Proposal to Increase Rural Health Care Funding Receives Majority Support at FCC

WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that a majority of Commissioners have voted in favor of his proposal to increase funding for the Universal Service Fund’s Rural Health Care Program by $171 million a year.

“Telemedicine is vital in many communities that may not otherwise have access to high-quality health care, and the Federal Communications Commission has an important role in promoting it," said Chairman Pai. "I want to thank Commissioners O’Rielly and Carr for their support as the FCC takes the critical step of updating its Rural Health Care Program. It will help rural health care providers deliver critical telemedicine services to Americans across the country. I’m also pleased to see such strong bipartisan backing for my proposal in Congress and among the health care community.”

“The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition is extremely pleased with Chairman Pai’s intention to increase funding for the Rural Health Care program," said John Windhausen, Jr., executive director, Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition. "This increase is long overdue, as the $400 million cap on the RHC program has remained set in stone for over twenty years. This proposal also addresses our concerns about the retroactive funding reductions for FY 2017 by ensuring that applicants in the current funding year can be fully reimbursed. This action will avoid the unfortunate 15 percent to 25 percent reductions that had been announced for the current funding year.”


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