Survey of Rural Health Care Pilot Program Projects

U.S. Government Accountability Office

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Background

1.  Please provide the following information for the person primarily responsible for completing this survey in case we need to contact you to clarify a response.
Enter letters or numbers in each box below.
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  Name:
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  Project:
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  Telephone:
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  Email:
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2.  Has your entity ever used the services of a paid consultant to assist you in managing your pilot project?
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3.  Will a paid consultant complete or assist in completing any part of this survey?
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Application & Eligibility

  Application to Participate in the Pilot Program
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4.  When preparing your application to participate in the pilot program, how clear was the information FCC provided about its criteria for determining whether to accept or reject an application to participate in the program?
Reminder: You can save and exit this survey and return to it later. If you were not the person who submitted the application, please ask that person to answer this question, if possible.
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4a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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  Eligibility of Entities
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5.  FCC discussed which entities are eligible to receive program funds in its order calling for applications to participate in the pilot program and in its order announcing the pilot project awardees. Taken as a whole, how helpful or unhelpful was this written guidance in your project's attempts to determine the eligibility of its entities?
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5a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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6.  How clear or unclear is the current program guidance (both written and oral) about which entities are eligible to receive program funds?
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6a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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7.  At any time in your project's participation in the program -- including preparing your application to the program -- has your project included any entities that your project thought would be eligible that were later deemed ineligible by program officials?
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7a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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  Eligibility of Expenses
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8.  FCC discussed which expenses can be paid for with program funds in its order calling for applications to participate in the pilot program and in its order announcing the pilot project awardees. Taken as a whole, how helpful or unhelpful was this written guidance in your project's attempts to determine the eligibility of its expenses?
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8a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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9.  How clear or unclear is the current program guidance about which expenses can be paid for with program funds?
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9a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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10.  At any time in your project's participation in the program -- including preparing your application to the program -- has your project included any expenses that your project thought could be paid for with program funds that were later deemed to be ineligible expenses by program officials?
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10a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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Delays

11.  There are many reasons that pilot projects might have fallen behind their original schedules for meeting project milestones or completing the project. Has your project experienced any of the following and, if so, to what extent did each delay your project?
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Did your project experience this?
If it caused a delay:
How much, if at all, did this delay your project?
11a.  Delays in receiving guidance from program officials?
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11b.  Inconsistent guidance about your specific project from program officials?
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11c.  Delays in USAC's processing of your forms?
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Did your project experience this?
If it caused a delay:
How much, if at all, did this delay your project?
11d.  Change in the scope of your project?
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11e.  Difficulty obtaining letters of agency?
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11f.  Difficulty securing any portion of the project's total 15% match?
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Did your project experience this?
If it caused a delay:
How much, if at all, did this delay your project?
11g.  Difficulty developing a sustainability plan?
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11h.  Difficulty compiling and submitting the documentation required to establish the eligibility of entities, including USAC requests for supporting documentation?
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11i.  Difficulty compiling and submitting the documentation required to establish the eligibility of expenses, including USAC requests for supporting documentation?
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Did your project experience this?
If it caused a delay:
How much, if at all, did this delay your project?
11j.  Difficulty with internal project resource issues (e.g., lack of funding or staff, staff turnover, inability to fund ineligible expenses)?
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11k.  Entities in your project that pursued or considered pursuing funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) program (including funds from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) or the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP))?
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11l.  Other issues that delayed your project? Please identify those issues in the box below.
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11m.  IF YES, CAUSED A DELAY: What were the other issues that caused a delay in your project?
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12.  On February 18, 2010, the FCC extended the deadline for submitting funding request letters (Form 466-A) from June 30, 2010, to June 30, 2011. If this extension had not been granted, would your project have been able to meet the original June 30, 2010, deadline for submitting all of your funding request letters without changing your project's scope or planned activities?
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12a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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Matching Funds

