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Utah ARCHES

Utah Arches

Advancing Rural Connections for Healthcare and E-health Services

In November 2007, Utah was awarded over $9 million by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to participate in the FCC’s Rural Health Care Pilot Program (RHCPP). Our proposal, Utah ARCHES, is intended to expand and improve the telecommunications infrastructure connecting Utah’s health care facilities to address growing bandwidth needs.
 

Page Contents:

FCC Rural Health Care Pilot Program

The FCC funded this initiative to facilitate the creation of a nationwide broadband network dedicated to healthcare. The Pilot Program is intended to: 
  • Build state and regional broadband networks that connect into a nationwide healthcare backbone in order to support:
    • Expansion of telehealth and telemedicine;
    • Adoption of health information technology, especially in rural areas;
    • Coordination of state and national public health preparedness initiatives;
    • Access during public health emergencies, such as pandemics or bioterrorism incidents.
  • Fund 85% of the non-recurring and recurring costs to construct these networks for public and private non-profit healthcare providers. (For-profit healthcare providers may connect into these networks but will be responsible for their own costs.)
  • Run three - five years.
The Rural Health Care Pilot Program will be administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), which also administers the existing Rural Health Care Program and the E-Rate program for schools and libraries.
 

Utah’s Selection into the RHCPP

Utah was selected to be part of this program on the basis of both its strengths and needs.
Strengths: 
Utah has a history of innovation and cooperation in healthcare and technology, with:
  • An established telehealth network, the Utah Telehealth Network, connecting hospitals, clinics, and health departments
  • A regional medical hub in SLC with a medical school and Level 1 Trauma centers
  • A progressive environment and nationally-recognized programs in both healthcare and IT 
Needs:  
The increasing use of health information technology, the development of initiatives for sharing patient information, and a growing reliance on telehealth for emergency care has led to:
  • Increasing bandwidth requirements, especially for rural healthcare providers
  • Increasing network reliability requirements, especially for critical patient care
     

Utah ARCHES Project will upgrade and expand current healthcare infrastructure:

  • Connect and/or upgrade connections to approximately 80 rural and urban healthcare facilities
  • Competitively bid all construction and connectivity
  • Build a network core with regional aggregation points into which health care facilities connect
  • Begin the migration from T1 to Ethernet Technology to increase bandwidth 1.5 mbps to 5 mbps, 10 mbps, 100 mbps, 1000 mbps (1 gigabit per second)
  • Connect into Internet2, a dedicated nationwide backbone
  • Maintain network security and efficiency through coordinated management among partners
     

Utah ARCHES Budget

$9,045,959 Total awarded by the FCC
$1,596,346 To be covered by partners, participating sites, and other sources
$10,642,305 Total proposed budget
Additional funds may be required to cover equipment needed to implement the project but not funded by the FCC.
 

Lead Organizations and Key Partners

The Utah Telehealth Network Advisory Board will provide oversight of the project. The 15-member board represents the diverse health care community served by UTN
The University of Utah, on behalf of the Utah Telehealth Network (UTN), will be legally and financially responsible for the conduct of the activities supported by the pilot program
Intermountain Healthcare will share leadership of the project and responsibility for the conduct of the activities supported by the pilot program. Intermountain Healthcare is a non-profit health care system of 21 hospitals and over 130 clinics.
Utah Navajo Health System (UNHS) will have representation on the project management team and will co-manage, with UTN, project infrastructure improvements in southeast Utah. UNHS is an Indian-owned and operated system of community health centers.
The Central Utah Clinic (CUC) will have representation on the project management team and will participate in exploration of connecting a for-profit health care provider for a fee that 1) is cost-effective, therefore worthwhile, and 2) ensures that for-profits pay their fair share. CUC is a for-profit medical group serving Central Utah rural communities.
Utah Hospital and Health Systems Association (UHA) will have representation on the project management team and serve as a project liaison to their constituency. UHA represents member hospitals and health systems.
Association for Utah Community Health (AUCH) will have representation on the project management team and serve as a project liaison to their constituency. AUCH is a primary care association representing Utah community health centers.
Utah Association of Local Health Departments (UALHD) will have representation on the project management team and serve as a project liaison to their constituency. UALHD represents local public health departments.
Utah Department of Health will have representation on the project management team and serve as a project liaison to their constituency.
Utah Department of Technology Services (DTS) will have representation on the project management team and lend its technical expertise to the planning and implementation of the project and serve as a possible provider for back-up connectivity. The Department of Technology Services, headed by the State Chief Information Officer, maintains a statewide telecommunication network for state departments and agencies.
The Utah Education Network (UEN) will have representation on the project management team and lend its technical expertise to the planning and implementation of the project, provide network access to Internet2 and National Lambda Rail, and serve as a possible provider for connectivity. UEN maintains a statewide educational network providing videoconferencing for class work and internet connectivity to Utah’s schools.
 

Project Leadership

  • The Utah Telehealth Network Advisory Board will provide oversight of the project
  • The Management Team, with representation from all key partners, will be responsible for planning, design, and implementation of the Utah ARCHES technical strategies. The Management Team has been instrumental in developing the network design and the Request for Proposals
  • The designated Project Coordinator for Utah ARCHES is Deb LaMarche, Program Manager, UTN.  Kyle Andersen, Director of Enterprise Communications for Intermountain Healthcare serves as co-manager of the project.
     

Project Updates

3/10/2009
At this time, we are awaiting approval by USAC to post our Request for Proposals (RFPs). One hundred sixty Utah health care facilities are participating in the RFP process, which will give us an understanding of the costs to implement and maintain the project. Upon completion of the RFP process, several steps will occur: 1) telecommunication service providers will be selected and contracts negotiated; 2) costs, both project and ongoing, will be reviewed with the health care facilities; 3) project participation will be confirmed on a site-by-site basis; and 4) network design will be finalized.
 
12/31/2008
The George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation awarded $200,000 to the Utah Telehealth Network towards the required 15% match.  Previously, UTN, through its State of Utah line item, had set aside $320,000 towards the match and Intermountain Healthcare had committed $430,000 toward its match. With the generous donation from the Eccles Foundation, our current match funding is at $750,000, about half of the required match of $1,596,356.
 

Utah ARCHES Links

Utah ARCHES presentation (PDF)
Outlines both the FCC Rural Health Care Pilot Program, including participation requirements, and the Utah ARCHES project.
 
FCC Rural Health Care Pilot Program home page
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/rural/rhcp.html
Includes the FCC RHCPP orders, requirements, and communications; project applications (including ours); FAQs.
 
Utah ARCHES application, as submitted by UTN and posted by the FCC
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document=6519409803 

USAC’s Rural Health Care Pilot Program home page
http://www.usac.org/rhc%2Dpilot%2Dprogram/ 
Includes implementation information and communication for project participants and potential telecommunications service providers.