Contributed by Lee Kim, Esq.
The FCC has a program that directs telecommunications service providers to given preferential treatment to users enrolled in the TSP program for adding or restoring service, regardless of the cause. This may include communication circuits used for voice and data communications in emergency departments, with first responders (ambulance) as well as with state and local health departments.
In order to qualify for the TSP program, an organization must (1) be engaged in activities essential to the nation’s security or emergency preparedness and response functions (e.g., the promotion of public health, safety, and maintenance of law and order), and (2) rely on telecommunications services to provide these essential functions. Healthcare providers do qualify.
Healthcare providers should enroll at their earliest convenience (preferably before a disaster or emergency).
Healthcare providers should perform the following steps to enroll in the TSP program:
- Consult with its telecommunications service provider to determine its essential services and the cost of TSP coverage. From this they should determine which services to cover;
- Contact the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) via email (Commo@hhs.gov) to request Federal sponsorship for TSP.
- Go to the TSP website at http://tsp.ncs.gov to establish an account. (Select “E-forms”, then “Register to use E-forms”). NCS will provide a login ID and password via an email.
- After receiving the login and password, re-enter the TSP web-site and fill out the application form. [Select “E-forms”, then “Access to e-forms application”, then “TSP request for service users (Form 315)].” List HHS as the Federal sponsor. (The NCS approves TSP coverage and provides the Health Care Provider’s Administrator with TSP authorization codes for each circuit (e.g., TSP02H682.))
- Provide those authorization codes to the telecommunications carrier so that they can be assigned to specific essential communications lines identified as TSP circuits via enrollment in the program. This enables the carrier to quickly identify TSP enrolled circuits and work to restore service or replace them with new lines.
For more information, contact the “NCS Priority Programs” hotline at 1-866-NCS-CALL (1-866-627-2255) or send an e-mail to email@example.com. Please also see the FCC TSP page and the TSP healthcare provider FAQ.