13.  As of May 1, 2010, had you secured the 15% match required for your pilot project?
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13a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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14.  Did your project experience any of the following, and if so, to what extent, if at all, has each of the following impaired your attempts to fund your 15% match?
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Did your project experience this?
If impaired:
How much, if at all, did this impair your project's attempts to fund your 15% match?
14a.  Original application reliance on ineligible sources for the match?
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14b.  Loss or delay of internal project funding, such as a loss or delay of funding from entities in your project?
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14c.  Loss or delay of external funding, such as grant funds, state funds, or other federal (not FCC) funds?
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Did your project experience this?
If impaired:
How much, if at all, did this impair your project's attempts to fund your 15% match?
14d.  Expenses, including administrative expenses, that you thought would be funded with program funds, but were deemed ineligible by program officials?
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14e.  Other issues that impaired your project's attempts to fund your match? Please identify those issues in the box below.
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14f.  IF YES, IMPAIRED: What were the other issues that impaired your project's attempts to fund your 15% match?
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Sustainability Plan

15.  Have program officials required your project to provide additional evidence of sustainability other than what was outlined in your application to the pilot program?
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15a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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16.  How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with any program guidance (written or oral) you have received so far on how to develop a sustainability plan?
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16a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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17.  Will your sustainability plan include future participation in the original (or "primary") Rural Health Care Program for some or all of the entities in your project?
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17a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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Excess Bandwidth / Excess Capacity

18.  Some projects plan to have excess bandwidth or excess capacity -- for the purposes of this survey, the terms will be interchangeable -- which is more fiber (or similar facilities for non-fiber technologies, such as satellite) than is needed for the project's current members. Will your project have excess bandwidth or excess capacity?
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18a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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  If you answered "Definitely no" or "Probably no" above:
Click here to skip to Question 20
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19.  Please indicate whether you plan to use any of your excess bandwidth/excess capacity for the following:
Click one button in each row.
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Definitely yes
Probably yes
Probably no
Definitely no
Do not know
  a. Network growth or the addition of future network members that are using the network for health care purposes
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  b. Charging non-network members market price to use the network for non-health care purposes, but not selling or leasing the excess capacity to them
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  c. Selling or leasing the excess capacity to non-network members
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  d. Other (please identify in the box below)
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  If other:
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19a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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20.  Currently, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with any program guidance (written or oral) on:
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Very satisfied
Somewhat satisfied
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
Somewhat dissatisfied
Very dissatisfied
Have not received any guidance
No opinion
  a. How to determine what constitutes "fair share" when allocating costs
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  b. How to determine whether your project is paying incremental or fair share costs when buying excess capacity
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  c. How to determine what constitutes market price when making excess capacity available to non-network members
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20a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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Administrative Processes

21.  How would you rate the levels of each of the following aspects of quarterly reporting?
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Too much
Right amount
Too little
No opinion
  a. The amount of guidance that was provided on how quarterly reports should be written before submission of the first quarterly report
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  b. The amount of information that is required in quarterly reports
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  c. The amount of feedback you receive (positive or negative) after your quarterly reports are submitted
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  d. The frequency with which quarterly reports are required
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21a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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22.  How easy or difficult has it been so far for your project to perform the following?
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Very easy
Somewhat easy
Neither easy nor difficult
Somewhat difficult
Very difficult
Not applicable
No opinion
  a. Determining the eligibility of entities
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  b. Determining the eligibility of expenses
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  c. Allocating costs among eligible and non-eligible entities
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  d. Funding ineligible expenses (e.g., administrative costs)
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  e. Obtaining letters of agency
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  f. Developing a sustainability plan thus far
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  g. Understanding how to address excess bandwidth or excess capacity issues
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  h. Assembling the Form 465 package
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Very easy
Somewhat easy
Neither easy nor difficult
Somewhat difficult
Very difficult
Not applicable
No opinion
  i. Evaluating bids from vendors
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  j. Negotiating a contract with a vendor
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  k. Completing the Form 466-A package including completing Form 466-A (Funding Request & Certification Form), Form 466-A Attachment (Internet Service Funding Request & Certification Form) and the Network Cost Worksheet
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  l. Completing Form 467 (Receipt of Service Confirmation Form)
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  m. Completing invoices
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  n. Other processes (please identify in the box below)
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  If other:
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22a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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Program Guidance

