In the 2018 pre-COVID-19 world, research placed a $2.63 billion evaluation on the healthcare digital transformation market, and forecasts expect a CAGR of nearly 14% through 2027. These numbers tell us change is upon us, but what about the healthcare CIOs struggling with funding? Much like Waldo, It’s out there; you just need to know where to look.
There is a serious education gap when it comes to network funding. Take the $800 million Healthcare Connect Fund, for example. It was put in place to support rural and urban facilities, with 65% reimbursement for connections and can also include equipment and services. In most cases, as long as your healthcare organization operates as a non-profit, it is eligible.
Most participants in the program earn reimbursement for telecommunications services, like T1, ISDN PRI or DS3 – to name a few – as well as broadband networks for internet, access to internet and access to other networks.
A common misconception attached to the Healthcare Connect Funding is its sole applicability to rural healthcare firms. In fact, Extreme Networks and FG are working with healthcare firms in major cities like Philadelphia and Charlotte, creating consortiums to apply for further support.
Allow me to explain. In addition to the abovementioned funds, consortium participants can garner 65% reimbursement for qualified facilities, network equipment and network installation. Falling under this umbrella is dark fiber and the necessary optical equipment, WAN routers, switches, firewalls, in addition to network engineering, installation and management.
The 2021 funding year runs from July 1, 2021 to June, 30 2022. Participants should be organized, filed, and ready to start the process at least eight months in advance of the next funding year/window. As such, the 2021 funding window has already closed and onboarding of healthcare entities for the 2022 funding year is currently ongoing.
By now you may be asking, where does this money come from? We pay into the universal services fund every month on our cell phone bill. Universal Service is the notion that all Americans deserve access to communications services, and has been a foundational pillar of the FCC. The FCC allocates funds for HCF each year directly, and uses the Universal Services Administration Company (USAC) to manage the program.
Extreme Networks and FG assist in accessing The Healthcare Connect Fund, and the duo also delivers results through other funding programs such as the $200 million COVID-19 Telehealth Program and the $100 million Connected Care Pilot Program.
Lack of adequate cloud strategy, business culture and insufficient funding for digital transformation initiatives are some of the top challenges for healthcare CIOs. Applying to The Healthcare Connect Fund with the right partner is one way to ensure the next red tape you cut will be at your newly upgraded facility.