A bill introduced in Congress this week would create a $50 million fund to support telehealth pilot programs in rural parts of the country. The RPM programs would target chronic and COVID-19 treatments.
– A new bill introduced in Congress this week aims to create a $50 million telehealth fund to launch remote patient monitoring programs in rural America.
The latest bill, introduced this week by Senators Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Doug Jones (D-AL), would direct the Health and Human Services Department’s Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) to support remote patient monitoring pilots during the coronavirus pandemic. Those pilots would be run by rural hospitals, community health centers, rural health clinics and long-term care facilities.
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“Provider shortages, especially among specialists who care for Americans living with chronic conditions, are painfully evident in rural America and on tribal lands, where the prevalence of chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension is often higher than the rest of the country,” McSally said in a press release announcing unveiling the Increasing Rural Health Access During the COVID–19 Public Health Emergency Act of 2020.
“Bolstering access to telehealth will help remedy these shortages by providing Arizona’s vulnerable populations with increased access to critical health services in the comfort of their own homes,” she added. “For example, my legislation would provide funding for technology that allows health providers to remotely monitor and detect dangerous fluctuations in a diabetic patient’s blood sugar levels, which could prevent more serious medical complications. This technology is all the more important as we continue our efforts to combat the coronavirus.”
The bill calls on HRSA to give preference to programs that can be up and running within 60 days of receipt of the award, and those which use the funding to “establish and furnish services using remote patient monitoring technology that provides real time, continuous coaching services.”