23.  Please consider your experiences in the program from the beginning of your participation until present day. Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with:
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Very satisfied
Somewhat satisfied
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
Somewhat dissatisfied
Very dissatisfied
No opinion
  a. The amount of formal written guidance (including orders, releases, FAQs on Web site) that was provided by program officials
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  b. The overall clarity of any program guidance
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  c. The timeliness of program officials' responses to your questions
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  d. The timeliness of program officials' reviews of your forms and documents, including RFPs, sustainability plans, etc.
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23a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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24.  Your coach is the person at USAC who reviews your forms and quarterly reports. Most likely, it is the person you interact with the most at USAC. If your coach has changed over the course of the pilot program, please consider your experience overall in working with a USAC coach. Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the following aspects of your experience with your coach?
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Very satisfied
Somewhat satisfied
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
Somewhat dissatisfied
Very dissatisfied
No opinion
  a. Your coach's knowledge of the program
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  b. The ease with which you can contact your coach
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  c. The level of interaction with your coach
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  d. Your coach's unsolicited efforts to keep you informed of program updates
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24a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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25.  The November 2007 Selection Order (FCC-07-198) states requirements for participants to coordinate the use of their networks with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and to comply with several HHS health information technology initiatives. (Click here to see full text of the requirement.) How sufficient, if at all, was the guidance you have received from program officials on how to meet these requirements?
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25a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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Usefulness Of Program Resources

26.  How useful have the following resources been to your project?
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Extremely useful
Very useful
Moderately useful
Slightly useful
Not at all useful
Do not know
Have never used this resource
  a. Formal guidance from FCC (including orders, releases, FAQs on Web site)
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  b. FCC officials and staff that your project has interacted with in relation to your project
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  c. USAC coach
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  d. USAC staff other than your coach
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  e. USAC training events
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  f. Monthly USAC conference calls
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Extremely useful
Very useful
Moderately useful
Slightly useful
Not at all useful
Do not know
Have never used this resource
  g. USAC's SharePoint Web site
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  h. USAC's web page for the program (http://www.universalservice.org/rhc-pilot-program/)
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  i. Associations or other groups
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  j. Other pilot projects
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  k. Paid consultant
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  l. Other resources (please identify in the box below)
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  If other:
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26a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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Effects Of Pilot Program

27.  If your pilot project is able to accomplish its current goals, will one or more entities in your project be able to:
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Definitely yes
Probably yes
Probably no
Definitely no
Do not know
Not applicable
  a. Obtain telecommunications or internet services that would otherwise be unaffordable
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  b. Obtain telecommunications or internet services that would otherwise be unobtainable due to lack of infrastructure
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  c. Upgrade an existing telecommunications or internet service
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27a.  (Optional) If there are other impacts the pilot program will have on the entities in your project that you would like to describe, please do so in the box below:
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28.  Given your current understanding of the costs and administrative requirements of participating in the pilot program, do you feel that the program's benefits for your project will outweigh the costs of participating in the program?
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28a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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  Federal Coordination
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29.  Is your project currently receiving federal funding -- other than any FCC funding -- for purposes that complement your pilot project's goals (for example, funding for telemedicine equipment)?
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29a.  (Optional) If you would like to provide additional comments, please do so in the box below:
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Lessons Learned

30.  What are the top three things that program officials have done well in their administration of the pilot program? Please type your answer in the boxes below.
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31.  If FCC were to establish a new, permanent program with goals similar to those of the pilot program, what would be the top three things that program officials should change to improve the administration of the new program?
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32.  If there is anything else you would like to tell us, please type your comments in the box below.
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Submit your Questionnaire

33.  Have you finished this questionnaire?
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  To get a copy of your answers to this questionnaire, click "View and print a summary of your responses" in the menu on the left
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