47 CFR § 54.617 - Ineligible expenses.

§ 54.617 Ineligible expenses.

(a) Equipment or services not directly associated with eligible services. Expenses associated with equipment or services that are not necessary to make an eligible service functional, or to manage, control, or maintain an eligible service or a dedicated health care broadband network are ineligible for support. For purposes of paragraph (a) of this section, examples of ineligible expenses include:

(1) Costs associated with general computing, software, applications, and internet content development are not supported, including the following:

(i) Computers, including servers, and related hardware (e.g., printers, scanners, laptops), unless used exclusively for network management, maintenance, or other network operations;

(ii) End user wireless devices, such as smartphones and tablets;

(iii) Software, unless used for network management, maintenance, or other network operations;

(iv) Software development (excluding development of software that supports network management, maintenance, and other network operations);

(v) Helpdesk equipment and related software, or services, unless used exclusively in support of eligible services or equipment;

(vi) Web server hosting;

(vii) website portal development;

(viii) Video/audio/web conferencing equipment or services; and

(ix) Continuous power source.

(2) Costs associated with medical equipment (hardware and software), and other general health care provider expenses are not supported, including the following:

(i) Clinical or medical equipment;

(ii) Telemedicine equipment, applications, and software;

(iii) Training for use of telemedicine equipment;

(iv) Electronic medical records systems; and

(v) Electronic records management and expenses.

(b) Inside wiring/internal connections. Expenses associated with inside wiring or internal connections are ineligible for support under the Healthcare Connect Fund Program.

(c) Administrative expenses. Administrative expenses are not eligible for support under the Healthcare Connect Fund Program. For purposes of paragraph (c) of this section, ineligible administrative expenses include, but are not limited to, the following expenses:

(1) Personnel costs (including salaries and fringe benefits), except for personnel expenses in a consortium application that directly relate to designing, engineering, installing, constructing, and managing a dedicated broadband network. Ineligible costs of this category include, for example, personnel to perform program management and coordination, program administration, and marketing;

(2) Travel costs, except for travel costs that are reasonable and necessary for network design or deployment and that are specifically identified and justified as part of a competitive bid for a construction project;

(3) Legal costs;

(4) Training, except for basic training or instruction directly related to and required for broadband network installation and associated network operations;

(5) Program administration or technical coordination (e.g., preparing application materials, obtaining letters of agency, preparing requests for proposals, negotiating with service providers, reviewing bids, and working with the Administrator) that involves anything other than the design, engineering, operations, installation, or construction of the network;

(6) Administration and marketing costs (e.g., administrative costs; supplies and materials, except as part of network installation/construction; marketing studies, marketing activities, or outreach to potential network members; and evaluation and feedback studies);

(7) Billing expenses (e.g., expenses that service providers may charge for allocating costs to each health care provider in a network);

(8) Helpdesk expenses (e.g., equipment and related software, or services); and

(9) Technical support services that provide more than basic maintenance.

(d) Cost allocation for ineligible sites, services, or equipment.

(1) Ineligible sites. Eligible health care provider sites may share expenses with ineligible sites, as long as the ineligible sites pay their fair share of the expenses. An applicant may seek support for only the portion of a shared eligible expense attributable to eligible health care provider sites. To receive support, the applicant must ensure that ineligible sites pay their fair share of the expense. The fair share is determined as follows:

(i) If the service provider charges a separate and independent price for each site, an ineligible site must pay the full undiscounted price.

(ii) If there is no separate and independent price for each site, the applicant must prorate the undiscounted price for the “shared” service, equipment, or facility between eligible and ineligible sites on a proportional fully-distributed basis. Applicants must make this cost allocation using a method that is based on objective criteria and reasonably reflects the eligible usage of the shared service, equipment, or facility. The applicant bears the burden of demonstrating the reasonableness of the allocation method chosen.

(2) Ineligible components of a single service or piece of equipment. Applicants seeking support for a service or piece of equipment that includes an ineligible component must explicitly request in their requests for proposals that service providers include pricing for a comparable service or piece of equipment that is comprised of only eligible components. If the selected service provider also submits a price for the eligible component on a stand-alone basis, the support amount is calculated based on the stand-alone price of the eligible component. If the service provider does not offer the eligible component on a stand-alone basis, the full price of the entire service or piece of equipment must be taken into account, without regard to the value of the ineligible components, when determining the most cost-effective bid.

(3) Written description. Applicants must submit a written description of their allocation method(s) to the Administrator with their funding requests.

(4) Written agreement. If ineligible entities participate in a network, the allocation method must be memorialized in writing, such as a formal agreement among network members, a master services contract, or for smaller consortia, a letter signed and dated by all (or each) ineligible entity and the Consortium Leader.

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