Washington, D.C. —Clifton J. Porter II, Senior Vice
President of Government Relations at the American Health Care Association
(AHCA), made the following statement regarding the Rural Health Care
Connectivity Act of 2015 (S. 1916/ H.R. 4111).
“Providers depend on
the growing use of technology to deliver needed care and services to rural
locations. Broadband networks are critical to accommodate the delivery and
exchange of data, images, web streaming, and other health information that ensures
the day-to-day care needs of residents and patients are met. Skilled nursing
facilities will greatly benefit from access to enhanced telecommunications
technologies. The American Health Care Association strongly supports
this bill and urges swift passage of it by Congress.”
About S. 1916/ H.R.
The Rural Health Care Connectivity Act of 2015 would
amend the Communications Act to permit skilled nursing facilities SNFs to apply
for support from the Universal Service Fund’s Rural Health Care Program (RHCP).
The RHCP provides funding for telecommunications and broadband services used to
provide health care in rural areas and communities. S. 1916 specifies that SNFs
be included in the definition of health care providers that are eligible to
receive RHCP support. By Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
interpretation, SNFs are currently not eligible to receive these funds as, we
believe, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 intended. S. 1916 passed unanimously by the Senate
Commerce Committee on November 18, 2015.