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Marsha Blackburn on President Donald Trump’s Telehealth Expansion Efforts

 

U.S. SenateWashington, D.C. – On Monday, August 3rd, 2020, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to expand telehealth services and improve rural healthcare accessibility during and after the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. This move follows Senator Blackburn’s work to utilize the strengths of telehealth in order to increase safety and efficiency in health care delivery as the nation fights this virus.

“The increased use of telehealth has resulted in more services in more places by more providers,” said Senator Blackburn. “The President is absolutely right to recognize the advantages of making telehealth widely available. Congress must continue to support this expansion and codify the administration’s changes to support the health needs of the American people.”

Senator Marsha Blackburn.

Senator Marsha Blackburn.

In June, Senators Blackburn and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced the Equal Access to Care Act.

The legislation aims to expand access to telemedicine during the coronavirus emergency period by allowing licensed health care providers to treat patients remotely through the phone and online wherever the patient is located.

“Increased utilization from March 2nd to April 14th, shows urgent care telehealth visits increased 135 percent and nonurgent visits increased 4,345 percent,” said Senator Blackburn. “Removing bureaucratic red tape will result in more services in more places by more providers so that Americans can get care without the risk of exposing themselves to COVID-19 in a doctor’s office or hospital.”

At the start of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic in March, the White House expanded telehealth due to Senator Blackburn’s advocacy, announcing it would waive regulations to allow beneficiaries to receive a wider range of healthcare services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility, where they may be more likely to be exposed to the coronavirus. Congress expanded access to telehealth with the support of Senator Blackburn through the passage of the CARES Act.

Last year, Senator Blackburn introduced her Rural Health Agenda to increase access to health care for the approximately 60 million Americans who live in rural areas – frequently poorer and in worse health than their urban counterparts. She is working with the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to advance her bipartisan Rural America Health Corps Act, cosponsored by Senator Durbin, which addresses some of the most acute shortages of health care providers in rural America.

Her Rural Health Agenda could be included in any future coronavirus responses and would greatly benefit those in rural areas who face unique challenges in the wake of this outbreak.


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