LITTLE ROCK, Ark., May 16, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Each year, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) makes available $400 million in funding through the Rural Health Care (RHC) program, to be used for telecommunications and Internet services for health care providers located in rural areas. However, according to USAC, only $81 million was granted in 2011, due in large part to a lack of program awareness. Windstream (Nasdaq:WIN), a leading provider of advanced network communications, urges rural health care providers to apply for RHC funding in order to take advantage of discounts on telecommunications and Internet services. The Rural Health Care Telecommunications Program provides qualifying rural health care providers with discounts on a variety of telecommunication services including DSL, Ethernet, fiber, Internet access charges, MPLS and telephone service (such as T1 or T3). The discounts enable rural health care providers to save on current telecommunications and Internet services, upgrade to more advanced solutions, or even install new and improved technology. Today's health care organizations face a wide range of challenges—such as medical error reduction, efficient practice management, asset and resource tracking, patient privacy requirements, patient data storage, government regulation compliance, and limited financial resources — all while maintaining and improving the quality of patient care. "Rural health care providers need access to high-speed Internet and telecommunications services to meet the demands of today's health care industry. Typically, their communications expenses are higher than their peers in more populated areas because the lack of commercial business development discourages the expansion of these services into rural areas," said Don Perkins, Windstream senior vice president of business marketing. "As an approved service provider for USAC programs, Windstream has extensive experience working with rural health care providers to give them access to the services they need in order to operate effectively and efficiently — benefiting their patients, physicians, and staff — every day."