Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, August 1st, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together on the Rural Telehealth Initiative, a joint effort to collaborate and share information to address health disparities, resolve service provider challenges, and promote broadband services and technology to rural areas in America.
“We’re seeing increased adoption of telehealth in rural areas for one reason: telehealth works,” said Senator Blackburn.
“This FCC-HHS-USDA collaboration will addresses challenges inhibiting communities from access to telehealth, whether that be lack of broadband access or problems with provider service. Telehealth’s growth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has alleviated high volumes of in-patient care tremendously. I look forward to seeing this partnership in action in Tennessee,” Senator Blackburn stated.
From the FCC announcement:
“This action delivers on President Trump’s recently signed Executive Order on Improving Rural Health and Telehealth Access. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of telehealth in delivering quality healthcare to rural Americans.
“Rural Americans are acutely affected by gaps in the healthcare system, from hospital closures to a lack of specialty care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rural Americans, who make up more than 15% of the U.S. population, face numerous health disparities compared with their urban counterparts. Rural Americans are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease, and strokes than their urban counterparts. Telemedicine plays an increasingly critical part in treating patients, improving health outcomes, lowering costs, and helping health care providers maximize their impact on their communities, especially in rural areas of the United States.”
Read more about Senator Blackburn’s telehealth expansion efforts here.