ICYMI: Biden Administration Announces $42 Billion in Broadband Grants, Will Support Telehealth Access Nationwide
Expanded Broadband & Virtual Care Access to Help Address Health Care Disparities in Rural & Underserved Communities
In case you missed it, President Joe Biden announced yesterday more than $42 billion in broadband grants through the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program, which will help increase telehealth access nationwide.
As President Biden noted in his remarks, “For around 24 million Americans across this country, there is no high-speed Internet. And for millions more, their Internet connection is limited or unreliable.” He also mentioned virtual care as a benefit of expanded broadband access, providing access for, as President Biden said, “seniors unable to talk to their doctor through telemedicine.”
Telehealth can dramatically improve quality of life, including for seniors, individuals with chronic conditions, and those living in rural communities. These grants will help expand this access. As a result of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) telehealth flexibilities already, virtual care use among Medicare beneficiaries significantly increased across all groups. The largest increase – 56x – was among individuals residing in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
On the announcement and as reported by Inside Telehealth, House Energy & Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) said the grants are the “single-largest U.S investment to expand digital connectivity.”
Policies to expand broadband access will further increase patients’ ability to receive vital virtual care. Congress must also act now to permanently safeguard telehealth access and continue to eliminate other barriers to care.
Read President Biden’s remarks on the announcement HERE, Inside Health Policy’s coverage of the announcement HERE, and learn more about how Congress can act to permanently protect telehealth access HERE.
ABOUT TELEHEALTH ACCESS FOR AMERICA
Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) is a public education campaign supported by leaders in health care committed to better care, expanded patient choice, and protecting access to critical telehealth services. Learn more and take action today at www.telehealthaccessforamerica.org.