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Telehealth program proposal in Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C.- U.S. Senators have introduced a bipartisan measure to expand rural telehealth services by allowing non-rural hospitals and health-care providers to work with rural areas and make better use of the Federal Communications Commission’s Healthcare Connect Fund, according to a release from Senator Roger Wicker’s (R-MISS) office.

Senator Wicker has joined this effort in order to benefit the people of Mississippi.

“Mississippians are among the first to know that telehealth works,” Sen. Wicker said, “This legislation would increase access to prime services, which improves our quality of life and drives down the cost of health care. It would achieve this goal by expanding the types of providers who can tap into existing federal funds, helping offset the costs of delivering life-saving care.”

The Reaching Undeserved Rural Areas to Lead on Telehealth Act would potentially allow these providers to get the 65 percent health-care provider discount under the HCF. That could happen as long as the majority of their patients are in rural areas.

In 1996 Congress made it possible for the FCC to use the Universal Service Fund to make sure support for telecommunications, advanced telecommunications, and information services were available to healthcare providers.

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