Medical Tele-Training Bill Sight into Law
The Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) 2019 Act was signed into law as part of the annual government funding bill. Authored by Senator Brian Schatz, the bill establishes a $10 million per year grant program for fiscal years 2022 through 2026 to encourage the use of technology to connect health care providers and deliver high-quality care in hard-to-reach regions.
The new law will expand the use of the ECHO model, an innovative medical education program hosted through interactive videoconferencing to connect specialist teams with primary care providers in rural areas. This model helps hard-to-reach communities have access to more health care services not available in their area. Especially during the pandemic, the ECHO model has been an important public health response for treating COVID-19 patients and improve testing and contract tracing.
The ECHO model grant will be used for equipment to use and expand the models and secure exchange of electronic health information; support for healthcare providers who use the models; instructional programming; training and information collection; evaluation and study on the impact of such models.