Each month the SLD holds monthly conference calls for the service provider community, providing program updates and an opportunity for service providers ask questions to key USAC staff. I applaud the SLD for this outreach – it is a tremendous help to companies trying to gain a better understanding of the process.
On each call, the SLD consistently reports that over 95% of the invoices received are processed within 90 days, and there is no question that the program’s invoicing process has improved dramatically over the years. Each month the SLD also reports that approximately $50 million in invoices are denied, and they provide key reasons why those invoices were denied.
When a service provider decides to participate in the E-rate program, one of the most common concerns they have is that they will get reimbursed in a timely fashion when they submit an invoice to the SLD. This leads to some interesting questions:
When invoices are denied and vendors resubmit after correcting the issue, how does the SLD calculate the time it takes to process that invoice? From the service provider’s perspective, it really took 60 days or more to get their original request for payment processed. If a resubmitted invoice gets processed within 30 days of its second submission, does the SLD still count that as being processed within 30 days?
Are there typically fewer denials for priority one service invoices than priority two? I believe that service providers would appreciate more of a breakdown of how long it takes for invoices to be processed each month by service category. This would help both new entrants and companies that have participated in the program for years to understand the true nature of how long it takes for invoices to be processed by the SLD.