SHLB Welcomes Senate Introduction of $2B Telehealth Bill May 22, 2020
For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C. (May 22, 2020) - Today Senators Brian Schatz, D-Hawai’i, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Angus King, I-Maine, John Boozman, R-Ark., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., introduced the Healthcare Broadband Expansion During COVID-19 Act. The proposal is a Senate companion bill to H.R. 6474 and would provide $2 billion to the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Health Care program for healthcare providers to expand their telehealth services.
John Windhausen Jr., executive director of the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, made the following statement:
“We are very pleased to see growing bipartisan support for legislation that addresses the urgent need to increase broadband capacity at both rural clinics and urban hospitals. The use of telehealth has exploded since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, surging from a few thousand visits per month to over 100,000 per month in some areas. The Healthcare Broadband Expansion During COVID-19 Act would allow hospitals and clinics to easily upgrade their broadband to keep up with this demand. We look forward to working with Congress to get this legislation onto the President’s desk as soon as possible.”
The SHLB Coalition previously documented the need for $2 billion in additional funding for the Rural Health Care program in a letter sent to congressional leadership. Additionally, SHLB led 48 leading healthcare organizations in supporting the House version of the Healthcare Broadband Expansion During COVID-19 Act.
The SHLB Coalition is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) advocacy organization that supports open, affordable, high-quality broadband connections for anchor institutions and their surrounding communities. The SHLB Coalition is based in Washington, D.C. and has a diverse membership of commercial and non-commercial organizations from across the United States. To learn more, visit www.shlb.org.