The Federal Communications Commission (Commission) has announced reforms to improve the transparency, predictability and efficiency of Rural Health Care (RHC) Program funding decisions. For many Americans living in rural areas, obtaining access to high-quality healthcare remains a constant challenge. Thus, the Commission has taken steps to reform the distribution of RHC funding and specifically simplify calculation of the urban rate (the amount health care providers pay) and the rural rate (the amount service providers receive).
Additionally, the Commission enacted a series of reforms including: (1) targeting funding to areas in the most need of health care services by prioritizing support based on rurality and whether the area is medically underserved; (2) reforming the competitive bidding process to assist health care providers identify and select cost-effective service opportunities; and (3) adopting a series of RHC Program-wide rules and procedures to simplify the application process and provide more clarity in procedures. Furthermore, as funding has been limited due to increased demand for services, the Commission has requested that the Program’s budget be adjusted annually for inflation.