submits an FCC Form 460 on behalf of a member HCP site, the consortium applicant is required to upload a Letter of Authorization (LOA) or Letter of Exemption (LOE) within 15 days. The primary account holder for the consortium, all secondary account holders for the consortium, and the form submitter will now receive email notifications seven days and two days before the deadline warning that the FCC Form 460 will be withdrawn if an LOA/LOE is not uploaded in time.

Improved Validation on FCC Form 461
On the FCC Form 461, on Line 12b and Line 12c, if an applicant indicates they are requesting services for an off-site data center or off-site administrative office, a new "Edit HCPs" button will appear. When an applicant selects "Edit HCPs," a pop-up box will display allowing the applicant to search for all approved off-site administrative offices or off-site data centers by HCP number or HCP name, and then add them to the form. This enhancement will make it easier for applicants to ensure they are only adding approved off-site administrative offices and off-site data centers to the form.

March 2016

Search Posted Services Tool for Consortia and Individual HCPs Integrated
Stakeholders will be able to search for service requests for both individual HCPs and consortium applicants on the same Search Posted Services Tool. To narrow search results to only individual HCP or consortium postings, select Individual or Consortium from the "Application Type" drop down menu. The search results will show a summary of each HCP whose service request(s) match the search criteria entered, with the option to view additional information. In addition, consortium postings will now display all states in which a consortium's participating entities are located.

New Document Categories on FCC Form 462
On the "Additional Documentation" tab of the FCC Form 462, there are three new categories of documents: "Viable Source Letter (35%)," "List of Evaluators and Titles," and "Award Letter to Vendor." All consortia applicants will be required to upload a viable source letter.

Modification of TPA Upload on FCC Form 460
On the Signature tab of the FCC Form 460, a new check box and instructions have been added in order to make the Third Party Authorization (TPA) requirement clearer. For forms where a TPA is required, applicants are required to either upload a TPA, or check a box certifying that they will upload a TPA applying to this FCC Form 460 within the next 15 days.

Site Name and FCC Registration Number Editable on FCC Form 460
Applicants can now modify Line 4 Site Name and Line 6 FCC Registration Number on all versions of FCC Forms 460.

Withdraw Date Display for FCC Form 460 for Consortia Member Sites 
Consortium project coordinators who file FCC Forms 460 for member sites are required to submit a Letter of Agency (LOA) within 15 days of submission, otherwise the FCC Form 460 will be withdrawn. The FCC Form 460 withdrawal date will now display on the "My Consortium" tab in the "Sites pending LOA attachment" section next to the HCP Name.

Consortium HCP Number Available on Consortium FCC Form 462
Consortium applicants may now select the consortium HCP number for an eligible expense on the FCC Form 462. When the consortium HCP is selected for an expense type, Line J "Category of Expense," and Line K "Expense Type," will be restricted to categories where the consortium is eligible to receive funding. A cost allocation document is required on the "Additional Documentation" tab for all FCC Forms 462 that list the consortium HCP number on an expense item.

RFP Required When Competitively Bidding for Infrastructure/Outside Plant Services
Consistent with the HCF Program Order , applicants competitively bidding for services in the Infrastructure/Outside Plant category of expenses will now be required to upload a Request for Proposal (RFP) on their FCC Form 461.

December 2015

FCC Form 498 (Formerly Known as SPIN) Term Change
A revised version of the FCC Form 498, Service Provider and Billed Entity Identification Number and General Contact Information Form, is now available. With this revision, the term "Service Provider Identification Number," or "SPIN," has changed to "498 ID." All instances of the term "SPIN" in My Portal have been replaced by "SPIN/498 ID." For further explanation of this term change, see the Changes to SPIN page.

Rural Areas Update
Some program participants that were previously determined to be rural are now considered non-rural as a result of the FCC's Rural Areas List Order. For HCPs whose rurality status has changed, a pop-up warning message informing the applicant that the HCP is considered non-rural and the form may be denied will display when the applicant selects the "Form 460 Revision" button. HCPs that are considered non-rural will be restricted from submitting new FCC Forms 461 and FCC Forms 462 based on their eligibility end date. For additional information, see the rurality change page.

Email Communication Update
All outgoing email messages have been enhanced to include more detail, improved instructions, and next steps.

New Line on FCC Form 462
Applicants can now indicate that they are continuing service with their current service provider to streamline processing. On the "Competitive Bidding" tab of the FCC Form 462, an additional Line 7a has been added that reads "Are you continuing service with your current service provider?" with a radio button to select "Yes" or "No."

Enhancements to Commitments Search Tool
The HCF Program Funding Commitments Search Tool has been enhanced:

  • The tool now has "Export All" and "Export Selected" buttons that will download commitment data into an Excel file, so stakeholders can view, sort, and filter data in Excel.
  • There is a new "Funding Type" search criteria and column, which will indicate if commitments are for individual HCP or consortium applicants.

Site and Service Substitution Resources
The "Form 462" tab now provides links that will open the site and service substitution video tutorial and guide, in a new window or tab, so that applicants can follow along with instructions without navigating out of My Portal.

FCC Form 460 Site Contact Enhancements
When an applicant enters a site contact on the FCC Form 460 Block 2, Lines 7 through 15, that is already listed as a site contact on another FCC Form 460, a pop-up will appear asking the applicant to confirm that the site contact is physically located at multiple sites, with "Confirm" and "Deny" options. If the applicant selects "Confirm," to confirm that the site contact is physically located at multiple sites, the applicant can proceed and submit the form. This information will eliminate the need for individual requests from USAC for confirmation during the review process, and decrease form processing time. If the applicant selects "Deny," to deny that the site contact is physically located at multiple sites, the site contact information entered will be cleared, and the applicant must enter a new site contact to proceed with the form.

Enhancement to "My Consortia" Tab
When an applicant submits an FCC Form 460 for a new consortium, the "My Consortia" tab will now display the HCP number, HCP name, and address of the newly submitted consortium with the account holder type as "requested," so applicants can see FCC Forms 460 for new consortia that are pending review.

Improved Validation on FCC Form 460 for Consortia
When creating an FCC Form 460 for a consortium, all required fields are now clearly marked with a red asterisk and an error message will display if any required fields are left blank.