Rosen, Cortez Masto, Colleagues Urge FCC to Expand Access to Telehealth Services for Rural Communities During Coronavirus Outbreak

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) joined 25 Senate colleagues in a bipartisan letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), urging increased resources to health care providers through the Rural Health Care Program. The additional funding would ensure that providers have the resources they need to deliver and expand telehealth services for rural communities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“In this time of crisis, it is imperative we do our part to ensure the safety and security of our health care providers and patients,” wrote the Senators. “That is why we are writing to ask you to waive current FCC rules and help increase access to care by increasing subsidies for Rural Health Care Program participants in Funding Year 2019 during this crisis.”
Read the Senators’ full letter here.
BACKGROUND: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended telehealth to both screen for COVID-19 as well as deliver other services that do not require a patient to visit the hospital. Congress has also supported the use of telehealth during this public health emergency through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020, which waives restrictions on the use of telehealth in Medicare during the coronavirus outbreak.