Healthcare Providers Gain Certainty from Funding Increases, Rollover in FCC Order

TeleQuality CEO Commends Federal Communications Commission on Swift, Decisive Action to Increase Rural Health Care Program Funding Support

 

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (June 26, 2018) - On June 19, 2018 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously adopted a Report and Order in the Promoting Telehealth in Rural America Docket. The Report and Order was released June 25, 2018, and increases the Rural Health Care (RHC) program cap from $400 million to $571 million, effective for Funding Year 2017. It also implements a carryover mechanism for unused funds and indexes the program cap to inflation moving forward.

The following statement can be attributed to Tim Koxlien, CEO of TeleQuality Communications:

“We commend the FCC’s swift and decisive action to preserve the guiding principles of Universal Service, namely that it should be specific, predictable, and sufficient. The Rural Health Care program has not kept pace with the combined impacts of decades’ worth of inflation, increased demand for eligible services that implement electronic health records to support modern healthcare, and the addition of more eligible health care providers competing for the same level of program funding.

As we pointed out in our Comments to the Promoting Telehealth in Rural America Docket, which the FCC directly cited in its recent Report and Order, pressure on the RHC program cap is ‘the result of the realities and needs of the provision of modern healthcare and the increased broadband capabilities that are required to implement essential technological advances.’

With this unanimous, bipartisan decision, the Commissioners have taken a strong first step toward easing that pressure and modernizing the Rural Health Care program as a whole. We expect further positive reforms to the RHC program in the coming months, and reiterate our support of the Commission’s effort to simplify and update the program while also strengthening controls against any waste, fraud, or abuse in this critical Universal Service funding program.

I cannot overstate the importance of this decision and the positive impact it has on rural healthcare providers, who have been struggling to reconcile their overall budgets with the necessary telecommunications services required to operate in the current healthcare environment, especially when faced with massive prorations of RHC funding. By increasing the program cap and making it effective for both current and future funding years, the Commission has signaled loud and clear that it heard the stories of pain and suffering echoed by so many providers of patient care across America.

On behalf of every healthcare provider participating in the Rural Health Care program, we again extend our gratitude to Chairman Pai and Commissioners O’Rielly, Carr, and Rosenworcel for their continued leadership and support in assisting healthcare providers afford the tools they need to provide the best health care they can to the communities they serve.”

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About TeleQuality Communications

TeleQuality Communications (TeleQuality) provides healthcare organizations with cost-effective and tailored network and communication solutions supported by exceptional customer care. In 2018, TeleQuality and Education Networks of America, a leading provider of transformative technology solutions to education and library communities, joined forces to help bring critical connectivity and communication services to America’s community anchor institutions. For more information, please visit www.telequality.com, call 210-408-0388, or email solutions@telequality.com.