CHC Consulting Maximizes Telecom Funding for Rural Healthcare Providers

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The federal government recently made an additional $25 million available to assist eligible hospitals with the escalating cost of telecom services. Are you taking advantage of these funds?

Since the mid-90s, federal funding for healthcare telecom services has been made available through the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), an independent not-for-profit designated by the FCC. USAC funding enables qualifying rural healthcare providers or urban hospitals that serve remote areas, to reduce their net telecom costs.

USAC funding has benefited healthcare organizations in providing telehealth services and broadband patient connectivity in areas where many residents have little or no electronic access to hospitals, clinics and other healthcare providers and services.

CHC Consulting Helps Hospitals Cut Costs, Achieve Telecom Savings

Community Hospital Corporation (CHC) has played an important role in helping healthcare providers receive funding through the program. CHC Consulting, the management and consulting arm of CHC, has worked closely with healthcare organizations in successfully navigating the program’s time-consuming and complicated application and disbursement process. Since 2012, CHC Consulting has facilitated more than $48 million in USAC funding to 500-plus healthcare providers across 41 states.

Two healthcare providers, CommonSpirit Health and Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services (RMCHCS), serve as good examples of how CHC Consulting reduces costs and identifies savings opportunities.

CommonSpirit Health, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit healthcare organizations, selected CHC Consulting to secure USAC funding to help defray the substantial costs of operating the health system’s broadband network and telecom services.

High telecom costs were largely due to the merger of two health systems that became CommonSpirit Health, which has more than 140 hospitals and 1,000 care sites in rural and urban areas across 21 states. As a result of the merger, CommonSpirit saw its costs balloon in operating the combined companies’ massive network.

CommonSpirit engaged CHC Consulting to maximize USAC funding to help offset the health system’s telecom expense growth. Over a three-year period, CHC Consulting helped CommonSpirit achieve that goal. During USAC funding years 2019 to 2021, CHC Consulting’s work on CommonSpirit’s USAC funding requests helped the health system receive more than $27 million for telecom services.

For RMCHCS, their FCC grant application resulted in a total of $697,000 awarded to the hospital for funding specific to COVID-19-related telehealth services.

Of that amount, $591,256 was dispersed recently in July and August. CHC Consulting is currently working with the hospital to determine the best ways to use the remaining funds.

“We are pleased that the FCC has increased its program’s funding for rural healthcare providers’ telecommunications services, as they are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to purchasing these services compared with their urban counterparts,” said Whittney Walker, CHC Vice President of Telecom Services. “Our unparalleled expertise and experience in the USAC funding process can greatly benefit those healthcare providers seeking assistance in procuring funds for their telecom needs, as well as identify savings in this area. Our ability to reduce costs and increase efficiency in telecommunications services has enabled rural and community hospitals to improve their bottom-line while providing the best patient care possible.”