Senator Brian Schatz led a bipartisan group of 26 senators in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to increase subsidies 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,” the senators wrote. “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.”
The coronavirus outbreak has caused an immense strain on health care providers in the United States. Telehealth offers an alternative to traditional services, allowing providers to deliver quality care to patients online without risking further spread of the virus.