New England Telehealth Consortium





"Health is worth more

than learning."

Thomas Jefferson
































The View From Here
Brian Thibeau, President

As we enjoy this holiday season, I trust this communication finds you, your family, and your colleagues healthy and safe. As you continue to support healthcare delivery in New England, the New England Telehealth Consortium (NETC) stands with you to provide a Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) subsidized private, QoS, redundant 320 site network, along with over 3,360 HCF subsidized circuits to your various facilities and clinics. In total, NETC is obtaining subsidized services and circuits for over 1,300 New England healthcare sites. Over the past three years (7/1 to 6/30, 2020, 2021, 2022) on behalf of those 1,300 sites, NETC has submitted several hundred applications for funding and has captured nearly $50,000,000 in subsidies!!

Jim Rogers, President of ProInfoNet (the managing agent for NETC) and his team have developed the expertise, knowledge, experience, and effective administrative procedures to successfully navigate the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Rural Health Care (RHC) program rules and regulations. The process starts with getting a healthcare site certified as eligible to participate in the HCF (Form 460). Once eligibility is confirmed, then an open, public, competitive, and rigorous bidding process must be conducted as required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which established the fund. ProInfoNet staff work with each site to determine needs, specifications, and requirements that are then integrated into an HCF required and approved RFP format (Form 461), including detailed proposal scoring criteria. That RFP will be posted on the Universal Services Administrative Company (USAC, the FCC designated HCF RHC administrator) public website for a minimum of 28 days. Once the bidding period closes, staff then assist the site in analyzing the responses and scoring the responses in compliance with the published criteria. Each site makes the final decision on which vendor is finally selected. Once a vendor has been selected, a contract for services, equipment, and/or circuits can be executed. With a contract in hand, a detailed funding application (Form 462) can be prepared and submitted to USAC for review. That submission must include all responses to the RFP, an analysis of the responses, and a report documenting the scoring criteria results. Once submitted, it can take several months for USAC to complete its review. During that time, it is common for USAC to issue information requests, often several for each submission. The requests are known as "14-day letters" since a response to the request must be filed within 14 calendar days!

After all of that activity, the reward is the receipt of a Funding Commitment Letter (FCL) notifying NETC which services, equipment or circuits have been approved for funding and the amount of that funding. The NETC/ProInfoNet staff have an impressive record that approaches 99% approval rate of submitted applications!! That is no small accomplishment and is the direct result of their expertise in technology and telecommunications, extensive knowledge of the FCC/USAC regulations, and deep experience in executing all aspects of the administrative processes. For the uninitiated, the process can be an administrative nightmare. NETC and ProInfoNet are very proud and pleased to play a small part in helping healthcare providers obtain cost-effective telecommunications services, equipment, and circuits.

In October, I and several NETC/ProInfoNet staff attended the School, Health, Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB) AnchorNETS conference in Arlington, VA. The conference provided an opportunity to get a firsthand update on the Healthcare Connect Fund and specifically the RHC program. In addition, we took advantage of our proximity to Washington, D.C. to meet with FCC staff: Justin Faulb, Chief of Staff and Legal Advisor for Wireline and National Security for FCC Commissioner Starks; Marco Peraza, Wireline Advisor to FCC Commissioner Simington; and Danielle Thumann, Legal Advisor to FCC Commissioner Carr. In each of our meetings, we stressed the critical role the HCF plays in the provision of healthcare in the New England region and the importance of its continued funding. We also met with Bryan Boyle, Deputy Division Chief of the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau and provided him with an update on NETC and the scope of its work with New England healthcare providers. Our time in D.C. wrapped up with a meeting with USAC outreach and program analyst staff with whom we work on a daily basis to discuss application processing issues and thank the USAC staff for the significant improvement in application processing. Keeping NETC and its work in front of policy makers and regulators demonstrates the positive lasting effect the HCF has on healthcare in our region.

The NETC Executive Committee continues to meet on a monthly basis. The committee members are: Red Hutchinson, retired, LRG Healthcare, NH; Mark St. John, Maine General, ME, Robin Winslow, Hometown Health Center, Greg Van Buren, The University of Vermont Health Network, VT; Scott Reid, HealthReach Community Health Centers, ME; David Valcik, Northern Light Health, ME; Tim Smith, retired, ME. They continue to dedicate their time and energy to guiding NETC as it delivers significant and important support services to the New England healthcare community.

My thanks to all of you who have continued to support our efforts. Please don't hesitate to contact me ( or 207-941-1040) or any member of the Executive Committee, should you have questions.